Directed by: Fernando Meirelles
Premise: A British diplomat (Ralph Fiennes) investigates the murder of his wife (Rachel Weisz) and uncovers a conspiracy with ties to a pharmaceutical company.
What Works: The Constant Gardener is a well-structured and beautifully shot film. It is largely a character study of Fiennes diplomat and his grief-driven search for the truth about his wife’s death. The story smartly combines the character study with the detective story and Fiennes’ performance brings out the transformation in a very elegant way by controlling the emotion and quietly and precisely structuring the change in his character. The cinematography and editing support the drama and enhance it by using grainy film stock and appropriate lighting techniques.
What Doesn’t: Because of the focus on Fiennes’ character, the supporting cast do not get much treatment by the screenplay. Also, it does not follow all of the traditional thriller conventions and may disappoint those looking for nail-biting suspense.
Bottom Line: The Constant Gardener is one of the best films of 2005. It is very sad and melodramatic but it has an elegance that prohibits it from over the top sentimentality. Recommended for those who liked A Dry White Season.
Episode: #70 (October 2, 2005)