This is topic The Constant Gardener in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Book (Member # 5500) on :
There are few things so piercingly, chillingly beautiful as a good John Le Carre story. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker Tailor, The Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People, and A Perfect Spy are all favorite stories of mine, with deep, rich characters with stunning histories and relationships.

The Constant Gardener is no exception. This is possibly the best film (not television) adaptation of a John Le Carre novel that I have ever seen.

The plot centers arond a married couple named Tess and Justin, played fantastically by Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes. Tess is an out going, aggressive, liberal-minded and deeply empathic girl. Justin is a submissive, quiet, conservative diplomat working for Great Britain. They meet when Justin must sub in for his boss in a lecture in London and Tess raises her hand at the end and immediately begins railing upon the war in Iraq. She is a woman who believes in things so firmly that everyone else around her is immediately embarassed, yet Justin is a man whose passion is layered beneath miles of timidity, and her hot devotion wakes a spark up in him. They become the classic odd couple.

This is all told in flashback. The story begins with Tess's mangled body in the middle of Kenya, trapped underneath a ravaged Land Rover, the victim of a brutal, mysterious murder.

Ralph Fiennes plays Justin to a T. When he is told of his wife's death, the camera fixates on his face, which is so empty of reaction except for his eyes which cry out with sorrow. His slow response is, "Thank you for telling me, Sandy. It must've been hard."

Justin then slowly is drawn into researching exactly what led to his wife's death - and the mysterious deaths of nearly a hundred African HIV victims, all of whom were forced into testing a drug in order to apply for HIV treatment.

The story is a cynical one, and it brings into question the rest of the world's willful, if not downright exploitative ignorance of Africa. I know it's bad there. But this story really hurt me. I don't get teary during many movies. This one did it. I heartily reccommend it. Some hurts are so bright and so powerful that you simply have to invite them.

I felt drained for the rest of the movie, but it was worth it. I hope Oscars abound for this movie. Cheers.
Posted by ReikoDemosthenes (Member # 6218) on :
I just got back from seeing this film. I found it to be very well done. I must admit that I am hesitant to believe that things are as bad as the film says without further research, but I won't dismiss the film as making it into a bigger thing than it is. More than anything it showed me exactly how uninformed I really am about Africa, especially.
Posted by Book (Member # 5500) on :
Yeah, I won't go so far as to say that Le Carre is an expert on Africa, but it made me aware that I know nothing about it. These things COULD actually be happening and few people would know, and less would care enough to do something.
Posted by Book (Member # 5500) on :
So... not to be a nag, but has anyone gone to see this movie? It's really worth the while. And money.

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