The Constant Gardener Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 6, 2007
"Taut political thriller" is a label that's used about a hundred times for every one film that earns it; The Constant Gardener is one worthy of the mantle. And not only is it a political story, it's a human one, too. Next to no unnecessary shots in this one, with strong acting and images that will stay with you. A good director takes on a novel by the famous thriller writer John Le Carré and the result is an excellent movie.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2006
By the end of this film I was really pulling my hair out. I just found it so boring and monotonous despite the best efforts of Fiennes and Weisz. It's a heart breaking story of grief and loss, but the running time dispels any tension and makes me want to switch off. Beautiful cinematography, however.
Super Reviewer
½ January 15, 2012
Fernando Meirelles has created a great suspense thriller here with The Constant Gardener. Based on John Le Carre's book of the same name, the film is riveting from start to finish and is carried by two fantastic performances from Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. The Constant Gardener is a gripping, suspenseful thriller that features beautiful the beautifully photographed landscapes of Kenya, and two great performances from the leads. A first-rate spy thriller.
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2011
Lorbeer: Big pharmaceuticals are right up there with the arms dealers. 

"Love. At any cost."

The Constant Gardener isn't a favorite of mine, but it is such a well crafted film on every level. Ralph Fiennes gives one of his, if not his best, performances of his career. I'm also not a fan of Rachel Weisz normally, but in this movie she gives a spectacular performance. It's definitely going to go down as her career defining performance. The story is captivating and extremely well told.

If the film has any problem at all, it would be the lulls. There are moments in the film, where I just couldn't get into what was going on. The movie has very political issues in the background. Rachel Weisz's character was trying to fight a pharmaceutical company that was giving out medicine in Africa. The setting is a ill Africa, where sickness and death is an everyday affair.

The plot is all about a guy who lost his wife and now is trying to figure out exactly what happened to her. He is told that she was unfaithful to him and he really doesn't know what to believe on that subject. But hearing those rumors doesn't stop him from going to extreme measures to figure out why his wife is dead. The film manages to be extremely suspenseful at times, as the story unfolds and we start to see what is going on.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2010
The great political thriller of 2005. Rachel Wiesz is fantastic in her Oscar winning performance...I had previously thought Amy Adams deserved the award that year but Weisz is excellent here. Great script and good editing. Well-done drama, one of the best of 2005. Nominated for 4 Academy Awards, The Constant Gardener is a must see.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
This had the potential to be a really fascinating, gripping, and interesting film. It sure has an intriguing story. However, this really falters, and it makes me wonder if I may have been too nice in my assessment of the only other Meirelles film I've seen.

The main issues here are that the whole conspiracy/cover up and evil corporation angles have been done a lot of times, and usually far better. I know there were good intentions with this, but it seems all over the place and self aware in its attempt to be tought provoking and important. That's fine, but I was bored. This film is slow, unengaging, and unsure of whether it would rather be a mystery thriller with political/social undertones or the study of a an trying to really learn who his wife was.

The look and cinematography didn't seem all that remarkable and I didn't really buy the extreme and unnecessary measures taken by the antagonists. I did like the acting though. It was nicely restrained, and ytou could tell they all tried to make the best with the crap they were given, especially Fiennes. Also, why not just play it straightforward? What's wrong with that?

I should probably be a bit harsher on this, but they did at least try, even if it wasn't very hard and fell way short of the mark.
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2008
Amazing cinematography and editing.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2009
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Hubert Koundé, Danny Huston, Daniele Harford, Packson Ngugi, Damaris Itenyo Agweyu, Bernard Otieno Oduor, Bill Nighy, Keith Pearson, Archie Panjabi

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Summary: Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), a member of the British High Commission based in Africa, launches a quest for the truth and begins his own international investigation when his wife (Rachel Weisz, in an Oscar-winning turn) is murdered. Not even the rumors of his wife's infidelity will stop him from uncovering what really happened to her -- a conspiracy that's much more dangerous than he ever imagined.

My Thoughts: "One of the smartest thriller-suspense-drama made movie's I have seen. The acting and directing is spot on. Ralph Fiennes portrays a man in turmoil like no other actor. You see it all in his face. All his emotions goes right through you. It's a sad story and he does an outstanding job in this film. Rachel Weisz is just as fantastic as well in this film. Fernando Meirelles' edgy style of camera work really fit the film well. The story is a bit of a love story but it also shows us what can happen to the most vulnerable people when corrupt governments and greedy corporations desire money over decency. The ending was both satisfying and enlightening. A must see."
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2010
Director Fernando Meirelles makes some interesting choices with his essentially old-fashioned conspiracy picture. Meirelles crafts an aggressive feel of constant back and forth between past and present, love and death, good and evil. The film is visually striking but it almost hinders the final outcome. The images are so busy that it exhausts the eyes, making the film seems a lot longer than it actually is. Regardless, Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz (in an Oscar winning role) give the intense human connection that propels the picture. Unique, romantic, unsettling and exciting in equal measure, "The Constant Gardener" is one of the finer examples of message cinema from the 00s.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2008
"I know all your secrets, Tess. I think I understand you now."

When British diplomat Justin Quayle's (Ralph Fiennes) wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz) is found dead in Kenya, is starts him on a journey to uncover many secrets. Those of his wife, as well as others.

The Constant Gardner truly deserves the label of an intelligent movie. Often, the viewer is given a bit of information presented one way, and only later sees how it truly fits into the mystery of Tessa's life, death, and the overarching story of unethical practices by pharmaceutical companies in Africa. The narrative is non-linear, going from the past to the present and back again, while weaving an ultimately touching story of Tessa and Justin's relationship within the framework of the bigger story. And that relationship ultimately becomes the soul of the movie. It's satisfying and expertly told, but it did take me a while to become fully invested in the plot. This isn't an action-heavy movie by any means, so don't watch with expectations of primarily that kind of entertainment.

Special mention has to be made of the outstanding performances given by Fiennes and Weisz, as well as the beautiful African cinematography. The two actors really give a sense of humanity to their characters, and slowly reveal their complexity in a way that can only be described as impressive. And the movie itself is filmed in a realistic way that at times completely makes you forget that you're watching a film.

The Constant Gardner is a thought-provoking political/conspiracy-thriller that hits the right notes and becomes more and more involving as it goes along. Even if this kind of movie generally doesn't appeal to you, the performances of Weisz and Fiennes make it required viewing.
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2009
Not really what I was expecting. Not as much action but all the same I loove Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. They are both spectacualr. RALPH NEEDS AN OSCAR!
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2010
What a powerful and gripping film that Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles was able to make here - intelligent, compelling, dramatically intense, presenting an important subject and also with many fantastic performances.
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2006
A riveting, stylish and first-rate edge of your seat spy thriller. Gripping, unforgettable and electrifying. Ralph Fiennes gives a truly outstanding performance. Rachel Weisz is truly sensational. It's both an passionate love story and intriguing political drama. It's a compelling and brilliant piece of work. It's tremendously entertaining and wonderfully well-crafted. A hard-hitting, sensational, explosive and original entertainment. It will have you grabbing your seat in intrigue and excitement till the very end. A magnificent. astonishing and extraordinary triumph. It will take your breath away. A remarkable and absorbing suspense ride that is more satisfying and more intelligent than most political or spy films
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2006
From John Le Carrie's novel, begins with grief and proceeds with sadness toward horror. It is confronting and horrific, cynical about politics and the power of pharmaceutical companies. This is one of the year's best films.
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2009
I think there are not enough Movie out there with Ralph Fiennes. He has a magical influence on me, when I watch his movie. This Movie was truly a joy.
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2009
Another beautifully shot picture by Meirelles, this time a political thriller where the pharmaceutical companies are the bad guys. Although the ending didn't really keep with the rest of the film I felt that it had a good message to tell, albeit a slightly contrived one in places but overall a vitally important one that needs to be taken notice of!
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2008
"Love. At any cost."

A man discovers a deadly secret when he tries to find out who killed the woman he loves in this suspense drama based on a novel by John Le Carré. Justin Quale (Ralph Fiennes) is a low-level British diplomat who has been given a new assignment in Kenya. Justin's wife, Tessa (Rachel Weisz), is an activist with a keen interest in issues of poverty and social justice; Justin urges her to avoid getting too deeply involved in the people living in Kenya, who are constantly dogged by poverty, but she shows little interest in obeying these instructions. This isn't the only area where Tessa has disregarded her husband, who suspects that she may have had an affair - for she started spending time with a handsome doctor once they settled in Kenya. One day, Tessa disappears, and is found brutally murdered; officials believe that she was murdered by the doctor after some sort of argument. However, before long Justin becomes convinced that there was a larger scheme that led to Tessa's death, and he begins digging into areas where he's not especially welcome, given his reputation as a man willing to let the wealthy and powerful do as they will. The Constant Gardener was the first English-speaking feature from Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles, who directed the international success City of God.

I really should run down to the store and rent Boogeyman. I haven't seen a bad film in weeks, and this is certainly no exception. Rachel Weisz whole-heartedly deserved her Oscar, though I cant quite understand why it was for supporting actress rather than actress in a leading role. In fact the entire cast was phenomenal, with special nods going out to Bill Nighy and, of course, the always great Ralph Fiennes. The plot had me guessing until the very end, and while the final outcome was unavoidable, I was still somewhat surprised. A word of warning however: If you're like many people I know, and dismiss movies simply for being "boring", this is not for you. The majority of the film is talking and there is very little action. If that kind of film bothers you, leave this one on the shelf. Otherwise, I highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2007
This movie takes us across the ocean to another place, but more importantly it asks them to step outside of themselves for a few moments and consider the value of lives they rarely consider valuable. Or at best, rarely think about at all.
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