The Constant Gardener (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/10/2005

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 129 mins

Opens London Film Festival: 19th October
General release: 11th November

Fernando Meirelles’ brilliant follow-up to City of God is a strong Oscar contender and the perfect opening film for the London Film Festival.

The Background
Oscar-nominated Brazilian director, Fernando Meirelles proves that his stunning debut City of God was no fluke with his follow-up film The Constant Gardener, adapted from the novel by John Le Carré. The film has been deservedly chosen as the opening night gala for The Times BFI 49th London Film Festival.

The Story
Ralph Fiennes stars as Justin Quayle, a green-fingered British diplomat assigned to Kenya. When his activist wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz) is murdered, he sets out to investigate her death and finds more than he bargained for. As he gets closer to the truth, Quayle’s friends and colleagues warn him to stop digging but he ignores them, with potentially dangerous consequences.

The Good
The Constant Gardener is that rare film which fires on all cylinders. The direction, writing, photography, editing and acting are all exceptional. The script works as both a romance and a thriller whilst delivering an important political message that doesn’t pull any punches.

It’s also beautifully shot by cinematographer César Charlone and brilliantly edited by Claire Simpson, who assembles the complex, multi-layered story out of sequence in order to deliver maximum emotional impact.

The Great
The performances are superb. Fiennes makes an engaging lead and his character’s transformation from an unassuming public servant to a crusader for justice is thoroughly believable. Weisz delivers what is perhaps her best screen performance to date; her relationship with Fiennes is complex and genuinely affecting.

There’s also terrific support from the always-reliable Danny Huston (excelling himself as Quayle’s sleazy friend and colleague Sandy Woodrow). Don’t be surprised if Weisz, Fiennes and Huston all end up with Academy Award nominations, come Oscar time.

The Conclusion
In short, The Constant Gardener is a powerful, gripping, brilliantly acted and superbly directed thriller that’s extremely moving and delivers an important political message. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Constant Gardener (15)
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Content updated: 11/12/2017 19:15

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