Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The Constant Gardener
I have just watched the Constant Gardener on DVD. Now this was a movie worth watching, and beautifully transferred to the screen by Fernando Meirelles. Le Carre's books are all about betrayal, and frequently he mixes sexual betrayal with betrayal of country, friends, class, whatever. There were stunning perfomances from Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, and good supporting roles for Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite, Danny Houston and Juliet Aubrey. The photography is spectacular. There are no green screens, and the single car chase is sinister rather than exciting. * The plot is just the Maguffin; probably preposterous and hardly likely to be true. Pharmaceutical firms may do some dreadful things, but hanging out so far that they are likely to get caught by a idealistic girl is unlikely in their risk averse culture. But that is beside the point, in this sort of literature you need a evil-enough villain, and now the communists have gone, the white South Africans have been defeated and the Moslems blow you up if you attack them, who is there left but big Pharma? It's also hard to believe that you could buy the British government for 1500 jobs in Wales. A peerage perhaps. But the enemy is frightening, fearful and foreboding. Fiennes is just right for the part. Diffident, gentlemanly, polite and dogged. He bears his suspicions of his wife's infidelity with grace and when he discovers her utter faithfullness he breaks down and weeps with both shame and joy. Rachel Weisz is the best pregnant performance since Fargo, but this shameless display fitted so well with her fearless character. All in all a film worthy of the awards it garnered.