The Constant Gardener

Rat­ing: A+

We had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see The Con­stant Gar­den­er (meta­crit­ic) a cou­ple of weeks ago, and I neglect­ed to post about it.

I’ve nev­er read a John le Carre nov­el — I remem­ber him say­ing on Fresh Air that he was a for­mer British intel­li­gence offi­cer, so I nat­u­ral­ly assumed that his pol­i­tics were more aligned with Tom Clan­cy’s, than Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al. Now, I’m the kind of Lib­er­al who squirms around rad­i­cal activist-types, so when we were greet­ed at the cin­e­ma door by Amnesty rep­re­sen­ta­tives with their pam­phlets and peti­tions, I won­dered just what kind of action pic this was. I ducked the do-good­ers, and took a seat.

It was my impres­sion that the film is being mar­ket­ed as a Ralph Fiennes action pic, (see poster). And while there cer­tain­ly is a lot of sus­pense, the true heart of the film lies with Rachel Weisz’s char­ac­ter — the rad­i­cal activist. The film pro­vides a win­dow into an Africa that we often hear about, but rarely see… sure, the film is indig­nant about cor­rupt local offi­cials, war­fare, dis­ease, and neglect­ful (or antipa­thet­ic) West­ern pow­ers. But, it also shows African peo­ple who are gen­er­ous in spir­it, and wor­thy of a bet­ter col­lec­tive future.

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