Sunday, September 04, 2005
Such is the tagline for The Constant Gardener, the newest thunder from Brazilian virtuoso Fernando Meirelles, who shocked us all with City of God three years ago. Gardener is another intense, finely woven, dense, supple masterwork. Who is this Meirelles guy?
And who are these people that come up with taglines and posters? "Love. At any cost" and the art of Ralph Fiennes brandishing a gun in African environs makes Gardener seem like Titantic meets Hotel Rwanda. Which it is not.
But it will no doubt be filed into this year's Hotel Rwanda slot. It has the same conscience quotient -- subbing in Kenya and profiteering pharmaceutical companies -- but it is infinitely more artful and direct. This is a love story, an adaptation of a John Le Carré novel, but it doesn't sacrifice its political message. Lives have value. All lives. Equal value.
Fiennes and Rachel Weisz are superb as a diplomat to Kenya and his hard-charging, "bleeding heart" wife, but have we come to expect anything less from these two peerless Brits? The screenplay is by Jeffrey Caine, who wrote the abysmal Rory O'Shea Was Here earlier this year. How could one man have written these two movies?
If you stay til the end of the credits, you'll see the movie is dedicated to "those who give a damn." There's also, apparently, a message from Le Carré tucked into the "All events and persons herein are fictional" disclaimer. I didn't catch all of it, but the end said something like "...based on my book, which is as tame as a postcard." It's followed by Le Carré's name.
If anyone else sees the movie, stick around til the very end and let me know what it really says. I think it's Le Carré dissing his own book and praising the movie for its more humanitarian, driven tone.