September 16, 2005

The Constant Gardener

The 11th novel by John Le Carré to be adapted for the screen, The Constant Gardener is about secrets between spouses- why you keep secrets, how secrets are discovered, and how you define yourself when you learn your late wife is not who you thought she was. Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) is a British diplomat in the Nairobi office, married to Tessa (Rachel Weisz), an outspoken activist. Tessa discovers a deadly conspiracy between the British government and Big Pharma, but she deliberately keeps her investigation a secret from Justin, in order to protect him and his career.constant

Justin is too willing to remain ignorant, and when Tessa is murdered, Justin must investigate the woman he was married to while redefining himself and his relationship to his wife. After her death, he becomes the kind of husband she needed in life, and that's as close to redemption as they get. The direction is solid, with colorful and exciting cinematography. The pacing is kind of slow in the last third. The screenplay is excellent. Rachel Weisz stands out in her supporting role as Tessa. She is revealing all sorts of new talents in every role I see her in (The two Mummy films, Beautiful Creatures, Enemy At The Gates, About A Boy, Confidence, Runaway Jury). (West Newton Cinema)