The Constant Gardener - from book to movie
I read the novel a couple of years ago and only this week watched the DVD of The Constant Gardener, a 2005 major motion picture directed by Fernando Meirelles, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisse. I liked it as a book and now as a film because it has the right mix of love story, exploration of social justice issues, intrigue, Kenya as the main setting.
The DVD also provides lots of extra details – why they filmed in Kenya, deleted scenes, adaptation from novel to screen, behind the making of the film – all of which adds to my appreciation of the movie.
GAVIN BOND writes:
the inescapable relevance of the modern plight and poverty of the third world this film remains totally challenging, thought provoking while still being entertaining. Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City Of God) makes an outstanding English-speaking film debut as he successfully melds an intelligent politically fuelled suspense thriller with an earthy romantic drama which proves to be both suspenseful and moving. Even better is the use of "real" African landscapes and settings and dazzling hand held camera work which keeps this film totally grounded in reality and while fans of the traditional "spy action flick genre" (yawn) may come out of this screening slightly under whelmed by the lack of pyrotechnics and car chases, discerning viewers will applaud this intelligent and provocative "masterpiece" which perfectly captures the grimy political climate of this corrupt conservative age we are currently immersed in!
Plot summary (copy and paste from internet also)
Justin Quayle, a British diplomat in Nairobi, is told that his activist wife, Tessa, was raped and killed while traveling with a doctor friend in a desolate region of Africa. Investigating on his own, Quayle discovers that her rape and murder, reportedly done by her friend, may have had more sinister roots. Justin learns that Tessa uncovered a corporate scandal. KVH (Karel Vita Hudson), a large pharmaceutical company working under the cover of AIDS tests and treatments, is testing a tuberculosis drug that has severe side effects. Rather than help the test trial subjects and begin again with new medicine, KVH covered up the side effects reported in the tests, and only improved the drug in anticipation of a massive, multi-resistant tuberculosis outbreak.
Justin travels the world, often under assumed identities, in order to reconstruct the circumstances leading to Tessa's murder. As he begins to piece together Tessa's final report on the fraudulent drug tests, he learns that the roots of the conspiracy stretch further than he could have imagined; to a German pharmawatch company, an African aid station, and most disturbingly to him, corrupt politicians in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Is it close to the truth? Is the pharmaceutical industry so close to world capitalism, exploitation and cover-ups?