With amazing cinematography, and brutal tension “The Constant Gardener” is a gorgeous and heartbreaking murder mystery involving Feinne’s character Dr. Justin Quayle whose wife Tessa dies in Africa. He travels to Africa to identify her body and then is intent on discovering he murderer after he discovers it was foul play. Much like an array of films that were released in 2005, “The Constant Gardener” pushes its message that is still resonant in American society both about the corruption in the medical and pharmaceutical industry, and our lack of support with Africa and their AIDS pandemic.
But what “The Constant Gardener” has going for it is that it’s a constantly evolving story from beginning to end becoming a tragedy, then a fractured romance, then a political thriller. We follow Dr. Quayle a very well known right winger who discovers that the causes he’s spoken against really end up being as dire as his wife made them out to be. Weiss gives the best performance of her career yet with her role as Tessa a woman so dwarfed by her own causes that it begins to take a toll on her health, but she’s intent on improving a situation that may very well be out of her control. She and Justin’s romance from the beginning is impulsive, and as they further get to know one another they realize they were never really aware of each other’s emotions of thoughts.
The film isn’t a typical thriller, as it is more about a man who finds his wife through discovering her death and as we chronicle the days leading up to her death, we get a better sense of their connection and lack thereof. The most resonant message during “The Constant Gardener” wasn’t about big corporations but more about how big business medicine consistently refuses to help Africa. Justin’s character becomes less of a corporate man looking from the outside in and more of an activist witnessing the horrors in front of his eyes and discovering why Tessa felt the need to help. Merielles direction is beautiful and brisk with some amazing cinematography, and excellent landscapes. Fiennes proves why he’s one of Hollywood’s best, Weisz earns that Oscar nomination, and Merielles gives some utterly amazing direction in a truly worthy successor to “The Third Man” with a sad, taut, and excellent global mystery.