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Movie Review: The Constant Gardener

Alternate Title: Murder Most Foul

Story: If you need more fuel to feed your anger at big business or indifferent Government policies and officials than this rage producing film wonderful is for you.

It is based on the John Le Carre novel with a screenplay by Jeffrey Caine and brilliantly directed by the very talented Fernado Meirelles (City of God). We get a combination love story and thriller wrapped up in the dirty world of politics and multi-national pharmaceutical companies.

Mid-level English diplomat Justin Quayle meets Tessa, a left wing. bold humanitarian and in a rushed courtship they marry and move to Kenya. Through flashbacks we learn how their relationship evolved and how she died. (The book has her dying on page one). Was it a contract hit? What was she involved in? Why did she have to die? The film centers around our quiet diplomat's transformation in seeking the truth.

It is a beautifully filmed piece (Cesar Challone) and it left me with a profound sadness. I am sure the recent events of hurricane Katrina added to my grief and sorrow.

This film is not for the timid. It is hard hitting and makes you think. Please take the time to see it. You will be a better person for having gone through the experience.

Acting: Ralph Fiennes is brilliant as Justin Quayle. He carries the weight of the world on his beautiful shoulders. Rachel Weisz is a fine, fiery Tessa and their on-screen chemistry is palpable. The rest of the ensemble cast is excellent including Pete Postlewaite, Bill Nighy and Danny Huston.

Predilection: I like Ralph Fiennes

Critters: Livestock and horses.

Opening Titles: Titles are at the end.

Visual Art: An excellent juxtaposition of class differences in the homes.

Theater Audience: There was not an empty seat in the house on a Friday afternoon at 3PM.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 2 - Some of the scenes of the devastation in Africa is hard to watch.

Tissue Usage: I wept.

Oscar Worthy: Yes. Ralph Fiennes should get a nod and perhaps best screenplay from another source. Who knows, maybe Meirelles will be tapped for best director?

Soap Box: There is too much anger in me right now about the nightmare in Louisiana to get on this soap box. How poor people are being treated throughout the world is shameful.

Nit Picking: No nits to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. For some other Ralph Fiennes films, try renting: The End of the Affair, Onegin, Sunshine, Oscar and Lucinda, The English Patient, Strange Days, Quiz Show, Schindler's List and as the most wonderful Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

Length: Two hours.