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The Constant Gardener (2005)

A widower is determined to get to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret involving his wife's murder, big business, and corporate corruption.

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(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 64 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Hubert Koundé ...
Dr. Arnold Bluhm (as Hubert Kounde)
...
Sandy Woodrow
Daniele Harford ...
Miriam
Packson Ngugi ...
Officer in Morgue
Damaris Itenyo Agweyu ...
Jomo's Wife
Bernard Otieno Oduor ...
Jomo
...
Keith Pearson ...
Porter Coleridge
John Sibi-Okumu ...
Dr. Joshua Ngaba
...
Tim Donohue
...
Ghita Pearson
Nick Reding ...
Crick
...
Sir Kenneth Curtiss
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Storyline

In a remote area of Northern Kenya, activist Tessa Quayle is found brutally murdered. Tessa's companion, a doctor, appears to have fled the scene, and the evidence points to a crime of passion. Members of the British High Commission in Nairobi assume that Tessa's widower, their mild-mannered and unambitious colleague Justin Quayle, will leave the matter to them. They could not be more wrong. Haunted by remorse and jarred by rumors of his late wife's infidelities, Quayle surprises everyone by embarking on a personal odyssey that will take him across three continents. Using his privileged access to diplomatic secrets, he will risk his own life, stopping at nothing to uncover and expose the truth - a conspiracy more far-reaching and deadly than Quayle could ever have imagined. Written by focus features

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The highly anticipated international thriller from John le Carré & Fernando Meirelles the Academy Award nominated director of City of God See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violent images and sexual content/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

31 August 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El jardinero fiel  »

Box Office

Budget:

£15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,961,311 (USA) (2 September 2005)

Gross:

$33,565,375 (USA) (25 November 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as dts)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Given the subject matter, the Kenyan Government of Kenya proved to be remarkably accommodating to the filmmakers. The Hon. Raphael Tuju, Minister of Information & Communications, stated: "The Constant Gardener is very critical of Kenya, and it was unprecedented that this ministry would support it and license it. But I went ahead and made sure that we did so, because if we didn't support it being filmed here it was still going to be filmed somewhere else, and it would still be critical of Kenya in the past, with respect to issues like corruption." See more »

Goofs

When Justin's High Commission colleague is putting the tape on the cricket bat handle, he has taped different amounts on in the two shots (front and back) in which it is shown. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Justin Quayle: Oh, thank you Arnold. I... I can manage that. But I still don't see why you couldn't wait a couple of weeks. Why go all the way up to Loki?
Tessa Quayle: Well, we want to hear Grace Makanga speak, and she won't be coming to Nairobi.
See more »

Crazy Credits

END CREDITS DISCLAIMER: Nobody in this story, and no outfit or corporation, thank God, is based upon an actual person or outfit in the real world. But I can tell you this; as my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realize that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard. --John Le Carré See more »

Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Kothbiro
(1993)
Written by Mbarak Achieng
Arranged and Performed by Ayub Ogada
Published by Womad Music Ltd. / EMI Virgin Music Ltd.
(p) 1993 Real World Records Ltd. / Virgin Records Ltd.
Ayub Ogada appears courtesy of Real World Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thought Provoking and Beautifully Stirring Political Potboiler
6 September 2005 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

Ralph Fiennes stars as a British diplomat whose complacency is challenged when he is forced into a soul searching quest for the reasons behind the tragic death of his activist wife (Rachel Weisz) that uncovers a sinister pharmaceutical company in cahoots with British and Kenyan governments testing a new TB drug on expendable HIV+ Africans.

Fiennes gives his most humanistic and endearing performance ever, perhaps even topping his Oscar nominated turns in "Schindler's List" and "The English Patient." Rachel Weisz is an illuminating revelation, turning in the performance of her career. Her character develops and becomes even more compelling after she dies and we learn her secrets through expertly paced flashbacks. Director Fernando Meirelles takes the amazing style he honed with "City of God" and adds a heart with "The Constant Gardener," a big heart that bleeds a beautiful cinematic poeticism onto the screen.

This film truly rewards its audience as it works on so many levels. Like this year's earlier word-of-mouth and hot-button issue sleeper, "Crash," you won't be able to stop talking about it after you leave the theater. The politics here are engaging and bound to stir up even the most complacent viewer. What's even more amazing is that all of the timely political discourse and subsequent thriller aspects of the film (courtesy of the source material, John Le Carre's novel) are wrapped up in a timeless romance. We the audience join Fiennes on his journey, and we rediscover the love story between he and his wife that anchors the film in a poetic realism usually reserved for movies with much less on their minds.

To top it off, it's all delivered in the maddeningly genius Meirelles style that took critics and audiences by storm in his debut "City of God". We have the shaky hand-held camera darting through vibrant and colorful third-world locales juxtaposed with jaw-droppingly gorgeous aerial photography of Africa in all its blazing glory. Meirelles again shows us he is a true artist willing to show both the shocking beauty and abject horror of the people and places that populate his films. Again he delivers a message that people are doing horrible things to other people the world over (be it in the form of wishy-washy governments turning a blind eye, greedy corporations putting a price tag on a human life, local thugs preying on the misfortune of their neighbors, or friends betraying friends). With "City of God" he seemed to be saying the only hope is to document it. With "The Constant Gardener" he makes that argument again and takes it one brilliant step forward. We may not be able to stop a war or a huge global injustice, but we do have the power to help one person at a time. It takes a courageous film to make such a statement, and a brilliant film-maker to deliver it, and that's just what "The Constant Gardener" does.


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