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The Constant Gardener (2005)

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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 35 wins & 68 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Justin Quayle
... Tessa Quayle
... 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
... Sir Bernard Pellegrin
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:

Love. At any cost. 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

Official Sites:

Production Notes

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| | |

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

31 August 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El jardinero fiel  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as dts)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Among the many other initiatives undertaken by the producer and new tribal elder Simon Channing Williams and co-producer Tracey Seaward were providing mattresses and linens for the children who board at the local school, and giving the production facilities fee to the entire community - in the form of a trust fund for local children to receive a secondary education. The duo also arranged for any and all disposable props, costumes, and construction materials to be distributed by the mission to neediest in Loiyangalani, Kenya. See more »

Goofs

Tessa's laptop was clearly a Apple Power Book running Mac OSX, however, during the montage where she was viewing video clips from the web, one set of movies had Windows XP graphics. 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.
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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 Behind the Truth (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Kijani Mwana Mwali
Traditional
Performed by Bomas of Kenya
Taken from the album "Songs of African Heritage" EUCD1721
Courtesy of ARC Music Productions International
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User Reviews

3-in-1 Film: Romance, Thriller, and Social Realism!
1 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

"The Constant Gardener" seeks to juggle three film styles—the romance, the thriller, and provocative social realism. On all three levels, the film succeeds, especially with the latter.

Much credit should go to director Fernando Meirelles, who has synthesized a virtual textbook of different film techniques. The uses of set-ups, location filming, lenses, film editing, and close-ups were simply dazzling. While the panoramic scenes of the African landscape were breathtaking, there was a starkly contrasting approach to the close-ups in the scenes in the city. The jittery, hand-held camera sequences added to the dramatic tension and underscored the urgency of coming to terms with poverty and disease.

The romantic portion of the film was anchored by the two characters played by Ralph Fiennes (Justin) and Rachel Weisz (Tessa). Their first meeting was dynamically presented as Tessa was a social activist heckling Justin as he was making a political speech. When the hall was cleared, however, it was Justin who was actually comforting Tessa after her outburst. The juxtaposition of the placid, passive Justin versus the fervent, hyper-kinetic Tessa was brilliantly established in that opening scene.

The strands of thriller and social realism are inextricably tied together in the film. As a whodunit, "The Constant Gardener" seeks to uncover what actually happened to Justin and Tessa on their African journey. At the same time, the main culprit that emerges is the heavy hand of greed as the pharmaceutical companies exploit helpless victims of tuberculosis for the purpose of testing and marketing an experimental drug. At one point in the film, it is disclosed to Justin that the pharmaceutical industry is no different than "arms dealers."

Another British film entitled "The Girl in the Café" appeared recently on American cable television. That gem of a film is a low-budget version of "The Constant Gardener." Both films seek to raise consciousness about the tragedy of world hunger and disease. The title of "The Constant Gardener" is an important one because of the time and care taken by Justin in his garden both at work and at home. In the process, however, he has ignored the urgent pleas of his wife, and he has lost touch with the world crisis to which he is arguably a contributor.

The eighteenth-century French writer Voltaire ended his famous novel "Candide" with the slogan "One must cultivate one's garden." This film would appear to suggest that instead of tending our gardens, we need to follow the lead of Justin and Rachel and see how we all might work to help others right now.


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