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Paparelli's Movie Reviews
Well, it's just, like... my opinion, man

The Constant Gardener

Saturday, September 02, 2006

year: 2005
directed by: Fernando Meirelles
written by: John le Carré, Jeffrey Caine, Bráulio Mantovani
notable cast: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston
Paparelli's rating: (0 = worst, **** = best)

In this intriguing and frightening story of love, politics, diplomacy, the mark of the director is clearly visible. I've not seen a movie by Meirelles before, but the way this movie is shot and paced is as recognizable as somebody's handwriting. He definitely has a strong, personal style.

What I especially appreciate, being a former video-editor, is his use of simple but highly effective digital effects and functional trickery. It's hardly noticable that any digital effects are used, but when one considers how some shots would need to have been filmed, it's clear that the help of computer graphics was put to good use here constantly.

The story itself is solid, interesting and well balanced in all its aspects. But I have to say the message is pretty grim. It very effectively shows how powerful corrupt companies and governments are, how well they are able to diguise the bad of their operations and how hopeless and unfair the fight against their grip on the third world is.

LeCarré is succesful in telling this story to an audience that is not primarily occupied with this subject matter, while still getting the message across. Meirelles is succesful in filming this story and making a good movie based on it. But in the end it still remains a dramatized lecture more than a regular movie. Not that that's a bad thing.

The audience in the theatre was stunned at the end of the movie and many sat through the entire listing of credits, silently recapitulating what they had just seen. It's kind of a tough subject for a saturday night movie, but if you're up for it, the movie is definitely an eyeopener.

The extremely fine acting in all parts contributes to the impact this movie makes.


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