My Take on “The Constant Gardener”

The Constant Gardener tells a somewhat conventional story about a man who tries to track down the people who murdered his wife and uncovers some dirty secrets about the pharmaceutical industry along the way. What could have easily been a ho-hum kind of movie, in the hands of Fernando Meirelles, the director of City of God — it shines.

César Charlone, the director of photography, and Claire Simpson, the editor, should get some credit, too. Altogether, they create a style, a look and feel, that is striking and dramatic on its own. The camera moves nervously and is always just a bit off-centre. The colours are either vibrant or a lifeless grey, often both at the same time. The editing has a strange, uncomfortable rhythm. Throw into the mix some actors like Ralph Fiennes who really know what they’re doing, and you’ve got yourself a pretty damn good movie. Fernando Meirelles has become a director I’ll watch just to see what he does next.