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.
I wish I’d seen The Fountain in a theatre. It deserves the biggest screen you can find. It’s a film I know I’ll have to watch again to fully appreciate. Even now, though, I’m still amazed by it. It is an existential mediation, a surreal yet very real exploration of love and grief and life and the universe and everything.
From the DVD Talk review: “While acknowledging that The Fountain may not suit everyone’s fancy, I still advocate that everyone should see it. Darren Aronofsky has written a script that is philosophical, spiritual, and emotional, and he has somehow dressed it up in truly gorgeous clothes without disappearing up his own behind in a fit of pretentiousness. Working with marvellous performances by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, the director has made a movie that is both a heady rush and emotionally powerful, giving us a feast for our eyes while also stimulating our brains and our hearts. A very rare treat.” What he said. (And check out Jim Emerson’s blog for further commentary on the film.)