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.
It’s hard to take anyone’s word on a comedy. The Flight of the Conchords is comic genius to me (the first season, anyway), but I’ve never been able to turn anyone on to the show. I know plenty of people who laugh at everything Ben Stiller does, but he does nothing for me. And sometimes you just have to be in the right mood to get into a comedy. So…
Judged as a comical zombie movie, Shaun of the Dead succeeds completely. I don’t watch zombie movies, but I laughed all the way through this one. The zombies are funny, not scary or gross, and the main characters are hilarious. It’s a clever, smartly-written comedy in a style similar to the UK The Office, but with zombies. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen for a long time.