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Quint stands in awe of THE CONSTANT GARDENER!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a look at THE CONSTANT GARDENER, a flick that will be one of the heaviest contenders for Mr. Oscar next Spring. No question about it.

Here is a film that is stylish and heartbreaking that is brilliantly directed, tells a great story with some fantastic actors at the top of their games. It's an easy contender for best picture, director, actor, actress as well as the technical awards. And if it won it'd deserve every ounce of plated gold it got.

The film is about a british politician in Africa (Ralph Fiennes) who loses his wife to an act of extreme violence. It's quite unspeakable what happens to her, really, which plays in brilliantly at different points in the film. From act one to act two to act three you view the lead characters completely differently, both the living and the dead and that's where the brilliance in this film lies for me, personally.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Fiennes' wife, Tessa, played by the gorgeous and lovely Rachel Weisz, is a very outspoken woman. Very politicized and seemingly without fear of the consequences of her digging into corporate dirt. Is this the reason for her death? Or is there something deeper? Or was it just a random, tragic event? Well, that's the question, isn't it?

Although Weisz' character is dead 3 minutes into the film, she has tons of screen time as we jump around in time. Director Fernando Meirelles and screenwriter Jeffrey Caine structure the film perfectly, each step in the plot giving us a slightly different perspective on both our lead characters until finally, at the end, you realize neither are what you thought they were. In Weisz's case pieces of the mystery surrounding her death are brought to light and in Fiennes' case his character actually changes due to the events unfolding before him.

It's a masterfully told story and one that surprisingly didn't rip my heart out and leave me devastated in the theater. Rather, that heartbreaking grew the more I thought about the film and how they pulled the rug out from under me as an audience member. They really got me good, making me feel guilty about judging certain characters without knowing much about them.

My immediate reaction was that THE CONSTANT GARDENER was this year's HOTEL RWANDA, but then I remembered that this isn't based on a true story. That's really a testament to how real the world that Meirelles creates is and how human and flawed the characters are. The writing and the performances all go to making this as real as possible, as gut-wrenching as possible.

This is the first real great "Awards" film of the year, but to label it only an "awards film" makes one think it panders to the academy, making wrong choices in the narrative or performances in order to inch that much closer to being able to say, "THE CONSTANT GARDENER, winner of BLANK Academy Awards." The film is it's own and every single step was taken to further the story of one man trying to fill that empty hole inside of him by finding out the truth behind his wife's murder, all the while coming to understand her more in death than he ever did in life.

It's a film I whole-heartedly recommend. Take your loved ones to see this and cherish them... then go tell all your friends about it.

-Quint





Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:04 a.m. CST

    FIRST

    by dr_nerdikus

    Holy crap I am first - now to read the review, hahahaha.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:04 a.m. CST

    first biatches

    by SirBiatchReturns

    again, that is all

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:05 a.m. CST

    noooo.... haha. i was too late. [game crash]

    by SirBiatchReturns

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:08 a.m. CST

    Until next time SirBiatch

    by dr_nerdikus

    muahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:12 a.m. CST

    SPOILER!!

    by docfalken

    I thought it was kind of ridiculous when Fienes got all burnt and bandaged up. Did Weisz get left in a cave?

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:12 a.m. CST

    I'm looking foward to this.

    by The Founder

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Anyone know how Rachel Wiesz's character buys the farm?

    by Rogue_Leader

    Quint's comment on how her murder was so horrid and tragic got me intrigued.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:52 a.m. CST

    ...

    by Lazarus Long

    Anyone want to actually talk about this film, instead of jockeying for position? It's usually a bad omen when a foreign language director ventures into the English language arena. For every 21 Grams you have a whole lotta misfires. It's clear that Meirelles is taking many of the skills and sensitivity he used on City of God to the other continent. While many are wary of this being another White Man in Dark Place story, I have faith because the director is familiar with the type of economic climate he's dealing with here. I haven't read LeCarre's novel, but this looks like the kind of political thriller that they had no problem making (or selling) back in the 70's. I don't know how this can make any money (even if it does get awards attention), but I don't see Meirelles having a problem making more films; he's that admired.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Ninth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by kilerb

    Damn you guys are dorks. Some people strive to see a movie first, some people strive to ask a celebrity a question first, and some pathetic morons make it the bane of their existence to post on AICN first. Uh boy... What an honor! LOL

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 3:33 a.m. CST

    Delbrately Annoying Shallow Post

    by Flummage

    Rachel Weisz, the english Carla Gugino?!? Discuss.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 6:49 a.m. CST

    It's GARD-E-NER -- with an 'E'

    by Mr Stonky

    Sheesh! 'E' is a very important letter. You'd soon get wound up if I wrote a about "The Forbidden Plant" or "Dawn of the Dad".

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 7:03 a.m. CST

    I can smell another 21 Grams

    by Monkey Butler

    And it smells like a whole lot of hystrionics that ultimately mean nothing. And the time jumps don't bode too well either.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Good Review...

    by doglips

    Really looking forward to seeing this now....

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 8:14 a.m. CST

    I don't think 21 Grams

    by Gheorghe Zamfir

    at least I hope not, from what I've read the time jumps are more flashbacks than messing with continuity. 21 Grams was jumping around in its continuity. Which itself isn't terrible, movies get away with that all the time (Pulp Fiction, Memento, etc.), but 21 Grams was a mess, just randomly breaking up the story and by the end there seemed to be no purpose at all for doing it, just being unconventional for the sake of it really.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 8:17 a.m. CST

    THE CONSTANT GARDNER Is Actually About That Time Mr. Green Jeans

    by ZombieSolutions

    "No time to talk now, Captain Kangaroo! I have to keep gardening! Gardening! GARDENING!!!"

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Exactly, Mr. Stonky

    by GrandMuffTarkin

    I've seen "Gardener" misspelled each time a review pops up here. Now, I try not to be an annoying member of the spelling gestapo. I'll forgive "definately" and "your" for "you're", but for christ, it's the goddamn title of the movie.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 8:43 a.m. CST

    cool

    by Gungan Slayer

    been waiting for this flick for a good while now

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 9:11 a.m. CST

    God Forbid Somebody Make A Spelling Mistake On A Message Board

    by ZombieSolutions

    oh the humanity. it's the end of the world as we know it. if you love your children, put them out their misery now. the future is nothing but typos and mushroom clouds.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 10:51 a.m. CST

    How do you not mention that the director is the guy who did "Cit

    by Garbageman33

    Best movie of the last five years. I'd watch whatever that guy did next.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Who comes up with these titles?

    by Orionsangels

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Meirelles

    by Mafu

    Thanks for the review, Quinty. The fact you dug the film makes me want to see it too. I bought "City of God" on DVD a year ago, and I've watched it about five times now, each time appreciating its artistry, character development, and sense of gritty realism; each time the film ends, I find myself amazed and a bit stunned by the filmmaking feat Fernando Meirelles and co-director Katia Lund pulled off. Months ago I was glad to hear Meirelles had been given the reins of a bigger-budget project, and based on reviews I've read, I can't wait to see "The Constant Gardener." Bravo, Fernando.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 12:20 p.m. CST

    "How do you not mention that the director is the guy who did "Ci

    by freak2thec0re

    because if you didn't know he did City of God, you should probably be over at movies.mtv.com instead of here

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Hey, movies.mtv.com had an interview with Park Chan-Wook, so pis

    by Garbageman33

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Dawn of the Dad

    by Kentucky Colonel

    I'd pay to see that one.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Yeah looking forward to this one.

    by CurryIce

    City of God was amazing. One of the few movies in past years where i had absolutely no clue, no expectations only a few things i heard before i've seen it and when i saw it i was blown away.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Ralph Fiennes is a very interesting actor --- this film has good

    by Spacesheik

    look forward to it

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:09 p.m. CST

    anchorite, the poster meant "the bean of their existence"

    by eraser_x

    thus, we see that misplaced e's are just as bad as missing e's for comprehensibility. beans are tasty. especially oto beans from the gardn.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:32 p.m. CST

    I think I'll wait for a real review before I make a decision

    by 3 Bag Enema

    Ralph Feinnes is hit or miss. Spider? Yeah! The English Patient? Get back, fucker.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Voldemort...Fuck yeah.

    by cyanide christ

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Been looking forward to it

    by YouInRawbIns?

    Especially since Ebert's review. The best thing about Quint's review here is that he's stolen Moriarty's thunder. Now Mori's review is going to be lame in comparison. Bravo, Quint, thanks for teaching Mori a lesson about making us wait for reviews.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 3:19 p.m. CST

    I've been looking forward to this movie as much....

    by Ugee

    Iv'e been looking forward to this movie as much as I've been waiting for Antonio Gates to get hurt.....

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Rachel Weisz

    by Deandome

    "Rachel Weisz, the english Carla Gugino?!? Discuss." Ummm...DID YOU SEE CARLA'S SWEET TITTIES & BOD IN SIN CITY??? I sure did...I had NO IDEA she was that smokin'!! That said, Rachel has a LOT to prove before making this comparison, and I can't wait for her to try!!!

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Tits n Ass

    by Flummage

    Reduce the fine establishment of aicn to just pure babe banter will you! How dare u! Lowly sexpest!!! wtf am I talking about I started it. Annnnnnnyways, i love em both dont get me wrong, i wasnt saying it as a competition, they just seem to have the same sort of aura to me. Sorta confident, smart, easy with themselves, likeable people/ honey-nippled sex angels. Have u seen Enemy At The Gates, the Russian sniper movie with Jude Law and Ed Harris? The one where she goes over to him, reaches into his bunk and starts frantically tryin to revive his obviously reluctant schtooper? Thats a memory i surely treasure. Amen. Anyway, as big eyed, sexy mouthed, heathen temptresses they surely are, they are both past their best, even though thier best is about 5.6 billion times above that of the average ladygirl. Can u imagine the pure unadulterated joy of being with Carla Guguino like she was in that *spits into bucket* Jon Bon Jovi, video? OH & btw, I could do with some pointers on how to sound a little more desperate, if thats possible. Thank You

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 9 p.m. CST

    Arfrica

    by Wookie_Weed

    Hopefully this will give Africa the attention it deserves, and all those rich fucks in Hollywood -- directors, producers, actors, actresses, and everyone inbetween -- will shed a fake tear at the Academy Awards. I can't wait for their hypocrisy. http://www.one.org

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 9:50 p.m. CST

    This smells like "The English Patient" to me.

    by cookylamoo

    And that ain't the smell of roses.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 10:36 p.m. CST

    Sounds like English Patient to me too..

    by Lazarus Long

    Director with brilliant visual flair adapts difficult novel by acclaimed author, set in an interesting location blending love and politics. Doesn't condescend to its audience nor insult their intelligence, but challenges them to become interested in cultures outside the corner of the world they're living in. Utilizes great lead and supporting actors, including Ralph Fiennes. Yeah, it does sound familiar, and I'm there.

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 12:31 a.m. CST

    I liked The English Patient

    by Wookie_Weed

    It's a pity Naveen Andrews is pretty much playing exactly the same character on Lost. And I don't care how good-looking she is, selfish bitches like Shannon don't change overnight. Matthew Fox should play Indiana Jones. What were we talking about again? Zzzzzz

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 2:09 a.m. CST

    And despite the advertising, they still manage to get the name w

    by Monkey Butler

    And to the people whinging about the title - it's an adaptation of a novel. Blame Le Carre

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 7:14 p.m. CST

    Constant Gardener would be a good superhero

    by Cpt Kirks 2pay

    Most dead pan, stupid But FUNNIEST post on here - EVEEEEERRR!!!!!!!! I laughed my head off over that. Damn I'm jealous I couldn't come up with that joke. Good on ya mate. Must remember, must use literal devices to create humour, must use literal devices to create humour. Might finally be a hit with chicks down my local nightclub. Even though at 32, I'm nearly half the age of chicks that I still am trying to shag.

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Constant Gardener would be a good superhero

    by Cpt Kirks 2pay

    Man, do you mind if I steal that joke and use it on people when it comes out. I mean, it's so hilarious. He's a Superhero - because he's like, constant. Such a claim to make, for such a undramatic word. I am being serious in this praise, not sarcastic by the way. Laughing as I read your post again. Wonder what other Superhero names we can come up with, over boring titles.....?

  • Aug. 31, 2005, 6:43 a.m. CST

    Ralp Fiennes = Lord Asriel

    by Wookie_Weed

    He's perfect for the role. Give him a call, Phil. Oh yeah, Matthew Fox will make a great Indiana Jones. Oh yeah. I'll shut up now. The Constant Gardener was a mess of a book, so I hope they've cleaned it up into a decent movie. Sounds pretty positive so far.