Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Constant Gardener

Well I guess I was never going to be a regular, but my visits to Sanctus1 have become slightly embarrassingly sporadic. Something always seems to crop up. Tonight though I’m determined to make it…even though I’ve been out almost every night for weeks and have a busy week ahead and could really do with a night in.

So I just need to squeeze in that Greenbelt telephone conference early evening and all should be well.

Then S texts mid afternoon, tempting me with thoughts of Orange Wednesday film nights. She’s suggesting The Constant Gardener, which frankly I’m not too desperate to see, but I’m aware I haven’t seen her for a week and I’m away this weekend as well. Somehow spending time with my best mate feels more important tonight…so I switch plans.

The Constant Gardener is surprisingly good. I suppose it was the John Le Carre origin that was putting me off rather, but it’s not at all like his older stuff.

It’s a beautifully told tale set in Africa, involving the corruption of pharmaceutical multi-nationals in collusion with the FCO. However, told through the eyes of a minor diplomat who’s wife has been murdered, the tale is essentially a personal odyssey, with the political ruminations secondary to the examination of emotions and relationships.

It’s tender, beautiful and achingly sad. The plot in retrospect is none too complicated, but the personal angle makes the unfolding of the truth completely compelling and gets a powerful political message about the continuing abuse of Africa across, without ever once shouting.

It makes Richard Curtis’ well-meaning, but ultimately mis-firing drama The Girl in the CafĂ©, look like amateurish agit-prop. The Constant Gardener is political drama at it’s best - I highly recommend trying to catch it before it leaves the big screen.

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