340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Constant craving.

Nobody in this story, and no outfit or corporation, thank God, is based upon an actual person or outfit in the real world. But I can tell you this; as my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realize that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard.

- John Le Carré

Those are the final words of The Constant Gardener, not spoken by any character but written on the screen at the end of the closing credits. A fitting conclusion to a movie which simultaneously terrifies and enchants with its beautifully-filmed portrait of greed, mendacity and profound inhumanity nesting in the heart of the African AIDS crisis.

Lauded by British cinephiles, critics and awards associations, this is a real gem of a movie: polished, precise and stunningly gorgeous, with crisp, hard edges; clear, polished surfaces; and a dimly-glimmering center. Hands down the best film I've seen in 2006, The Constant Gardener accomplishes the nigh-impossible by acting as both a powerful political statement and an arresting piece of art. On top of that, the movie manages to be both A) a nuanced, profoundly human and deeply-affecting love story and B) an engaging, complex thriller with double agents, diplomatic intrigue and smatterings of quick & dirty violence.

Tessa Quayle: I thought you spies knew everything.
Tim Donohue: Only God knows everything. He works for Mossad.

Rachel Weisz (recently in the forgettable Constantine) delivers an amazing performance as Tessa Quayle, the hunter hunted. Making her quixotic quester relevant by infusing her with furious energy, integrity and a wild intellect, Weisz earns her Best Supporting Actress Oscar several times over. She steals every scene she's in, injecting vitality and immediacy into even the quietest scenes. Fiennes is excellent (as usual), channelling some of his Tony-winning portrayal of Hamlet into Justin Quayle, another doomed man haunted by ghosts. Danny Huston is impeccable as the archetypal bureaucratic villain and Herbert Koundé's star continues to rise (watch for him to get bigger, faster).

I can't recommend this movie strongly enough; if you haven't seen it yet, don't delay.


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