‘Constant Gardener’on quest to unravel mystery

Daily Sundial

There seemed to be a drought of truly inspiring movies this year, at least until “The Constant Gardener” was released.

Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz co-star in Fernando Meirelles’ film, based on the novel written by John Le Carre.

Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a diplomat of the British High Commission, who has an affinity for gardening. Weisz portrays Tessa, a zealous civil rights activist.

The title of the movie may be deceiving since there is little gardening actually done in the movie.

The movie begins as Quayle watches Tessa leaves to go to a remote region in Kenya with her companion, Dr. Arnold Bluhm, played by Hurbert Kounde.

At home, Quayle is informed of the murder of a white woman, described as his wife Tessa, in Kenya. When he arrives in Kenya, he identifies the body of Tessa.

The movie flashes back to the moment Quayle and Tessa meet.

Quayle stands in for a government correspondent and delivers a message regarding the decisions of Britain and the United Nations to- be involved in the war in Iraq. This is how the couple met.

After a brief interlude, the two were wrapped up in a loving, sensual, soft embrace. The genuineness of the display of their love flooded the audience. Meirelles’ use of light gives the moment warmth, an effect not easily attained.

Their relationship takes off quickly when Tessa asks Quayle if she could join him on a trip to Africa. During this moment a renewed feeling in destiny is fulfilled and they become soulmates.

As Quayle goes to Africa to investigate what happened to his wife, he realizes the importance of her quest, and continues to unravel the mysteries she was getting ready to expose. His life as a gardening hobbyist is changed forever.

The story line is amazing. It keeps the audience guessing and curious about who is really responsible for the cruel injustices Tessa investigates, and if they will be exposed.

The good guys are bad. The bad guys are good, and there is always a bump in the path as the story approaches the answers.

This story line really sends out the message to those who see it: One person who is passionate enough can change the world.

Tessa is astonishing and commanding, relaying the empowering effect that if you want to make things better, anything is possible, even in death.

Mierelles vision for this movie is stunning. Almost every shot is picturesque, as if the audience was there capturing aspects of African culture, people and villages.

He utilizes a variety of cinematic techniques uncommon to the average film.

Instead of just using the display of human emotions, he takes an array of tribal music combined with amazing nature shots, shadows, light, and other techniques that can not be described with words.

The combination of both Fiennes’ and Weisz’ acting gives the movie a marvelous aura.

Weisz’s portrayal is delicately stunning and fearless, giving power and grace to her mission to save innocent lives and reviving a dull spirit within Quayle.

Fiennes’ role is passively naïve, yet he’s very passionate about the love he has for Tessa. Fiennes ability to represent a man with such a soft heart for his dead wife is refreshing.

Kounde is a gentle and sincere spirit, playing a perfect companion for Tessa.

My recommendation is togo see the movie. It is truly a quality film.

It is a notch above silly and flashy movies that keeps spilling out of Hollywood.

This movie is inspiring. I would give four stars for the actors, the director, the writer, and the screenwriter, plus all the beautiful children and scenery of Africa.

Michael Sullivan can be reached at michael. sullivan.843@csun.edu.