Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Constant Gardener (2005)

Warning: This movie is only supposed to be available for streaming until Dec. 15th. Act fast!

The Constant Gardener is one of those movies that has been stuck in my queue since I had a queue. I knew it was supposed to be good and that it features an Oscar winner (Rachel Weisz), but I only just watched it last night because it is set to expire in a few weeks.

I think it took me so long to check it out because anytime I hear a movie is supposed to be good and is set in Africa I automatically assume it is going to be f****** depressing. Mostly because good movies set in Africa always are. The last movie I remember being set in Africa that didn't make me completely sad was The Lion King and I don't really think that counts. I understand (and commend) that filmmakers that want to expose to the world all the shitty things that are going on in Africa because a lot of that is happening and needs to be talked about. But, despite their noble intentions, I think that Africa as a place has been stereotyped in movies as hell on earth. Maybe I'm not watching the right movies, but I would like to see a story set in Africa that isn't completely tragic. A little hope might help. In the worst conditions you can find some of the happiest people. Yes, I'm randomly ranting here, but it's a trend in film-making I'm growing tired of. We might have gone from portraying Africans only as savages to portraying them only as victims - but a negative stereotype still exists. Rant over, back to review.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I would like to say that this is a good little thriller filled with love, international intrigue, scandal, and the battle between loyalty to ones country and standing up for what is right. The story follows an excellent Ralph Fiennes as a stuffy British diplomat that falls in love with a fiery revolutionary (Rachel Weisz) looking to take down some pretty evil drug companies (if I hadn't already gone off on a rant I'd talk about how corporations are the bogeyman in the millennium here). He gets sucked into her conspiracy and all sorts of things start to happen. The real bright spot for me, however, was Danny Huston. He was creepy, bad and I found the scenes featuring him to be the most grabbing apart from a few intense and very sexy scenes featuring Weisz.

So yea, if you're like me and have had this in your queue forever go ahead and watch it before it expires. Yes, it is depressing at times and the plot can be a little confusing. But, it is brilliantly acted and worth the liberal guilt you'll feel afterward.

According to Netflix this movie will stop streaming on 12/15/11. Of course, sometimes they lie.

The Standard 5:

Why is it in your queue? Rachel Weisz won a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance and I just heard it was pretty good.

Is it artsy? No, it's a well made thriller.

What stood out the most to you? Weisz may have been the one winning awards but to me Danny Huston was by far the most interesting actor in the movie.

What mood should I be in to watch this movie? Willing to pay the price of possible depression to watch a good film.

What rating did you give it on Netflix? 3 Stars.

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SPOILER ALERT: Talking about the movie is encouraged in the comment section. Read at your own risk.

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