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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE CONSTANT GARDENER

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 129 minutes, deleted scenes, extended scene, three featurettes

STUDIO: Focus Features/ Universal

RELEASE DATE: 1-10-2005

It looked like the movie was going to be The Constant Boredom, but THE CONSTANT GARDENER is a gripping thriller once it sucks you in. Ralph Fiennes plays Justin, a mild-mannered British diplomat stationed in Kenya who investigates why his activist wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz) was murdered. It has something to with the politics of drug companies in the third world and a TB drug called Dipraxa.

"The whole machine is driven by guilt."

THE CONSTANT GARDENER is an interesting film that shows Kenya and features a great cast. Some scenes feel like a documentary while others feature different saturations of color from scene to scene. I don't really agree with why Justin had to do what he did at the end of the film, but THE CONSTANT GARDENER ia a thriller driven by a man's love (for his wife) to finish what she started.

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Image detail is fine. Aliasing does crop up in one scene in London and the morgue scene has a little porblem. Grain is present in many of the dark scenes.

AUDIO: English 5.1, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dialogue is clear, but it is a little quiet compared to the sudden loud bursts of music and noise. THE CONSTANT GARDENER is a mostly a dialogue driven picture.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Four deleted scenes (10 1/2 minutes in total) border upon bad or good depending on the scene you watch. Maybe only the second scene I miss. The extended scene is a 9 1/2 minute version of the AIDS play in Kiberia shown in the film.

Three featurettes round out the extras.

EMBRACING AFRICA: FILMING IN KENYA (9 1/2 minutes) shows the work that went into filming there and why they had to film in Kenya using real locations.

JOHN LE CARRE: FROM PAGE TO SCREEN (10 minutes) recounts the story how the book was turned into a film (Hollywood didn't want to set it in Africa) and how the author thinks it is one of the best book translations to screen (even though most of the scenes from the book don't survive in the movie).

ANATOMY OF A GOBAL THRILLER: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE CONSTANT GARDENER is a promo featurette with cast and crew and featuring plenty of behind-the-scenes footage. All three featurettes have interviews and behind-the-scenes material.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Despite a slow beginning veering on the edge of boredom, THE CONSTANT GARDENER is one of the finest thrillers of 2005.

this article is (c)1-14-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com