Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Reviews

The Constant Gardener

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 01 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:060141
  1. Aula Abbara, F1 house officer1
  1. 1Central Middlesex Hospital, London

Despite its lacklustre title, this John le Carré adaptation is a beautifully shot exploration of the workings of big pharmaceutical companies. This is a multilayered film, part romance, part conspiracy theory, and part espionage from the director of City of God. It draws the audience in and leaves them in thoughtful appreciative silence when it ends.

The story is built around the relationship of Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) and his wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz). The first scene is of the couple parting in Kenya, and this is followed soon after by a gruesome scene in which Quayle must identify his dead wife's charred body. Fiennes' mild mannered diplomat is complemented by Weisz's portrayal of Tessa as a fiery political activist whose passion leads her after Quayle to Nairobi. After her death, it becomes apparent that although he loved his wife, he never really knew her, and, paradoxically, he only comes closer to doing so after her death.

The cinematography is beautiful, with chaotic colourful scenes matched with tranquil African landscapes. The film carries a strong anticorporate antiestablishment message and, without preaching, it sends out its message clearly. All …

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