Last night, I saw The Constant Gardener a critically acclaimed movie that has garnered Oscar nods in Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Film Editing, and Original Score. It is an artfully done film that blends documentary style with fast-action murder-mystery feel. The official Oscar blurb describes it as such:
A British diplomat in Africa is drawn into a dark world of corruption and danger following his wife’s murder. The mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of activist Tessa Quayle and the crime’s possible ties to the international pharmaceutical market spur her grief-stricken husband Justin to search for answers that may put his own life at risk.
The most compelling part of this movie is the fact that it seems entirely plausible in today’s day and age that pharmaceutical companies are out to illegally test products on “dispensable” Africans. That twisted fact instills a intimate fear in the American public. The documentary style makes the story all the more believable too. Plus, the story has just enough action (car-chases, murders, spying, etc.) to keep the James Bond audiences on the edge of their seat.
This is really an entirely new genre: movies with a very clear progressive message that tug on the heart but also keep the audience entirely entertained. It’s one of those movies where the audience goes and discusses the implications of the movie.