The Constant Gardener

Rated 3.0

A timid British diplomat in Africa (Ralph Fiennes) disregards his colleagues’ urging to investigate the murder of his activist wife (Rachel Weisz) and winds up not only uncovering her killers but also reaching a deeper understanding of his marriage. Director Fernando Meirelles and writer Jeffrey Caine (adapting John Le Carré’s novel) are so eager to indict the international pharmaceutical industry (this year’s lefty-trendy corporate villain of choice) that they give away the culprits much too early, and the movie feels too long. More interesting than the political angle (or Meirelles’ dizzy, pseudo-documentary camera work) is the personal story, as the diplomat really gets to know his wife. The rapport between Fiennes and Weisz (seen mostly in flashbacks) is the movie’s narrative core and main asset.