Charles Winecoff
January 05, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Constant Gardener

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
128 minutes
Wide Release Date
08/31/05
performer
Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite
director
Fernando Meirelles
distributor
Focus Features
author
Jeffrey Caine
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it an B

The 18th novel by le Carre (The Russia House) centers on the brutal murder of the free-spirited, radical wife of a British diplomat in Kenya. In its aftermath, everyone struggles to maintain a stiff upper lip — including the victim’s mousy spouse and a fellow bureaucrat who happens to have been having an affair with her. When the grieving husband delves into his wife’s activities and finds evidence of foul play, he throws diplomacy to the wind to continue her crusade against a nefarious drug company, getting closer to her posthumously than he ever had during their marriage. Though it can be predictable and talky, le Carre’s narrative nonetheless illuminates the tangle of hypocrisy, politics, and passion roiling beneath that steadfast British restraint. B

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