Credit: CONSTANT GARDENER: Jaap Buitendijk

A love story hidden inside a piece of agitprop buried inside a global murder mystery, the narrative of The Constant Gardener is, at its core, a buttoned-up John le Carré diplomatic thriller that’s seemingly ripped from the pages of The Economist. In the hands of Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City of God), however, the film of le Carré’s novel is supercharged with a passionate Third World perspective, lush colors, and a cinema vérité feel that turns a wonky subject (the corruption of pharmaceutical companies) into a sexy, vibrant film.

EXTRAS The deleted and extended scenes are only mildly interesting, but the three brief making-of docs help flesh out the interesting production backstory. The best is ”Embracing Africa: Filming in Kenya,” which illuminates Meirelles’ documentary style: Instead of shooting in a more established movie location like South Africa, he chose an actual Nairobi shantytown, and used handheld cameras and nonprofessional actors from the region, lending the film an authentic and improvisational mood.

The Constant Gardener
  • Movie
  • 128 minutes