a movie to miss: The Constant Gardener

I saw The Constant Gardener on Monday. First of all, I don’t understand the title. I would rename it The Constant (Bore of a) Gardener. The main problem with this movie is that it is billed as a thriller, and it wasn’t really, which is a big violation of the contract with the audience. I don’t think of myself as a sophisticated viewer, and sometimes I get lost in the plot of a thriller, but in this movie, I saw the end coming about 35 minutes into the film. I fell asleep no less than 3 times, but each time I woke up, I found that I was following the plot just fine. I didn’t care about any of the characters. The film’s two-dimensional bad guys were Big Business and Big Government, and the characters in the movie were, for the most part, not considered to be responsible for their actions, a la Mystic River. The film had a self-important feel to it, and its agenda kept stepping on the story until it was mashed almost beyond recognition. It was as self-indulgent as the worst of student films. In summary, I think this film has Oscar nominee written all over it… except that it was released too early in the year to be a serious contender.

UPDATE (2/11/06): My fears have been confirmed. This movie was nominated for several Oscars, including best adapted screenplay.

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