It is an indisputable fact that, thanks to the pharmaceutical industry, human beings (at least in some parts of the world) have improved their quality of life and life expectancy. Its products have helped us to combat many diseases and even to eradicate some of them. However, it should not be forgotten that, on occasion, the immense power of this industry has put governments and health institutions on the ropes with actions that could be described as opportunistic. In the face of a health scare, pharmaceutical companies act quickly to develop products to combat these new threats to human health. The pandemic caused by COVID-19 is a case in point, the “race” for the vaccine, the most precious, the most coveted treasure. It is precisely this immense power of the pharmaceutical industry that is the subject of the film The Constant Gardener.
The Constant Gardener (2005)
A British diplomat stationed in Kenya undertakes an investigation to uncover the truth about the death of his wife, who was supposedly murdered. This is the plot of The Constant Gardener, the film based on the novel of the same name by John Le Carré, released in 2005. Directed by Brazilian Fernando Meirelles, the film takes powerful pharmaceutical companies and their sometimes inhumane practices to task.
Disturbing and very well narrated, the film succeeds in moving the viewer. Rachel Weisz brings to life Tessa, a brilliant and feisty female activist who is presumed murdered. Ralph Finnes plays Justin Quayle, the stoic, upright husband in search of answers. The film is moving and profound, and Weisz gives an impeccable, natural and utterly convincing performance that, in fact, won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Alberto Iglesias scores the music for this film, as a final touch and essential to understand the images and to help us understand the fate of the protagonists.
An unconventional love story
The love story between the protagonists is not, on the surface, sappy or romantic. However, it is a beautiful story because it shows love as something that is beyond doubt and death. He knows nothing of what she does. She seems to go about her business. Their relationship seems more based on sex than anything else. But things are not always what they seem and the death of the protagonist will unleash in this man so restrained, so calm and so reserved, the imperious desire to investigate, to find out what really happened. Even if what he discovers is truly terrible.
The faithful gardener: a clear denunciation of the dark side of pharmaceutical companies
Fernando Meirelles exemplarily adapts John Le Carré’s novel, turning it into a mixture of a thriller with political overtones and a semi-documentary about the barbarities committed by pharmaceutical companies. Thus, in The Constant Gardener, the powerful pharmaceutical industry works on the African continent with total impunity thanks to the support of governments.
A film to spread awareness of a social reality
The Constant Gardener is a brave, daring and critical film. It directly accuses pharmaceutical companies of being the real killers of Africans. Because if they have a guinea pig, it is undoubtedly the African continent. It is in Africa that many clinical trials are carried out, it is also Africa that is the destination of tons of expired drugs The Constant Gardener it is a film that must be seen, so that we become aware, at least for the duration of the film, of the unorthodox methods often used by these companies. Cinema, as always, serves to show us, through a story, a social reality. The Constant Gardener, essential.
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