Ah, Africa. A stone around the necks of the sensitive Europeans, a whip that torments our souls as we see our forefathers as a brute force that raped the entire continent, splintering it into colonies and destroying its soul.
The present generations are now trying to redeem themselves with live aid, humanitarian actions and so forth, with little to none effect. The continent is just too far down the drain.
Meet Justin Quayle, a diplomant who falls in love with a student named Tessa. They get married and leave for Africa. Soon, Tessa is found murdered and Justin is shocked beyond reason. He decides to discover the true reason for his wife death and diggs into the sand of Africa, unravelling a global conspiracy.
John le Carre or no John le Carre, this movie is a half dead horse that tries to convince us it is very alive. It tries to combine a thriller with a documentary about Africa and a few notes that borrows from Michael Moore. Needless to say it fails at its goal. Instead, you get a stereotyped flick about the poor african people, about the greedy and cruel white european white collars and a poor man that would do anything for love. Yes, even that.
The whole thing feels like Jason Bourne younger cousin that tries to be tough and just like his uncle, but fails and looks simply foolish and ridiculous. The conspiracy involving the multinational drug company that is infecting the poor african people with an experimental drug looks pathetic and far-stretched. And his one-man crusade against the evil empire(s) looks likewise silly and too “adapted” for the american audience which lacks the proper depth to tackle with such problems of this world of ours.
Ralph Finnes has seen better years, altough Pete Postlethwaite is always a pleasure to see. Rachel Weisz smiles too much and tries to be Julia Roberts in Pelican`s brief and others just try to look important. Camera-work however is spectacular. Outside and inside shots are a true artform. However, it`s not the reason people go and see this movie. So take my advice and either go see a real documentary for great camera-work or a real thriller for the excitement. Constant gardener needs to tend his garden a little more before it`ll be presentable to the public.