The Constant Gardener

December 6, 2012 - A diplomat with a penchant for potting falls for an ambitious activist in this 2005 love story/thriller based on a novel by John le Carré. Ralph Fiennes plays the diplomat; Rachel Weisz is his wife. The supporting cast includes Danny Huston, Richard McCabe and Bill Nighy.

Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a low-level British diplomat. He falls for Tessa (Weisz) when she forcefully disagrees with what he's just said during a speech in London. Their love is still young when Justin gets assigned to a post in Kenya. Tessa begs Justin to take her along, so they get married and off they go.

Once in Kenya, Justin spends a lot of time nurturing his plants, while Tessa travels to cities and villages with a doctor. Justin doesn't ask a lot of questions about what his wife is doing until she's murdered while returning from one of her trips. Suddenly, Justin has a lot of questions about what his wife was really doing and who would want her dead. The search for answers leads Justin back to the people who were supposed to be his friends.

Overall review: ** I know. I know. This film got a lot of good reviews when it came out, and Weisz won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role. Fiennes is also good, and so is the rest of the cast. But, for me, the performances are not enough to overcome a plot that offers very few surprises. The movie runs just over two hours and it felt like it, especially with its penchant for flashbacks and its moral message that hits you on the head over and over again.