Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tribune gives The Constant Gardener Four Stars

See it!
An old Hollywood adage about movie adaptations says that good novels make bad movies and bad, pulpy novels make great movies.

It's a fallacy, of course. Good books make good movies all the time. David Fincher sharpened and expanded Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club," and Robert Redford captured Norman Maclean's pathos and poetry in "A River Runs Through It."

Very seldom, however, do movies illuminate a print work, mine from it new emotional resonance and thematic tensions. Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles accomplishes exactly this in his translation of John le Carre's "The Constant Gardener," a sweaty, vital masterpiece that's always one step ahead of its audience. Read More (though beware of spoilers!)

And on the film's social relevance:
But whatever Meirelles loses with the omission, he gains in political potency. Seldom have African landscapes and culture been portrayed with such intimacy and power. Unlike the abstract consequences in le Carre's Cold War novels, the politics of African debt and disease in "The Constant Gardener" are horrific and breathlessly immediate.

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