Thursday, 5 January 2006


Film: The Constant Gardener

The Riverside Theatre was packed out tonight for The Constant Gardener. I suspect many are here for the film's political conscience - something I'd read about but which I didn't quite see on-screen.

To my mind it's a good thriller woven together with a beautifully depicted relationship between the two lead characters which just happens to be set in Africa against a backdrop of aid and the pharmaceutical industry.

The film encourages the audience to be appalled at the west's abuse of Africa but doesn't really present enough context to understand treat the issues with depth. In the closing credits after a dedication to "aid workers who lived and died giving a damn", a note confirms the author's "big-pharma bad" stance: "as my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realize that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard."

If the film's purpose was to draw attention to the fact that drugs have to be tested somewhere then fair enough. Personally I'd have rather seen it discuss the issue with a little more respect and intelligence.

Posted by pab at 22:18 | Comments will be back later in the year. Please email me instead!