Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu
The Constant Gardener is based on the book by John Le Carré of the same title. Set mainly in Kenya, it's a murder mystery about a woman who wrote a scathing report about a drug company that is using poor Africans as test guinea pigs. After writing this report she is murdered while on a trip to the Turkana region of Kenya.
Like the book, the movie opens up with the the murder of Tessa Quayle and her doctor friend, Arnold Bluhm. They are found in the Turkana Lake region of Kenya. Her husband, Justin Quayle, a British diplomat, is left to piece together Tessa's secret project.
We go through flashbacks of Tessa and Justin when they first met, a diplomatic party where Tessa is high ranking diplomatics about the pharmaceutical industry in Africa, Tessa researching the rigged trials and testing of a new tuberculosis drug, her life with Justin, etc. along with watching Justin deal with his wife's death end piecing together what she was doing and why she was murdered.
This movie is well filmed in my opinion. Filmed on location both Kenya and Sudan, all the scenes in Kenya and Sudan were authentic. The Kibera slums in Nairobi look like the slums - trash, filth, and everything. Some of the music in the background was by Ayub Ogada from Kenya. You easily make out the words of "Kothbiro" a couple different times throughout the movie. I highly recommend Ayub Ogada's music, by the way.
I did find the movie a bit hard to follow and the device going from flashback to present over and over lent to my difficulty in pulling together the bits and pieces of the mystery as they ever so slowly unfolded. In the final 30 minutes of the movie, the story finally pulls together and we understand why Tessa was murdered. The book is written in much the same manner - so the movie kept true to the book in this respect.
Although the story line is a bit hard to follow I am recommending this movie as the movie is simply very authentic. If you are interested in what things look like in Kenya and how life is lived this is an excellent movie to watch.
You can purchase The Constant Gardener from Amazon.com as well as Ayub Ogada's CD En Mana Kuoyo.
I rented this copy of "The Constant Gardner" from NetFlix.com.