Whoever has watched “City of God” would agree that the Brazilian director, Fernando Meirelles, is anything but mainstream.
Then we heard the plot line and review of the new movie “Constant Gardener”, positioned to be an international blockbuster. It was nothing but mainstream: John Le CarrÃ©’s best seller spy novel, today’s Kenya, Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, pharmaceutical Company, the poor, the rich, conspiracy theory, murder, revenge…
So how did the two look together?
The movie started rather slow, but I saw traces of Meirelles in the unusual rich palette, colorful background faded out like an oil painting–strike of blue and green; interesting camera angle and motion; a lighthearted love scene conjured together in clean lines and high contrast.
Just traces of him, made me wondering whether this would turn out to be another mistake. Another disappointment in the makingâ€¦
Then came Africa, the ghetto of Kenya, living along the train track, and suddenly the camera and music and Meirelles were all came to live, they were lashing out with full force, alive, passionate, color, heat, rhythm. As an audience, I could feel the joy of the light, the liveliness of every smile, raw and simple.
Then we came back to the main story line, everything suddenly went back to the dead quiet. All that life, which was there a minute ago, suddenly was drained away. I could almost hear the sucking sound.
To be fair, Meirelles did a marvelous job, telling a mainstream story the mainstream way. And to be honest, I loved the story. I loved Ralph Fiennes. But it was so plain for all to see, Meirellesâ€™ heart was not in it. This was not the story he wanted to tell. Or more precisely, this was not the angle of the story that he wanted to tell from. He would have been so much better if he could tell the story from within, from the heart of Africa, from the heart of the ghetto of Kenya. Rather than what he was given, to tell the story as an outsider, as a few white men and a white woman.
That said, oh, how I love the story.
I love the love story in the story. I love the subtleties of the doubt Justin had about Tesa, despite that he still loved her, and in that love he suffered so. He doubted her because he doubted himself. His insecurity and his ordinariness seemed so pale and feeble alongside the glamorous and passionate Tesa. In this world, is there a couple that loves each other mutually and confidently in equal share? Or is there always one that suffers the evil of insecurity?
Only in her death, he found out that she loved him truly, fully, and honestly. He felt guilty because he had doubted her but she never him. He continued to finish what she left behind, initially out of guilt, latter out of his own motivation.
It was not a feel good movie. Thanks to Meirelles. The ending made us all feel sick in our hearts. Like one viewerâ€™s comment on yahoo movies.
I work for a pharmaceutical Company. Though others would tell me that posting something like this would be irresponsible, I’ve seen enough to know the quiet truth…In places we don’t dig deep enough to compel ourselves to accountability.
This film asks us to query what we do and who we are. It more importantly asks that we, in the West, search the importance of what we overlook.
A Quiet Truth
Iâ€™m in doubt whether this will make as much money as the preview positioned the movie to be. Mainstream audiences donâ€™t like to pay money to feel bad about themselves. But I hope this movie will make enough money for Meirelles, so he could go back to make the movies he wanted to make. Let a lion run wild, donâ€™t tame him, please.