What’s up, I’m dos Santos, and this is Ulven Reviews: movies and series from all over the world and all eras. Today let’s talk about Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit as part of the Oscars Badge Series. The movie was released in 2005 and directed by Steve Box and Nick Park.
Justin Quayle (played by Ralph Fiennes) is a dull British diplomat in Kenya, where he lives with his wife, Tessa (played by Rachel Weisz), an outgoing and energetic human rights activist.
One day Tessa is found brutalized, raped, and murdered. The theory is that she and her friend and local doctor, Arnold Bluhm (played by Hubert Koundé), went to a distant hotel to some extramarital fuck, and something happened on their way back. Bluhm is still missing.
However, Justin starts to suspect the official investigation and decides to do his own, and won’t stop until he gets to the bottom of it.
The Constant Gardener! I like it much more than I thought I would. I remember people saying this movie was boring, I didn’t find it boring at all, and the way the story is laid out to us is marvelous.
Tessa dies very early on, and her story is told by flashbacks. A lot of the things we discover through the lens of Justin, as he’s discovering things by himself during his investigation.
And other things that we see reinforce our conceptions about the situation, for example, everything led us to believe that Tessa is in an unhappy marriage. Well, I would be unhappy if I was married to that boring motherfucker. Later we realized that was not the whole picture.
That’s just one example. What I’m trying to demonstrate is that this type of storytelling led to many nice surprises. A story that seems very straightforward in the beginning, reveals much more, many layers and despite these many layers and a lot of conspiracies, I didn’t find the film convoluted in any way.
That being said, sometimes I got distracted by some dialogue. Too much talking, with some exposition thrown in the middle, it gets to a point you’re just not paying attention anymore, you’re distracted with something else. Maybe that’s what some people meant when they said the movie was boring.
Another problem I have is how the African people are portrayed. With the exception of Dr. Bluhm, everyone else are servants or extras.
By the way, the actor who played Dr. Bluhm, Hubert Koundé, is not even African, he’s actually french of Beninese descent. You could argue that Benin is Africa, but, well, it’s not Kenya, is it?! Anyway, I’m not trying to shit on the guy, he did a good job I like him.
But still talking about Kenya. I recently began to read the Italian historian and philosopher Domenico Losurdo and one of his concepts is that in liberalism, some countries treat others (especially those in the global south) as children, who can’t walk with their own legs, and need the quote-unquote developed as a guide. A good example of this is the recent developments in Afghanistan or the political and environmental crisis in Haiti.
I have to read more about these issues, and later… much later… when I have a reasonable comprehension of the topic, I get back and do an analysis of this movie only through this perspective.
What I can say now is that the movie reinforces the stereotype of a nation that needs other nations to take care of it. Like its own people can do it on its own.
This is particularly funny considering Fernando Meirelles is Brazilian. Brazil surfers with imperialism as much as every other nation of the peripheral capitalism.
We only have superpowers like The United States, France, and Britain because of the impoverishment of India, Kenya, and Brazil and vice versa, by the way.
I kind of like Fernando Meirelles, but this movie makes me wanna re-evaluate all the other movies I have watched from him, only to see what I might have missed.
Moving on, I like the characters. The only one who is lacking a little is Justin. In the beginning, as I said, he is boring, but with time he improves a lot and finishes it perfectly.
Tessa Quayle is an outstanding character! Ambiguous, and much more active than her partner, she’s just amazing. I love the ambiguity, by the way, it was really well delivered.
Another one I would like to mention is Arthur Hammond (played by Richard McCabe). He’s Tessa’s lawyer and a very nice comic relief.
The performances are top-notch, of course, and Rachel Weisz is perfection in every single scene she’s in. I really believe the academy award she got was well deserved.
Since I don’t remember shit about the score, I’ll finish it with the cinematography.
I would dare to say this is by far the worst cinematography I have ever seen in a mainstream movie in my entire life. I hate it with all my soul.
The colors are just awful. The disgusting blue and yellow filters, what the fuck! The lighting is way too bright. We get it Kenya is sunny, England is cloudy, you don’t need to overdo it to demonstrate it.
The camera is always shaking, and shaking a lot! And even when it doesn’t make any sense. It’s not like he’s shaking in an action scene, it shakes just walking on the sidewalk.
There are moments when they try to make something fancy with the camera work, and it just doesn’t work at all. The moment I realized it the most, is when some boy is entering a store (I think it could be a barbershop), so they use the mirror and the camera slowly going around, in a way that caused disorientation without any reason whatsoever.
I dislike it. I think the cinematography is by far the worst point of the movie.
The Constant Gardener has a solid story, an intriguing mystery. It fails in some aspects, like the cinematography, but has many more qualities, like the acting. In summary, I think the pros really overcome the cons. So, I’ll give the constant gardener 8 Moons!
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Thanks for watching see you in the next video.