View Full Version : Film Review : The Constant Gardener

24-11-06, 10:43
I watched the Constant Gardener (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Constant_Gardner) yesterday and I have to say that I disagree with the message of the story. I don't know what kind of propaganda that is, but it is wrong.

The story is about a British diplomat in Kenya who finds his wife raped and murdered, and and her doctor friend tortured to death. His investigation lead him to two pharmaceutical companies, one manufacturing Tuberculosis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuberculosis) medicines, and the other testing it under cover of AIDS medicine (as you may know HIV-infected people are easily infected with TB). According to the movie a new strain of TB was going to cause a new world pandemic and wipe out 1/3 of the humanity (2 billions of people). I don't know if there is indeed such concerns, but what is sure is that TB kills millions of people each year. Back to the movie, the testings were supposed to make the new medicine ready 2 to 3 years earlier than if it had to be tested in laboratories, and thus could have saved millions (billions ?) of lives.

In short, the British diplomat's wife wanted to denounce these testing on seropositive and TB-infected people, because the medicine wasn't ready yet and could in some cases lead to the death of the patient. However, these patients were condemned to a certain death within weeks or months, including a lot of suffering. Being too poor to afford any treatment of their own, they received free medicines from charity organisations. The movie basically denounces this practice of testing medicine on people who are certain to die if they are not treated, and this is what I don't understand, because (citing from the movie) the new medicine does cure TB but the formula isn't completely right yet so there is a risk of fatality.

My question is, which is better for those people ? Receive a free treatment that may cure them or kill them, or not receive any treatment at all and die anyway ?
At least they are helping millions of others, maybe their family, friends or compatriots, as TB is most prevalent in Africa nowadays. I think these people should be seen as some kinds of heroes and not as the victims of some corporate plots.

What shocked me most in the movie is that the British government and this Swiss-Canadian pharmaceutical firms would murder healthy and useful people, such as diplomats and doctors, just because they wanted to make a scandal by denouncing the testings. I am pretty sure that this is just a stratagem of John le Carré, the author of the novel, to make the readers/audience feel like the pharmaceutical company is immoral and unscrupulous. Hadn't resorted to contract killers to silence their critics, I suppose that most of the audience, like me, would have seen the testing as necessary to save millions of lives, and not immoral because they did help some people, or at worst equated to mercy killing on terminally ill people. The fact that the diplomat's wife was raped and her body mutilated after her murder is only meant to make us feel like the pharmaceutical company is evil. This is mass brainwashing and I find it more immoral than pharmaceutical companies trying to save millions of lives, even through not entirely orthodox practices. Maybe is it just that John le Carré is an ennemy of progress, sciences and humanity ?

29-03-11, 18:09
i liked this movie. i think it really shows how some corporations from rich countries are behaving in africa.

btw, the director (fernando meirelles) studied about the issue before making the movie. this was not propaganda, this was an honest film.