The Constant Gardener, Focus Features' new thriller, plays like the grim, dour counterpart to this year's earlier globetrotting adventure film, Sahara. Both films pit socially conscious heroes against rapacious corporations exploiting Africa's poor.
But while Sahara offered jocular summer escapism, Gardener is self-serious, solemn and intricate. Yet it suffers from an identity crisis—it is both a gripping, gritty thriller and a didactic, anti-corporate tract for government intervention and contrarian liberal activism.
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