Film Aesthetics and Analysis
In the film, The Constant Gardener (Meirelles, 2005), the use of editing helps to convey a central theme of uncertainty. Another important theme that arises in the film is justice. Uncertainty progresses into a revealing of truth that leads the protagonist to seek justice. The plot follows a young woman, Tessa (Rachel Weisz), whose murder provokes her husband, Justin (Ralph Fiennes), to explore the corruption of the drug company Tessa was trying to discredit while she was still alive. The cuts in many of the film’s scenes are straight cuts that give the scenes a chopped up feel and further add to the theme of uncertainty. The insert shots as well as the use of flashbacks help to transition to the theme of justice.
During a scene early on in film, it cuts from Tessa, pregnant and elated and holding a gift, to a little Kenyan girl being held by her mother. The shot of the girl being held is only shown for a few seconds, but the viewer has enough time to read the child’s wide-eyed expression. The expression provides an implicit meaning of both wide-eyed innocence as well as vacancy and hopelessness. This shot is symbolic of the way Tessa is feeling in that moment: naive and innocent in hopes that she will be able to rescue the victims of the drug scam, but also vacant and hopeless because of the reality of her circumstances. The viewer is not fully aware of Tessa’s internal struggle until later through the editor’s use of flashbacks. Therefore, the insert shot helps to foreshadow the scenes that follow.
Tessa’s baby as well as the loss of her baby, is metaphorical of her internal struggle that she chose to hide from her husband, Justin; and her pregnancy loss is also foreshadowed through the insert shot of the small Kenyan girl. The girl’s vacant expression is haunting. The juxtaposition, of Tessa pregnant and the lifeless expression of the girl, creates an allusion to the empty life of Tessa’s...
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