Bill Nighy finds approval

An excerpt from another post from Grumpy Old Bookman, especially for Susan Balée:

"The Constant Gardener

The Sky film in question was The Constant Gardener, adapted from John Le Carre’s novel of the same name. I enjoyed this film, not least because of Bill Nighy, who has a habit of nicking every movie he’s in.

In this case, Nighy had two scenes which I guess were taken pretty much verbatim from the novel. In one, he gives the hero lunch in one of those gentlemen’s clubs which you might have thought had disappeared. In a masterly way, the Nighy character tries to flim-flam our hero, but fails, because the hero is quite smart enough to figure out what’s going on.

In the second scene, Nighy delivers a eulogy at our hero’s funeral in a posh church. This eulogy is, again, a masterpiece of euphemism and lies, of the kind that one has heard all too often, in a certain kind of church, for a certain kind of man.

Le Carre is so good at writing that kind of dialogue or set piece. But then he has, of course, mixed with the kind of people who do that sort of thing in real life."

I did not find the "lunch scene" as convincing as did Michael Allen: I feel that in the modern world of spin,no person in the Bill Nighy character’s position would have written a letter that was so damaging and could potentially be used against him. But of course, I do agree completely that Bill Nighy played the part to perfection, and all-in-all, the film was as good as Mr Allen says (though not as good as the book). Although I don’t hold any particular brief for multinational drug companies, I believe the book/film were far too simplistic and black/white in their treatment of these issues, but taken as a piece of fiction, the story was a good one.

1 thought on “Bill Nighy finds approval

  1. Hi, Maxine– thank you for this! I loved Bill in this, but I found the movie irksome in various ways. I, too, agree about the letter thing (although some pols do very stupid things). What bugged me more was the premise of the movie: That big drug companies would test their products on Africans without their consent and kill them with side effects and that this could be kept a big secret for a long time. I mean, I don’t doubt for a nanosecond that big pharm. companies would do that *if they could*, but there is such as thing as the FDA and its equivalents all over the world. Not to mention the fact that these drug firms are all in competition with each other. Pfizer would be only too happy to discover Rohm Haas doing something like what happens in “Constant Gardener” and they’d have the news out in a flash. Pillory time for the other pill boys!
    Basically, living as I do in the Delaware Valley (the Cradle of Pharmacology, thanks to DuPont, in America) and having a husband who spent years as a faculty member at a medical college, I know how tough it is to get away with something like this. Stupidity rules, but nothing that requires this kind of cunning conspiracy.

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