7 September 2008 | jamesfilmore
I take issue with my fellow reviewer, who complained about the movie being "in your face." While the film lacks a certain subtlety, that doesn't change the fact that a sad majority of modern moviegoers don't get what a film is trying to say unless it spells everything out to them in alphabetical order. Go subtle and everyone misses the boat, and they scratch their heads and wonder just what in the world they spent the last two hours watching. What's the value in that? Moreover, harping so hard on the film's mode of presentation implies that the theme of a movie is subordinate to its form, when in fact it should be the other way around. It's one thing to tell a good story, to make it flashy and tastefully packaged, and quite another to give it something to rest on; an idea that's perfectly timed, perfectly handled, perfectly memorable.
Thematically speaking, "Gardener of Eden" is powerful in the extreme. Amidst a nation gone wild over terrorism, war, and global disaster, the movie takes a step back and reminds us that the greatest threats to society are, and always will be, domestic; that as long as drug dealers can set up operations outside of a high school, and as long as the legal structures of society condemn the individuals who try to stand in their way, the problem will remain systemic. It will never go away.
In targeting the extent of this issue this cultural illness, if you will Gardner of Eden offers not only a scathing critique of the apathy at the root of society, but also a rousing call to action for all those inclined. It's moving, poignant, and darkly humorous, and bears many a viewing, a fresh discovery pending with every push of the "play."