THE GARDENER

THE GARDENER
2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 19 minutes
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The reasoning behind a gardener (Chris Hill) wanting to become a mortician is somewhat clear. There are some brief connections between both professions. For one, it’s the job of both gardener and mortician to make their work look presentable. One wrong cut or adjustment can cause a flower bed to look like the Manson family stomped through it, and a body looking like a long-senile relative. The gardener, in what appears to be an attempt at dark comedy, finally gets his chance to begin a career as a mortician, but first, the boss (John Klemantaski) wants him to take the hearse and pick up a body, and bring it straight back to the mortuary. Though the question remains: What value does a dead cop’s body have to this guy?

That’s right, a dead cop. And as it so happens, two policemen are looking for any possible information to where the missing cop might be. They don’t know what happened and neither does the gardener for that matter, oblivious to what’s actually in the coffin that’s put in the hearse by two thugs. This is another case of a crime-ridden type hiring what appears to be an innocent enough person to help with an illegal matter. The only problem is that at times, the images seem to exist solely for the shock value. Not many guffaws can be had from this.

For example, a 21st century version of “The Little Rascals” is featured when a group of kids come upon the dead body, poking at it, trying to see if the guy will wake up. As if that wasn’t enough, one of the kids comes up with the idea of featuring the dead body in his driveway, in a box, allowing other kids to look at it for a dollar, and to touch it for five. It almost causes shame just by watching it. Another scene has the white coffin sliding down a sloped street, like a skateboarder cruising down a concrete hill.

There’s not much quirkiness to be found in this type of dead body retrieval and at times, it just feels so by-the-numbers, though a garish color palette sometimes helps out because it’s not often that we see an aspiring mortician sporting overly bright yellow shoes or even smiling widely at a chance that might finally come his way. I’ll give credit for that, but as for the rest, it’s not much to go on.



Posted on June 16, 2004 in Reviews by
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