The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

CONSTANTINE (2005) ***

Keanu Reeves isn’t blond or British, but he DOES nail the pissed off, seen it all before, Fuck You attitude that are the hallmarks of John Constantine, the hero of DC/Vertigo’s cult comic book, Hellblazer.  

Constantine
can see demons and is destined for Hell for once trying to commit suicide. “I didn’t TRY anything!” In a meager effort to atone for that sin, he becomes an occult detective, performing exorcisms and sending demons back to Hell.  Rachel Weiz is a detective investigating the death of her twin, also played by Weiz.  She seeks Constantine’s help and together they uncover a plot by Mammon, the son of the Devil to come to Earth, by using the Spear of Destiny (the spear that was used to kill Christ on the cross).  Constantine tells her that Hell is here on Earth, you just have to die in order to see it.  The same goes for Heaven too.  (I guess Belinda Carlisle was right, Heaven IS a place on Earth).  Weiz tells him that she doesn’t believe in the Devil.  He tells her, “You should. He believes in you!”  Angels like Gabriel (played by a woman, Tilda Swinton, making one yearn for Christopher Walken in the Prophecy movies) and demons like Balthazar (Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale) try to influence things.  

The plot is a mess, and there are way too many supporting characters, (if the movie’s called Constantine, then Constantine should be in almost every damn scene) but nonetheless the film is visually impressive and there are many great scenes.  Some of the best include an exorcism (when a demon’s face appears in a girl’s neck, Constantine simply punches it), visions of Hell, and a sprinkler system loaded with holy water.  With Shia LeBeouf as Constantine’s sidekick, Peter Stormare as a Brando-esque Lucifer and Djmoun Hounsou as Papa Midnite, a witch doctor club owner.  

Reeves is the reason to watch though.  His morose performance is the best thing about the movie.  When informed he has terminal lung cancer, he lights up a cigarette.  When told that 200 people died in the chair he’s sitting in, he replies, “Yeah”.  When someone asks him to point them in the right direction, he points to the door.  And in the end, he gives the Devil the finger!  In short, get that Oscar ready!  Swinton also played a man in the movie Orlando.  Director Francis Lawrence cut his teeth on music videos.  The first appearance of the character Constantine was in the comic book, Swamp Thing.

Tags: action, c, comic book movie, horror
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