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yea for sure one of my favorites . gotta love a cryptic keanu reeves lol
this is probably my all time favorite show... it's so unique in what it is. and was such a surprise when it arrived I just can't let it go.
This movie is very unique. Entertaining too
love this movie it is one of my favorites
There was some surprising humor with this film. Good cast, story and dialog. Yes, I would watch a second movie of this - as long as the same director, writer and cast was used, to keep the integrity of the film.
I would love to see a second movie with this theme or even a continuation or as Hollywood is now, a prequel.
This is a great film and very much deserves a second or even a Saga. It's worth a re-watch.
Constantine



Amazingly, what I feared the most, Constantine smartly avoids by never becoming an overblown special effects extravaganza, even in its not particularly low-key, but preferably plot-oriented climax. The film creates an epic world based in a Heaven/Hell concept that I found very fun and even thought-provoking. The film incorporates the idea of eternity in Hell into the story almost as a plot device, but more so as the film's stand-out special effect, leading to a successful increase in pure storytelling drama. Constantine's depiction of Hell as a windy, fiercely red, destroyed landscape is a little traditional, but still effective.

Unfortunately, although much of the foundation is very sturdy, the plot itself just barely gets liftoff. Before the characters' lives intertwine, there's an odd displacement effect that only strengthens when the story really gets going. The plot is vague, mostly because the story is too back-loaded. Characters often say dumb things that based on what we know they know, just come off as irrational. Also, thankfully, the little love connection between Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz is not taken to sickeningly sweet heights, but when forced like this, it, of course, should not have been included at all.

Reeves is his usual okay-to-terrible self (I was only reminded of The Matrix once) and Weisz's performance is ultimately a non-issue, as it gets the job done, but is not noteworthy. There were a few surprises (for me, anyway) in terms of the cast as I watched; Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare, Shia LaBeouf, and Djimon Hounson were all welcome additions to the movie. Additionally, there's Gavin Rossdale (!) as Balthazar, odd casting, but it's a small enough role that it's not too distracting.

Constantine makes strong statements and happily takes positions on God and the Devil's rationale for Heaven, Hell, angels, and demons, presenting the world as we know it as merely a game. It's the latter conceit that makes the grand scheme (which I will not reveal) of our main baddie, in the context of the movie, almost seem like a good idea. The value of life seems to be exceptionally low here and works against the importance of what our characters are trying to do. It's unexpected lapses in logic like this, which if improved upon, could have turned Constantine into something truly divine.

Note: For those of you who like to see a movie in its entirety, there is a one-minute scene after the end credits.
See CONSTANTINE in the cinema of your mind so you don't have to pay for it.

Just what the hell is producer Di Bonaventura thinking not to mention Lauren Shuler Donner? That's the problem. They weren't.

CONSTANTINE represents everything to be reviled in thriller/horror projects these days: the patronizing of audiences around the world with insipid concepts that have been visited and revisited dozens of times over in ooze of "Buffy" episodes.

First the producers hire Frank Cappello to pen the script. Frank Cappello, scribe of SUBURBAN COMMANDO! Frank Cappello, director of direct-to-video AMERICAN YAKUZA! A person, who I'm sure is a very nice man, but who has no business on God's green Earth adapting Hellblazer into a feature film.

It just boogles the mind. This is Di Bonaventura's first project out of his Warner Bros. shingle.

This slice of mediocrity.

What an enormous opportunity he missed -- CONSTANTINE could have been the start of a brilliant franchise, one developed and marketed for mature audiences. Ah, but what's the point? I don't work for Warner and I imagine they had their reasons for making this film stink to high heaven.

The casting of Keanu Reeves is purely for marketing purposes, no brainer there. Unfortunately, it shows. The film does not reveal so much plot as it does product placement -- and, well, Reeves is the product.

As for what little meat hangs from this marrow-depleted spine of a story: I am sworn to withhold spoilers, but John Constantine is bidden by a detective (Rachel Weisz's eponymous "Angela"; please where did Cappello think that one up?!) to uncover the truth behind a mysterious murder.

I will submit the first twenty minutes were sharp and well crafted. My God, I thought, could it be possible Warner is actually trying to create something truly interesting? Is this the new MATRIX?

Um, no. No, definitely not.

By the second act, the plot falls apart. The third act is ridiculous and hackneyed, the dialogue reproachable.

Don't get me wrong -- I love horror. I love thrillers. But I'm sick to death of said films that involve God and the Devil. Booooooring. An enormous wealth of myth, legend, folklore, and occult reference material exists, besides nearly fifteen years of Hellblazer graphic novels.

I'm not a comic book purist (well, not for the most part), but, as a film, CONSTANTINE disappoints.

My advice: Rent ANGEL HEART instead. Now that's a Constantine film.

One small note: As the production branding fades in and out of the screen (WB logo, Village Roadshow logo) a new logo emerges, one I know all too well -- DC Vertigo Comics. This is the first time Warner Bros. has given a branded nod to their subsidiary DC Comics and it speaks volumes. Be on the look out for more Vertigo branded films in the near future.



P.S. Apparently Reeves wants to do a sequel. Fine, but one would hope the powers-that-be at DC Comics would attempt to exert what little influence they have and push for a proven scribe.
Aside from the fact that Keanu Reeves (he of the puppet lineage, all wooden--albeit darn purty--face and sad dearth of acting talent) plays the title character, I was always predisposed to liking Constantine, or at least finding it to be a guilty pleasure. Not that I've read the comics, which I gather is already a point in my favour. No, I got to appreciate the movie on its own merits, with little to no knowledge of Constantine the character except brief glimpses of him in the Sandman chronicles. It was the concept that hooked me from the start: the continual waging of war between heaven and hell, for the souls of all mankind, made real and immediate when demons start bleeding into the human world. As the darkest creatures begin to manifest, John Constantine, himself a slightly psychic bloke with one eye on heaven but two feet firmly planted in hell (or so he thinks), hunts out and exorcises the half-breeds as he calls them--otherworldly beings, more frequently demons but also angels, who stalk the world trying to maintain 'balance' between Good and Evil--those who've gone astray. Before long, he's swept into a roiling battle as the literal spawn of Satan makes a bid to jump across the boundary, from Hell into earth, that also involves Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz), an apparently no-nonsense police detective who's trying to sniff out the murder behind her twin sister Isabel's apparent suicide.

Yes, it's a big, complex world, one that's very delightfully, intricately brought to life by surprisingly effective first-time director Francis Lawrence. Constantine's world is dark, brooding and full of nasty surprises and pregnant pauses, and Lawrence milks this for all it's worth. He provides the audience with a rousing first five minutes, as a discomfortingly serendipitous find leads to a heart-slamming car crash, then proceeds to be utterly unsettling in the rest of the movie, layering in freaky shots of a man eaten inside out by bugs, or with potential stomach- or throat-buster scenes reminscent of Alien. With dizzyingly long camera shots, and a dash of hard-boiled style, Lawrence masterfully creates an atmosphere of high-strung suspense and simmering horror, as the demon John exorcises from a little girl slams violently into a waiting mirror and struggles to break free, or as the demons flit past John's windows and launch a stealth attack in the dark ("Wings", John notes, "and maybe talons").

Perhaps the movie's plot is a little loose; certainly at the end, the tightly wound script unravels slightly when John makes his final desperate bid and calls up Lucifer himself. It's a tricky scene to play, that, and for a movie that's so tightly-plotted around its main character's cynicism, doesn't quite ring true when John finally makes his last request. Thankfully, the movie never completely loses the dark style and wry humour that keeps it from being just another empty-headed cash cow: John's almost-final parting shot to Lucifer is hilarious, in the vein of sly little dialogue exchanges or set-pieces. Particularly memorable is John's move to perform the final rites for a quaking Balthazar, or even the audience's first glimpse of dark angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), whose "You're fucked" is the last thing you'd ever expect to hear out of an angel's mouth. And some of the funniest scenes didn't even require dialogue: as John sits in Angela's apartment, feet in a basin of water and cat on his lap, he doesn't look like cool-exorcist-dude so much as crazy-old-lady. Lawrence almost lovingly trains his camera on Reeves in this scene, to great, humourous effect.

Some last words on the casting: I wasn't expecting much, which might explain why I was so pleasantly surprised. Although Reeves' ability to act is still in doubt, one has to admit that he sure knows how to pick his roles and play to his strengths. John, like Neo in The Matrix, requires a minimal amount of emoting, and a lot of doing cool stuff and looking like a fucking action hero in hell and beyond. That stuff Reeves is good at, and I thought he was even quite powerful in a scene with Weisz, where he yells at her Angela, over and over, to try to see what Isabel wanted her to see. This is probably also Weisz's strongest performance in a long while; she's both charming and kickass as Angela, and never falters in bandying about some innuendo with Reeves, or cocking her gun and heading out in search of danger. Swinton also acquits herself well in the role of Gabriel, a difficult character to play under the best of circumstances, given the need for a perpetual celestial glow, but made far more interesting and complex in this movie. That Swinton pulls off both mysterious angel and crazed kook with such aplomb is really to her credit.

Perfect? Far from it. But it's certainly one of the most unrelentingly bang-up entertaining movies I've seen this year, and a surprisingly thought-provoking one too. Oh yeah: do yourself a favour and stay 'til the end of the credits...