Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton
For those not in the know, Constantine is based on
the comic book series, Hellblazer, which comes from
DC Comics more mature lines of comics under the Vertigo label.
As with most comic-book stories, Constantine has it's
hook: Constantine has the ability to see half-breed demons
and angels that hide behind illusions that normal man can
not see. He goes about performing exorcisms on these wayward
entities, sending them back as a form of penance in hopes
that he may one day be allowed back into heaven. Why you ask?
Well, besides being a complete ass to just about everyone,
Constantine committed suicide but failed to stay dead, which
means when the cancer that's eating away at his lungs finally
kills him, he'll be sent to Hell, a placed filled with demons
awaiting his arrival like prisoners in a jail awaiting a cop
The actual story behind the movie picks up when Detective
Angela Dodson (Weisz) shows up to ask for Constantine's aid.
Her twin sister, who was locked up in a psyche ward because
she told people she had psychic powers, has committed suicide
and Angela believes that, in fact, she was murdered. This
leads both characters into a a series of events which reveal
a deeper, more sinister plot in which the son of the devil
plans to be born on the mortal plain. I would reveal more,
but that would ruin the path in which the story takes for
The story itself proves to be deep enough to be entertaining
without being overbearingly complex. There is more than enough
demon/religion action to keep the theme of the movie rolling
along. Paranormal activities constantly pop up, keeping the
film's mood rolling along without dropping the viewers out
of the story's world. Those looking for something complex
or thought-provoking may come away disappointed as the bulk
of the story stays on a surface level, only dipping down every
once in a while to feign depth.
Acting-wise, the cast gives an all-around solid performance,
though many of characters never really get a chance to be
deeply established. Keanu works well as the cynical anti-hero
and Weisz plays a soulful cop coming to terms with herself
and the world Constantine reveals to her. Most of the secondary
cast is adequate, performing their standard tasks in progressing
the story. I could have done without Shia LaBeouf, who feels
completely tacked-on for the sake of having a wisecracking
sidekick, something Constantine doesn't need. One standout
is Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel, who proves to be a
more interesting and conflicted character as the film progresses.
On a production level, the film has some good ideas that
never get enough fleshing out to really be successful. The
direction and cinematography are good, but they fail to really
make the mood and atmosphere as thick as it could be. The
sequences where characters are drawn into hell prove to be
interesting and show promise, but these are rare.
I would have to say that Constantine is an enjoyable
flick to watch just to kill a few hours. It has enough action
and the story never slows down enough to bog viewers down
with details. While I wish that there had been more depth
and atmosphere in the telling of the story, the film works
in providing some good entertainment.