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"Constantine" is a dark, yet dazzling film. A terrific story backed up
by spectacular special effects and great cinematography pull us into a
dark and dangerous world - a world where half-angels and half-demons
whisper to us mortals as God and Satan use us as pawns in an
apocalyptic game of chess. Cursed with ability too see these spirits,
John Constantine finds himself right in the middle of this showdown.
Keanu Reeves gives a fantastic turn as John Constantine. He infuses Constantine with a grim sense of purpose and dark humor. He is the ultimate anti-hero, and Reeves deftly takes Constantine from being someone we simply root for to someone we actually like and respect.
Rachel Weisz is terrific as well. Her tortured and soulful performance is the best of the film. Shia LaBeouf also blew me away.
I have not read the Hellblazer comics, but standing alone "Constantine" is a great film. This one is a must see!
And I loved it.
I just watched Constantine on PPV, and like all films, it does have its minor flaws, but overall the story was interesting, and the special effects were nothing short of amazing.
Critics have been saying that Keanu Reeves' acting was horrible, but I disagree. Even though I can't deny that this wasn't him at his best, John Constantine is and angry and distant character, so Reeves couldn't display much emotion. All in all, he didn't do too bad.
Rachel Weisz was the star of the movie, giving a heartfelt performance. Gavin Rossdale was good, playing the bad guy card too perfection. And Djimon Housan, and Tilda Swinton were also great in their small roles. Shia LeBlouf, like Reeves, could have done a little better. Peter Stormare was perfect as Satan and my favorite character. He added a bit of humor to his demonic role.
There are some major differences between the comic book Hellblazer and the movie, like John Constantine was supposed to be British and resemble a rocker named Sting. But I've never read the comics, so I can't complain about these contradictions. But it seems to have the Hellblazer fans disappointed.
I do feel I should advise that this movie has nothing to do with Satanism. And to my knowledge, it was religiously correct. Save the part about demons and angels living on earth.
In the end, like I said before, you either love it or hate it. Simple as that.
my rating : 9/10
My first sort-of mistake was going to see Constantine at 11:30 A.M.;
this would have been a much better experience in a nighttime atmosphere
I feel. In fact, I'm thinking about going again this weekend at night.
That being said, I still enjoyed this movie immensely. For starters, I actually thought Keanu was quite good in the role, and it didn't take long to forget drawing comparisons to Neo. I haven't read the comics, but I thought Keanu did a great job with the role... I laughed and winced right along with him, not at him! All the supporting actors (yes, Shia LeBeouf included) were great, and my only issue is that they didn't get enough screen time to explore their characters further. Djimon Hounsou was especially cool as Papa Midnite... with a name like that, how can you not be?! Finally, Rachel Weisz deserves the "better than the movie" comments she's been getting in reviews. Yes, she is that good, and she's pretty foreign to genre work (but should definitely do more)! I can't believe I'd only seen her in About a Boy before this; her magnetism had almost got me to pick up Confidence and Runaway Jury at the video store (which I have not. Yet). For one, she does a damn good American accent - I had forgotten that she's British. I'm sure many other reviewers will put this in better words than me, but she really adds a whole new level to this movie. Her performance is easily the most daring and heartfelt of the bunch, and I'd even go as far to call it subtly exquisite... a phrase I don't hesitate to equate with the actress herself. If Rachel Weisz had not been a part of Constantine I wouldn't have liked it half as much as I did. Even if you're not a Keanu or genre fan, I'd still check this movie out if you (like yours truly ;) have a thing for gorgeous, talented under-the-radar actresses.
Onto special effects. Pretty darn impressive, if you ask me. NEXT! I'm definitely very tempted to check out the Hellblazer comics because I really love the mythology and style of the Constantine universe. I mean, Hell as a parallel dimension to our own world? How cool is that? Certainly less banal than most movie versions of Hell. The story is based around Catholicism, and it's just how I like my organized religion -- all twisted! All in all, Constantine was made up of a lot of things that I really love in my movies: detailed fantasy universe, fun characters, good effects and action, and of course, the vulnerable-but-butt kicking woman. Yay! The major problem with the film, I feel, was bringing all of its elements together. Throughout the film I kept thinking to myself what I would've done differently. There was so much crammed into it that every single character and plot point felt underused and ignored -- not one thing was explored deeply enough for my satisfaction. They should have chosen just a few elements of this complex universe and story arc for this movie and left the other stuff for subsequent Hellblazer flicks (which I hope there will be!).
So basically, the parts here are very interesting and cool and worth a look-see, but the whole just can't service all of them. Which is a damn shame. I left the theatre wanting MORE, wanting to know more about the characters and what living in their universe was like. MORE, darnit!! While Constantine is fun and nice in its own right, I would've really liked to see it expanded to its potential. Oh well! At least there's the fantastic Rachel Weisz, so I can't complain further ;) Last words: I want to see it again! Maybe not buy the DVD but definitely rent it. Oh, and those rumors about an extra (albeit short) scene after the credits are true, so STAY through them!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Keanu Reeves plays the title character in this adaptation of the cult DC/Vertigo comic book called Hellblazer, and while the movie does have its merits, it's not very faithful to the source material that it came from. The movie stars Keanu Reeves as a gumshoe whose specialty is in dealing with the occult. He specialty draws the attention of a police detective played by Rachel Weisz, who asks for his help in her investigation of her twin sister's suicide. A suicide that she thinks that is more than it appears to be. In due time, they both will encounter what lies under the surface of their world which is inhabited by both the angels of heaven and the demons of the underworld who are both fighting their own war for the fate of mankind. The movie is shot beautifully in the way it tries to capture both of the landscapes of good and evil that lives in this film's setting and the special effects does the film justice in its interpretation of hell that looks like an apocalyptic version of downtown Los Angeles, which is the setting of this film by the way. Unfortunately, the script is so unfocused that it hurts what this film trying to accomplish and the dialog itself lacks conviction for the material itself. The climax of the film is a major letdown because it just takes all the serious aspects of the film and just tosses them out in favor of a brief Matrix like a gunfight that undercuts the movie's tone and an incoherent ending that leaves more questions than answers. I'm not as hard as a lot of people are on the acting abilities of Keanu Reeves and he does his role well but his performance lacked something here in this film and it felt more phone in than genuine. Rachel Weisz on the other hand delivers a strong and moving performance that does deliver the goods but you will end up thinking that she is giving more to the film that it deserves because her performance is way too good for this movie. She's so good in fact that if the people who made this film wanted to make a faithful adaptation of the Hellblazer comic book, they could have cast her in the role of Kitt, Constantine's one true love. Now being a casual reader of the comic of whom this film is based on, the character of John Constantine is not well represented in this film and the script makes him look like a shill who wants to redemption which is the polar opposite of who the character is in the comic book who only served himself. The character also had a slick side to him that gave you the impression that he knew more than he let on while the character in the movie is flying by the seat of his pants during the whole film. Plus he relied on his wits to defeat his enemies while the character in the movie has a gadget man who makes him weapons (The brass knuckles scene in the movie is a joke because the John Constantine of the comic book can't handle himself well in a fight). The cancer subplot in the film only serves as a footnote while in the comic book, it had more of an impact and certain characters who show up in the film are just watered down versions of their comic counterparts. The most offensive of these characters is Chaz, who is John Constantine's best friend (and is a grown man with kids) but he is reduced to a street kid who is basically a lap dog for Constantine to pick on. The only character in the film that closely resembles the comic book is Papa Midnight, who's really more of an adversary in the comic than the friend he is in the movie. Judging this movie on it's own merits, It's a passable popcorn movie that has a better than deserved performance by Rachel Weisz. Judging the movie as an adaptation of the comic book, it's a letdown.
I've seen Constantine three times and I enjoy it more each time I watch
it! It is truly well-done and extremely entertaining, and I can
guarantee that if you like horror, suspense and/or fantasy you will
love this movie! Keanu Reeves plays a very cool Constantine, who is a
modern-day exorcist but most certainly not to be confused with a
priest, as he has his issues and a burden of sins from his past that he
carries with him. Constantine is a very realistic and human hero who is
devoid of superpowers but has all the cool gadgets and the kick-ass
attitude needed to survive in a world slowly being invaded by demons
and scheming angels. He meets Angela (Rachel Wiesz) after she loses her
sister, Isabel to the forces of evil. She comes to Constantine in
search of an answer on where Isabel has ended up following her apparent
suicide. Constantine journeys to other realms/dimensions in an attempt
to get those answers, even paying a couple of visits to hell. Needless
to say, with such a plot the special effects, acting, sets, script and
even wardrobe have to be carefully conceived and executed to make it
believable, and they are... in spades.
Constantine achieves what all great movies always do: it takes you into another world that makes you forget everything about your own world the whole time you are watching it. And really, in the end, isn't that what great cinema is all about?
If you are a fan of Keanu Reeves then you'll love this movie. Of
course, he plays a similar character to this other roles but so do most
actors. I believe most actors are merely personalities and Keanu has a
cool one at that.
The special effects were great and there were many picturesque scenes that will leave an imprint on your mind.
Even though I had never read the comic book I really appreciated this movie for it's religious theme. I think anyone can relate to the movie's notions of Heaven and Hell, good and evil.
The movie was funny, had just enough action, cool weapons, and breathtaking scenes. Most importantly, watching it, I easily felt transported into that world.
Great movie overall. I hope there is a sequel.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I got to see this a few months ago at a preview screening and it decent
nothing great but a little disappointing.
Constantine tells the story of a urban sorcerer (Keanu Reeves) who helps a cop (Rachel Weisz) look into her sister's death which was cause by supernatural forces that is trying to steal souls and cause a war on earth. They both must stop an evil that not only threatens their safety but the fabric of the boarders of hell itself, which threatens to break wide open. It's a decent movie with some pretty good effects but it's hindered by a couple of glaring problems. One of them is in fact Keanu Reeves and if you call his range as an actor a series of glum expressions and moments of him staring into space for no reason at all, than you pretty much got him nailed. The character he plays is just as bewildering as Keanu Reeves himself and is in fact the most underdeveloped character in the entire film.
Which leads to the next glaring problem, which is the fact that you don't really give a crap about his character. His character is really an asshole that does not treat people well and abuses himself to the point of death. The funny part of all of this (and the part that make absolutely no sense once you really think about it) is that he wants redemption and is willing to put himself in jeopardy in order to secure a spot for him in heaven, despite the fact that he still does not treat himself or others well. Even with the knowledge that he's not good health does not make you care about him and that's a real testament on how much of an asshole the character is in this film. Now I can understand the reason why the people who made this film wanted to have a character like John Constantine in it. People always love the reluctant hero, who is sometimes very shady and is not always thinking of others best interest but himself. But when he's needed, he always does the right thing when it matters the most. You know whom I mean, the Han Solos or the Captain Jack Sparrows that make the movie much more interesting than it is. Now the big difference between those characters and the character of John Constantine is the fact that you do see their humanity despite how shady they seem and you still want to spend more time with them regardless of their faults. On top of that, you had actors who knew how to show you those things when they needed to be shown and give you a reason to believe in their characters despite of their short comings. Keanu Reeves on the other hand fails miserably in doing that because he does not have it in him to pull it off and the fact that the script itself does not show any humanity in the character is a big problem all in itself. Another problem this movie has is the fact that the story is really something we have all seen before on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with all the demons and half breeds that populate that show, but in a much bigger scale and with better special effects. The story is much more than an episode of that show but it still is in the same ballpark. There are some good things to say about the movie that does kind of outweigh the bad. Rachel Weisz's performance as the cop and her doom twin sister is much better than the film itself and much more realistic than the actual story. You really do root for her and hope she does overcomes the problems she's facing, which is a blessing when you think about it because of how much of a drag Keanu Reeve's character is to the film itself. The worlds of heaven and hell itself in also pretty interesting, giving you the impression of how close they are to themselves and of the actual world that we live in. There is a scene that has Constantine trying to get a demon out of a little girl that is a little scary and some of the demons do look creepy enough to give you a brief pause when you look at them, so it does have a good scare or two in the film but it's really an action flick with supernatural elements thrown in for effect.
The twist in the ending is pretty inventive but typical when it involves the lead character doing something noble for a change.
To put it all in perspective. It's decent for what it is but with Keanu playing a character as befuddled as he is as an actor, the movie is only held together by the great performance of Rachel Weisz and a few good scares that are few and far between.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Keanu Reeves plays John Constantine, a PI who dabbles in the
supernatural. He does routine exorcisms and fights demons that try to
enter our world. His reputation draws the attention of detective Angela
Dodson, who is played by Rachel Weisz. She needs his help to solve the
apparent suicide of her twin sister Isabell, who jump to her death
while she was locked up in a mental hospital. Angela does not believe
her sister would commit such an act because of their religious
upbringing and thinks that there is something more going on than it
seems. So like the rabbit from Alice in wonderland. Reeves takes the
Detective on a wild ride though his seedy world. Which involves a man
made up of bugs, demons that fly at you, an annoying smart mouth street
kid and angels with secrets of their own. Which in fact all leads to a
climax that involves the devil himself and a battle for a lost soul. If
you kind of recognize the story, you would be right on the money. It's
lifted from The Prophecy films, which stared Christopher Walken. Only
this time with a bigger budget and a better cast at its disposal. (With
out the great Christopher Walken himself of course but his character is
in the film, HINT, HINT) The acting is good, particularly because it
has a game cast willing to go with what ever is going on with the
script. Unfortunately, not everyone gives their best and it leaves the
others to pick up the slack for them. Keanu Reeves is one of the actors
who don't really give a hundred percent with his performance. Yes, I
know I'm talking about Keanu Reeves of all people but he's not his
usual self in this movie. His character is basically a miserable human
being during the course of the entire film and you don't understand on
why would anyone even want to be bothered with him. Yes, he's the lead
and he is playing a kind of rouge heroic character but he does not even
have a likable side to him. You end up wishing that your able to know
the other characters more than you get to know him. One of those
characters is The police Detective played by Rachel Weisz, who not only
bring a sense of steely determination and strong will to the role but
also is a much better lead character than Keanu is. You actually care
about her while you really don't care about Constantine or what is
happen inside of him. The other interesting character in the film is
Papa Midnight who is played by Djimon Hounsou, a demon hunter like
Constantine himself but with a lot more charm and personally. I would
have rather seen more of him than Keanu Reeves as well but he's only in
the film for about fifteen minutes. Chaz, the street kid is just too
annoying for words and is really only there to (I will not spoiled that
for you, you have to see it to believe it). There is an Angel/ Demon
called Balthazar, who is actually a real hoot and does give the film a
real presence of evil in it. The angel Gabriel is in it as well but if
you have seen the Prophecy films, you know what purpose he/she has (Big
hint, Christopher Walken) and the devil himself comes in the last ten
minutes of the film to cause a little havoc for our heroes.
The movie has it's up and downs in other aspects as well. The script in a sense does not know what it wants to be from time to time and the dialog is not really well done in some of the scenes in the film. The cinematography is very well done in portraying the grim aspects of the Los Angeles but it's too dark in some places and it seems to me that it was done that way in order to hide some of the special effects, which are not too shabby but not as well done as one might have hoped.
All in all, a decent film saved by the game performances of Weisz, Hounsou and the guy from Bush but you will get a sense of seeing this film before.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw a press screening of Constantine a few nights ago in a screening
room up here in Seattle and I have to say that the movie was a letdown.
It tries to be a mixture of horror, suspends and action but it just
ends up very incoherent in it's narrative and you just lose patience
with it after while. Keanu Reeves is an OK actor but he's just going
through the motions here and it shows by the glaring similarities it
has to his work in the Matrix movies. It leaves you wondering on why
he's even in the film in the first place because his character really
adds nothing to the story other than the ridiculous climax where he
turns the movie into a poor Matrix montage with him shooting up a
hospital full of demons. Rachel Weisz on the other hand manages to give
a very strong and realistic performance that could been used in a much
better and serious film and Djmon Hounsou is decent in a glorified
cameo that really does not use his talents to it's full potential. Shia
LaBeouf is doing his lame and very unfunny slapstick to the hill and
Satan himself looked like he just came from a lounge act in Vegas. The
worse served by all of this is Tilda Swinton, who perhaps has the worse
character in the entire film. A character that is not in the movie much
in the first place but has a significant role in derailing the last act
of the film with a plot twist that absolutely makes no sense at all. I
do have to say that the special effects were pretty good and the hell
dimension had it's charm but nether of them can compensate for a bad
script that not only has some really bad dialog that makes some of the
scenes in the film unintentional funny but has a plot development that
makes no sense what so ever and has nothing to do with the story as a
My heart goes out to Rachel Weisz, Djmon Hounsou and to a lesser degree Tilda Swinton for at least giving good performances that respect the audience but regardless of their grand efforts, this still remains a Keanu Reeves film and it's not very good.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Keanu Reeves plays John Constantine, a cross between Same Spade and Repairman Jack from the F. Paul Wilson novels. He deals with all kinds of supernatural occurrences all around Los Angeles. He builds a kind of reputation that is only heard in whispers and rumors and he's quite known for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Enter Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) who needs his help with the mysterious suicide of her twin sister who jump off the roof of the mental hospital she was staying in. She believes that there is more to it than it seems and wants Constantine to help her figure it out. So they both embark on a investigation that includes half breed demons strait out of episodes of Buffy and Angel, angels that look way too asexual for words and the devil himself, who looks like he just got back from gambling trip in Atlantic City. Now if you think that I'm being a tad over the top in my plot summery, think again. I'm actually being way too kind. Now it's very hard to start off with the good parts of the film with out addressing the very bad parts of it first and that's Keanu Reeves himself. I do think that he's a good actor with some promise but he's miscast in this role as a hardboiled and cynical private eye with supernatural connections and his sour face demeanor does not help him out with his character at all. There is a subplot that involves that his heath adds nothing to the overall story at all and his character borders between self important idiot to whiney bastard that cries to god when he does not get his way. His transformation into his Neo persona during the last act of the film takes away a lot from what the movie was supposed to be all about and just turns it into a sad parody of itself. The screenplay feels like a hack job in some places and some characters don't really serve a purpose at all other than to be killed off or to just be a part of the scenery. Some character don't really need to be in the movie at all like the character of Chaz played by Shia LaBeouf, who really adds nothing to the movie other than to be a really bad side kick to our sour faced hero and the angel Gabriel who is played by Tilda Swinton, who for starters is only in the film for about ten minutes and really adds nothing to it other than to have a really bad scene with John Constantine that will make you sit up and take notice on how bad this film really is and the last act, where her character is a part of one of the most stupid plot revelations in recent movies (it involves the devil, who is dressed like a pool hall gambler from Atlantic City.) I don't hold Tilda Swinton, responsible for this (she is a very good actress) as much as I hold the screenwriters who wrote her role because we don't really know enough about her character to be surprise with the sudden turn around that she does in the last act of the film. The screenplay itself feels like it does not know what it wants to be from time to time, switching it's tone from dark horror drama to dumb down action movie in the last fifteen minutes of the film and some of the dialog is so badly written that you are grinning your teeth to the bone when you hear it. While there are a lot of bad in this film, there are some bright spots that make the film somewhat bearable to sit though. The best of these is the performance of Rachel Weisz, which is literally holding this film together by a thin and dangling thread. She gives this movie something the script should have giving it and that something is called class. Her performance is gripping and soul searching and its what the film really should have been about if you had serious people behind scenes making it. Which is too bad because the movie would have worked much better as a standard supernatural thriller with just her character in it instead of the mind numbing mess that is presented to us here. Djmon Hounsou is great as well but he's not really in the movie much at all and his character is really just there for camp effect, not substance. The special effects are cool for what they are and they do have a visual impact but not even that is strong enough to make you forget how cheesy the film is after it ends.
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