Nice mythic treatment
Robert J. Crawford | Balmette Talloires, France | 07/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Constantine was as cold as they come: a shrewd and ruthless manipulator of power, he never hesitated to massacre his adversaries without even the appearance of honor or scruple. This portrays him as a heathen with a conscience, who from observation and conviction is converted to Christianity. In the end, according to the film, he established religious tolerance for the first time in the Roman Empire. This is very close to the "official version" - Christianity was in fact persecuted in Rome because it denied others (and esp. the patron gods of the city) any validity whatsoever (afterall, it was monotheistic and messianic). Rome, before Christianity, was one of the most tolerant societies in religion as well as morals that had ever existed to then.
That being said, this a very good dramatic film. You see a Constantine who struggles both within himself and against psychopathic seekers of power. His righthand man, Hadrian, falls for a Christian girl, and is converted. Constantine resolved a great personal conflict that defined his life, which is a spoiler if revealed in detail, and receives a religious vision that enables him to win an unlikely victory.
While I disagree with the historical perspective, this really is a fun film. And it is stimulating: my kids were asking lots of questions, always a good sign.