Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer graphic novels and written by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, Constantine tells the story of John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a man who has literally been to hell and back. When ... more »he teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldly events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost.« less
Not Faithful to It's Source, But Pretty Darn Good Regardless
John D. Knox | New York City | 02/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Constantine' is based on the D.C./Vertigo title 'Hellblazer', which is excellent. Rather than compare the two, I'll just rate it as a movie: John Constantine, who has managed to get himself locked out of Heaven and is so wanted by Hell that Kucifer himself refers to Constantine as the only soul he'd come up personally to get. You had to have done some serious wrongs to the devil in order to get that sort of attention. But the movie itself is pretty straightfoward - stop the devil's son from being born on Earth, or we'll all suffer for it. It's in the details that this film is a little different than the rest. It's got some new mythologies we haven't heard before, some new tricks and some pretty cool villians (not all of whom are from Hell or Earth). As an added bonus you manage to feel something even for the ancillary characters, which is a fun bonus. Very nice F/X, especially Hell. Most of the acting is pretty goo, especially the character of Gabriel. Keanu is fine, even if he isn't British. It's worth the admission."
Flawed, with Flashes of Brilliance
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 07/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dreadfully flawed and with a muddled story line, "Constantine" is nevertheless worth watching, for its occasional profound and intense beauty, and its visions of hell and its denizens, which anyone who believes that forces of evil exist and influence our world will find fascinating. Loosely based on characters from the Hellblazer comics, the script is very interesting in parts, but the audio is abysmal. The dialog sounds as if it is coming from an underwater tunnel, and I had to watch the film with subtitles. Also, this is a film that begs to be seen several times, to make some sense of the muddle.
The cast is excellent, and I have always been partial to Keanu Reeves, who as John Constantine, a man dying of lung cancer, who can see, and has walked beyond this dimension, is very good in his own peculiar way. I can't imagine anyone else of his generation playing the part. As he says of the cat in the film, he's "half in, half out," and Reeves also has that quality, of being in the world, but not quite of it. Rachel Weisz, who teamed with Reeves in the far less interesting 1996 "Chain Reaction," is both Angela, a Los Angeles detective, and her twin sister Isabel. She looks gorgeous, and gives a sensitive, lovely performance. Others in the cast that stand out are Tilda Swinton as Gabriel, and Shia LaBeouf, as Chas, Constantine's eager apprentice.
This is the feature directorial debut of Francis Lawrence, who has previously done music videos, and he certainly has an eye for bizarre imagery. The cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is terrific, and much of what is worthwhile in this film is due to him. It is hard to rate this film, as it is, like the battle of good and evil in the story, a mixture of opposites. Total running time is 121 minutes, it is rated R for "violence and demonic images," but is comparatively mild in language and has no in-between the sheets action. The DVD extra is 18 minutes of deleted scenes. "
More clever and intellectually stimulating than exciting, bu
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 08/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I missed "Constantine" in theaters and thus looked forward to discovering for the first time via home viewing a quality motion picture adaptation of a popular comic book character. And, in the end, I did enjoy the film. Just be warned that it isn't like the "Spider-Man" movies. Unlike those earlier films, "Constantine" is more interesting and intellectually stimulating than exciting.
In particular, I enjoyed the film's somewhat subversive vision that the goals and objectives emanating from Heaven and Hell are sometimes laced with the same base political motivations that are often the springboards for the official positions held by powerful organizations here on Earth. I liked how the bad guys could be charming and somewhat sympathetic despite their Hellish origins, and how the holy characters (I'm mostly thinking of Tilda Swinton's Angel Gabriel character here) can come up with questionable and truly bizarre plans to rid the Earth of evil, even if it means something close to apocalypse has to result in the meantime.
The film skillfully mixes several genres and flavors (horror movie, detective thriller, and romance story among them), which successfully results in an entertaining whole. It's just not a wildly entertaining whole, and you'll probably have more fun disecting the movie with a friend afterward over a beer than you did when you were watching it.
I bought the two-disc special edition, and the extras on the second disc are very well done. In fact, if you don't know much about the Constantine character beforehand it's perfectly safe to watch the first couple of featurettes on the second disc before you watch the movie; they discuss the comic book origins of the character and the goals the film makers had in adapting the character to the screen. These featurettes don't give away any major plot points and may make it easier to appreciate the film a little more when you watch it. As a John Constantine novice I wished that I had watched those extra features first; I would have gotten more out of my first viewing of the movie.
Still, I enjoyed "Constantine". After all, one has to have a soft spot for a movie that suggests that even death isn't an escape from the mundane bureaucracies of daily life, that one just trades dull rules and regulations administered by earthbound bureaucrats with mundane rules and regulations administered by angels and demons. That whole riff was pretty funny, actually."
DIRTY HARRY OF THE SPIRIT WORLD
Jeff Howard | South Dakota | 02/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having never read the HELLBLAZER comic book I can't say whether the film is true to the source material on or not. But as a stand alone action/horror film, I highly recommend this movie to fans of both genres. Highly imaginative with spectacular visuals and an actual plot I can't understand anyone that trashes it. So what if Keaunu doesn't have blond hair in the film? He comes off like a Dirty Harry of the spirit world.
Religious themes abound and I could actually see religious people getting into this film. Though Constantine comes off as morally ambivalent he does care that he cannot get into Heaven and is deathly afraid of eternal damnation in Hell. I was so happy to see there was absolutely no sex-ploitation or potty humor.
In the final showdown between Lucifer and Constantine I was thoroughly amused by the character of Lucifer. There was a great use of humor and sarcasm throughout. In spite of what some critics say, I thought the plot was easy to follow and the visual effects were stunning. Keanu's performance has been described as "wooden" and "cardboard" but I thought he was dead on for this role, and I don't consider myself a big fan of his work.
The film's comic book origins were easy spot and used magnificently. Give this one a shot. It's a winner."
Not as bad as people make it out to be.
Ash Williams | edina mn usa | 05/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't see how people can be so hard on this, sure Keanu isnt an amazing actor, but I think he actually did pretty well. I think this is better than most other comic book movies [spiderman 1 & 2, league of extraordinary gentleman, Hellboy, Hulk, etc.] Sure its not as devoted to being like the comics as Sin City[which is frame for frame straight out of the comic] but I think it's better that way. Don't get me wrong, Hellblazer was a great comic, but I think the darker version of John Constantine is more entertaining. I geuss I only have two problems with this:
1. although this is a good adaptation, I wish they had kept more of the political and religous satire that made the comics so great.
2. They never really explained what that guy in Mexico was doing when he found the spear of destiny, that really bugged me. other than that I really enjoyed this, and I think as long as you go in without expecting every line to pulled from one of the comics, you'll probably like it too."