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Overall Rating
3.47

Awesome: 19.14%
Worth A Look41.36%
Average: 17.28%
Pretty Bad: 11.73%
Total Crap: 10.49%

10 reviews, 102 user ratings


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Constantine
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Not the John of the comics, but not bad."
4 stars

For those familiar with the Vertigo "Hellblazer" comics, on which "Constantine" is based, Keanu Reeves playing John Constantine is a little like William Hurt playing Denis Leary.

In the comics, Constantine is a profane, chain-smoking, irreverent, and deeply British figure, openly contemptuous of anyone he considers a "wanker," whether a junkie or a demigod. Reeves gets Constantine's surface habits but misses the punk-rock edge that laughs in the face of armageddon. For all that, though, this Constantine is acceptable for what it is: a kitchen-sink metaphysical adventure, in which the surly hero slouches unwillingly from one horrific encounter to the next while wishing everyone would just leave him alone to sit and smoke in his dusty Los Angeles apartment.

Constantine, who casts out demons in order to secure himself a good seat in Heaven (he's destined for Hell, for reasons familiar to Catholic readers), gets pulled into a mystery involving a psychic who went sidewalk-diving. The psychic's twin sister Angela (Rachel Weisz), a cop, is convinced that it wasn't suicide. Angela sees her sister on a security camera whispering the name "Constantine" right before she jumps to her death; I'd say Constantine owes the dead sister a cut of his salary for the great reference. In any event, Constantine agrees to figure out what drove the sister to her death and perhaps rescue her soul from Hell.

Constantine is shaped as a supernatural noir, much like the TV series Angel, also set in L.A. (where demons apparently prosper). The fun of the comics was partly in the colorful rogue's gallery of characters Constantine ran across, and the movie gives us Papa Midnite (Djimon Hounsou), a quasi-voodoo man who holes up in a nightclub for psychics only; Beeman (Max Baker), who lives in the back of a bowling alley and can get you any magical gadget; Father Hennessy (jiggly-eyed Pruitt Taylor Vince), an alcoholic priest who calls Constantine in when his exorcism attempts fail; the androgynous Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), an angel not quite of the Roma Downey variety; and Balthazar (Gavin Rossdale, frontman of the rock group Bush), a suave half-breed demon. Constantine is also driven around by Chas (Shia LaBeouf), a kid who wants to be Constantine if and when he grows up.

The movie is certainly more entertaining than last fall's tedious Exorcist: The Beginning; if you're going to make a theological action-adventure, Constantine is much more the way to go. It comes complete with mumbo-jumbo about the birth of the son of Satan, and joining his blood with the blood of Christ to achieve an apocalyptic end; it goes for all the marbles, like any season finale of Buffy or Angel, and the outcome is similarly never in doubt. (You don't watch a hero for two hours or 22 episodes just to see evil triumph at the end -- not in a $100 million Hollywood film, anyway.) While decidedly no one's idea of the John Constantine of the comics (who was originally modelled on Sting), Reeves acquits himself well enough; neither the worst nor the best actor imaginable for the role, he inhabits this pissy character and his bleak surroundings with something like grace. His whoa-dude voice may still wreak havoc with his line readings, but his body has its own eloquence, able to move from cynical slouch to action-hero stance in a heartbeat.

Handsomely shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, and directed with a strong taste for oblique angles by first-timer Francis Lawrence (another music-video vet), Constantine is one of the better-looking films of the season, despite some dim lighting in a scene involving dozens of buffalo dropping dead (the moment would pack more of a spooky punch if you could see it better). It also occupies a useful middle ground between campiness and taking itself too seriously; it opts for neither of those, approaching its supernatural highlights with a matter-of-fact attitude.

As for the movie's apparent fixation on water as a portal to Hell (various characters submerge themselves in bathtubs or dunk their feet in the liquid for a peek at the forbidden, and poor Rachel Weisz seems to spend half the movie drenched), your guess is as good as mine; "Constantine" has been cross-marketed everywhere from Comedy Central to a PlayStation game, but somehow Poland Spring missed out on the merchandising action.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11745&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/29/06 08:10:27
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User Comments

4/26/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Lked it. If only because I thought it a SeaBiscuit sequel, and it wasn't 4 stars
1/03/09 the dork knight ...why do the characters whisper so much? 3 stars
8/03/08 Farnsy Yes I agree, I hated it 1 stars
6/22/08 Jeffrey G You're either going to love it or hate it. I loved it.. 5 stars
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT SLOW, SILLY, STUPID, INTOLERABLE, OFFENSIVE 1 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Unintelligible dialogue,incomprehensible "plot."The Exorcist for frat boys.Blech! 1 stars
5/02/07 Tracey Chambers love this movie. cool story. pretty good acting. 5 stars
4/12/07 fools♫gold I can't decide whether I like it or not, and I like it when that happens! 2 stars
1/31/07 William Boyle A good story badly told. Reeves is Mr Smith on tranquillizers. 3 stars
12/05/06 porcelain piece one of the best films ive seen ... <333 5 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist The film would have been better if they ditched that cheeseball, Keanu Reeves,if you ask me 2 stars
6/27/06 Criddic2 Effects, art direction fine; overdone much of the time tho 3 stars
4/21/06 Isis Bethea This movie is the best i have seen since the Matrix. I love Keanu Reeves in this movie 5 stars
3/19/06 Martin Very interesting and beautiful site. It is a lot of helpful information. Thanks! 5 stars
2/20/06 kirk a work of art! 5 stars
12/30/05 Simon Entertained; but terribly acted and scripted. 3 stars
11/25/05 CONSTANTINE AWSOME... Could've been BETTER; the sequeal should redeem itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/16/05 Adrian As far as comic book movies go, it's great. Other than that, its mediocre. 4 stars
10/25/05 Last Tango Imp Heiress Why hasn't the spear of destiny been beaten into the pruning hook of deatiny by now? 4 stars
10/17/05 BillW God has forsaken us...He allowed this hideous film to be made! 1 stars
10/11/05 CONSTANTINE AWESOME... Sort of! 5 stars
9/13/05 Indrid Cold Special effects: 50 million. Decent script: priceless, apparently. 2 stars
8/28/05 John F fell sleep!!!!!!!! 2 stars
8/19/05 ES feelings of hellboy and van helsing, never a good sign 1 stars
8/17/05 Betty Ann Kahn Probably the worst movie I have ever seen. First of all, it's based on the premise that Hel 1 stars
8/16/05 john smith mediocre acting, other than that it was awesome 4 stars
8/09/05 jada boring, yawn, glad it was only a rental 2 stars
8/07/05 Monday Morning Impressive effects but the story and acting were truly terrible 2 stars
8/05/05 JFK great film 4 stars
8/02/05 tatum No big deal... 4 stars
8/01/05 Kenny Tew The only good thing about this film is that its bad enough to be laugh out loud funny. 1 stars
7/29/05 john constantine this movie is the bomb. 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Reeves redeemsself from the Matrix fiasco. Stunning. 5 stars
7/25/05 Dan Kind of hard to follow, but still very thought provoking. 4 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma Dark, original, and downright fun. I loved it! 5 stars
7/02/05 kaz at last!! an adult comic book story!! 5 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon yo duuuude... i can't act! i can like say the words but i'm sooo uuuunconvincing duuude. 2 stars
5/22/05 Cham Not an ounce of originality to be found, but a great flick for the big screen. 3 stars
5/12/05 Mike Didn't like it, sorry. 2 stars
4/29/05 Mider great stuff 4 stars
4/29/05 Mider Excellent 4 stars
4/29/05 Peter Only Rachel Weisz gives a great performance here 3 stars
4/20/05 Krisan definatly spooky :) 4 stars
4/19/05 Nicole Baugh Wasn't what I epected it to be form trailer, but I still liked it. 4 stars
4/19/05 The Sorrow This is way better than "HELLBOY"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/19/05 Maril Smith Loved this film - Keanu Reeves played an excellent sarcastic hero in an intriguing plot 5 stars
4/17/05 Cary Gordon A little to Keanu-ized for those who liked the books, but still decent. 4 stars
4/16/05 Gail Crawford well done, intense 5 stars
4/14/05 Littlepurch I enjoyed it.Keanu and Weisz great leads. Wasn't all mindless action.Liked Satan at da end. 4 stars
4/10/05 Vince Dull fanboy drivel 1 stars
4/02/05 irene diaz Entertaining, but not very good plot wise 3 stars
3/26/05 Brad If you check your brain out at the door, it's fun 4 stars
3/25/05 hannaho As a fan of the comic book, I've got to say somewhat disappointing. 3 stars
3/24/05 Christine I really liked this one very much and Keanu was great! 5 stars
3/23/05 Victoria Ross I like watching Keanu Reeves in any movie. 4 stars
3/22/05 Obi Wan One of the DVD collection! Very good film, Keanu was better than most days! 5 stars
3/22/05 xxplosive Had it's faults but in all it was good. 4 stars
3/20/05 Lord Jiggy Worthy effort, visually stunning, interesting pace. Check it out. 4 stars
3/19/05 Rachel Freaking loved it, and did anyone stay after the credits? 5 stars
3/19/05 PAMELA HANSEN a msut see for all a definite mustr buy whenon dvd cannot wait 5 stars
3/16/05 G I thought the movie was good, did not see any holes in the plot, excellent FX. 5 stars
3/11/05 The Sorrow One of the best medicore "comic-book-adaptations" ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
3/10/05 kaz hey..i liked a walk in the clouds!! 5 stars
3/08/05 Shirley the noir mood is fascinating 5 stars
3/08/05 Caiphn What does he say? "Demons.. and talons".. can't remember, but funny! 3 stars
3/06/05 maxomai Good flick, left me wanting more. Keanu doesn't fit here. 4 stars
3/03/05 Adam almost as bad as another Keanu reves movie "A walk in the clouds" 1 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung keanu, stick to matrix movies 2 stars
3/02/05 Jack Bourbon Nonsensical, and Peter Stormare was silly 2 stars
3/02/05 If the Spear of Destiny really fulfilled Biblical prophecy..... It would have been beaten into the Pruning Hook of Destiny by now! 3 stars
3/02/05 "Tilda Swinton" is really Cate Blanchett Exorcist meets Alien meets Clockstoppers. Still peculiarly appealing somehow. 4 stars
3/01/05 milk funny and action packed. a real treat. make sure you stay after the trailer. ^__^ 5 stars
2/28/05 Meryl Wonderful. First movie I've loved in a long time. 5 stars
2/27/05 mike a total waste of time 1 stars
2/27/05 M Its like a 2 hr long anti smoking ad! Very silly!! 2 stars
2/27/05 Graves Lets hope that "Constantine 2" is far more like the "Hellblazer" comics + it'll be better!! 3 stars
2/26/05 James Kiang Not being too familiar with the source material, I found the movie sufficiently dark. 4 stars
2/26/05 Elizabeth S Enjoyed the visuals, theme, and Keanu's world-weary performance. 3 stars
2/25/05 "Tilda Swinton" is really Cate Blanchett Exorcist meets Alien meets Clockstoppers. Still peculiarly appealing somehow. 4 stars
2/25/05 Comixchick Read the comic from day one; still thought the movie was OK. Not great, OK. 4 stars
2/24/05 kaz LOVED IT!! Dream cast..spellbinding visuals 5 stars
2/23/05 othree Not Reeves' most excellent adventure +s on characters and comedy, best apocalyptic scenery 3 stars
2/23/05 Kefanii Nothing like the Hellblazer series, but who cares (besides bitter fans)? It was fantastic. 5 stars
2/23/05 Derek Movie Reviwers are FAR too analytical, but that's their job. Movie was GREAT 5 stars
2/22/05 Reign It's very nice. Especially for feeling psychic like me. 4 stars
2/22/05 re morgan I thought it was a 7 out of 10. i'm not familiar with the comic - it was good tho 4 stars
2/22/05 Graham K Cchei: go having read the comic book and you won't like it. Trust me. 2 stars
2/22/05 guisada good. 4 stars
2/21/05 Ahnold Stupid, very, very stupid. 1 stars
2/21/05 Jim The Movie Freak The longest anti-smoking ad ever! Kinda lame, kinda interesting. A rental at best. 3 stars
2/21/05 K Cchei Go knowing it's based on a comic book and you will enjoy it 5 stars
2/21/05 Mark D Fulwiler dumb 2 stars
2/21/05 Edler The story has some problems, badly organized, lots of holes, but not bad 4 stars
2/21/05 leon trotsky This should have sucked...but somehow it came together OK. 4 stars
2/21/05 Gray not bad, but could have been great 3 stars
2/21/05 jeff nothin special. slow at times. 3 stars
2/19/05 y2mckay Far better than I expected. Fresh, sharply written, and KEANU IS GOOD! (I'm shocked too) 4 stars
2/19/05 KingNeutron Gabriel the 1/2 angel had a nice booty. :) 5 stars
2/19/05 BrianWilly I really liked it; a great mind**** of a film 5 stars
2/19/05 nick2k not bad for a movie about religion... 4 stars
2/19/05 Ronald Salazar I enjoyed the movie. 4 stars
2/13/05 dbx Saw it; was not at all what I expected; so much fun! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Feb-2005 (R)
  DVD: 19-Jul-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Feb-2005




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