Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"The film is a kaleidoscope of imagery, using CGI to best advantage, allowing Reeves and Weisz to slip effortlessly into the groove."

At a time when Hollywood is so nervous of doing the wrong thing, along comes Keanu, once the half-brained dude from the Bill & Ted adventures and the saviour of real life in the Matrix trilogy, to introduce you to the Devil.

John Constantine does not fit the superhero mould. He may have originated in the womb of a comic book, but was never fostered by Marvel. His powers are a curse. He sees the world behind the world and, like Agent K from Men In Black, can sense half-breeds, who walk the earth in human form, and exorcises demons from the bodies of the possessed.

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For those who suspect the existence of a parallel universe, Francis Lawrence's film takes a broken bottle to the neck of normality. Constantine crossed over and witnessed the fires of Hell. On his resurrection - more a miracle of medical technology than the consequences of spiritual magic - he became the last hope of the damned, like Shane in the metropolitan grasslands, but it's not what he wants.

Even a hardened gumshoe like Philip Marlowe had standards of morality. Constantine chain-smokes, suffers from lung cancer, denies himself the sentimental crutch of a romantic entanglement and hates his job. If you called him a hero, he'd punch your lights out. Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), the winged and cynical representative of Lord Lord-Above, accuses him of trying to pay his way into Heaven by saving souls.

So much of the film is spoken in the language of ghosts. When Angie's twin sister throws herself off the roof of a mental institution, she tells Constantine that she did not commit suicide, it was not in her nature. He understands only too well that nature is a sham and can be twisted every which way by the forces of evil.

Angie (Rachel Weisz) is a cop. She and Constantine journey through dimensions and emotional barriers and reality zones to discover the truth. It is not easy to keep up, but that's the way of innovation. You follow clues without knowing where they lead; you experience terror by insinuating the absolutism of eternal damnation; you fly in the face of convention.

The film is a kaleidoscope of imagery, using CGI to best advantage, allowing Reeves and Weisz to slip effortlessly into the groove.

Constantine the movie reflects Constantine the man - so cool, he's hot.

Reviewed on: 19 Mar 2005
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The comic book adventures of a chain smoking paranormal gumshoe in post-apocalyptic LA.
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Read more Constantine reviews:

The Exile ****
John Gallagher ***1/2
Kotleta **

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Kevin Brodbin, Frank Cappello, based on the comic book Hellblazer by Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare

Year: 2005

Runtime: 121 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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