Constantine - Review

It's one of the great questions of our time - how exactly does an actor with so little obvious spiritual depth end up taking on humanity's eternal struggle between good and evil on such a regular basis?

Keanu Reeves

When it comes to saving the world from the forces of darkness, Keanu Reeves (Siddharta in Little Buddha, Kevin Lomax in The Devil's Advocate, the Christ-like Neo in The Matrix trilogy) is about as convincingly deadpan as Arnold Schwarzenegger ever was. Perhaps it has something to do with his great bone structure, or looking great in black?

Rachel Wiesz

Still, fans of The Matrix will find plenty to enjoy in Reeves' latest blockbuster, Constantine. Based on the character from Alan Moore's graphic novel Hellblazer, supernatural detective John Constantine (Reeves) is monosyllabic, dresses in black and kicks bad-guy ass. This time, however, the bad guy isn't Agent Smith but the son of the Devil - and he's hell-bent on breaking a pact between God and Satan not to allow angels and demons into the world of human beings. And the angel Gabriel (androgynous Tilda Swinton) seems to be in on the plot as well.

Keanu Reeves

The movie starts with a poor laborer unearthing a curious-looking dagger in the Mexican desert. As he flees with it, he is hit by a car but mysteriously bounces back to life, causing animals to keel over and die as he goes. There is clearly something awry in the world of men, and as the movie progresses the dagger is revealed to be the Spear of Destiny, used to pierce Christ on the cross.

Reeves gets in alittle trouble

John Constantine has taken it upon himself to rid the world of errant demons, and we first meet him when he is performing an exorcism on a bed-ridden girl. This Exorcist-like scene stops just short of pea-soup spewing, and as Constantine stands over her, muttering sacred spells, it's hard to take him entirely seriously as the dark, tormented character he is supposed to be. You almost want to laugh, but the sheer ghoulishness of the demonic possession really doesn't let you.


The movie continues at a rapid and equally sinister pace, and as Constantine and policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) team up to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, they are besieged by seriously unsettling CGI demons. Constantine, it is revealed, is stuck in an earthly purgatory, due to a suicide attempt earlier in his life, and is trying to win enough points to get into Heaven. One useful side effect is that he can now travel between Earth and Hell - a skill which comes in handy in finding out what happened to Angela's sister.

Keanu Reeves and Tilda Swinton

Constantine is a wild ride and visually spectacular, weighing up the eternally fascinating forces of Good vs. Evil, as the troubled hero battles his own inner demons. As apocalyptic as it is, it occasionally descends into cheesiness (notably Satan's Brandoesque posturing and dubious Reeves one-liners), but not enough to ruin the enjoyment. And somehow, as usual, Keanu pulls it off.

Keanu Reeves, Djimon Hounsou and Shia LaBeouf

No doubt we can expect Constantine 2 in a year or so.  


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