September 2005


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Review: Constantine

Anyone who knows anything about my movie tastes and pet peeves knows I simply cannot stand Keanu Reeves. I have always maintained that he is not an actor, he just has a knack for getting roles written for him.

I’ve read other reviews lambasting the special effects, but I thought they went rather well. Their depiction of hell was a nice break from the traditional mountains of tormented souls burning in Hellfire.

In several places during the movie, I had the distinct impression that the director has watched alot of Sam Raimi’s films, most notably Evil Dead – the scene where Constantine is in hell and leaps up to grab the medical wrist tag of Isabela’s and just barely escapes the grabbing hands of the demons seemed almost familiar.

Hmm…would this have been better had it starred Bruce Campbel? I could almost see him doing it :)

Keanu Reeves once again has the amazing luck of landing a role written for him, so he doesn’t completely fail as an actor. It does, however, add another “I am…” line to his repertoire. (I’m Ted (Theodore) Logan…I am an FBI agent!…I’m John Constantine, asshole…etc.) Still, I don’t hate him more after this one, which is the big surprise.

Rachel Weisz is an infinitely better actor, and did very well with the lousy lines she had. I particularly liked her “baptismal” scene, where she’s there under water, waiting for something to happen, and gives that little flick of the wrist that says “Well? What the fuck am I waiting for?”

A small surprise was the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Archangel Gabriel; but looking back I suppose it wasn’t. The only other movie I have seen her in was Orlando, a movie in which she plays a mostly androgenous lesbian who dressed as a man. Here she is again, playing what many think of as a male role, but in an androgenous manner. Fitting, since angels are androgenous. In any case, she pulls it off very well. I particularly liked how she summed up Constantine’s life: “You’re fucked.”

Final thought: worth the rental.

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