Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn


On the 19th, we caught "Constantine" as a matinee. You don't realy have to know anything about the "Hellblazer" comics series it's based loosely on, since a) they give a pretty complete backstory, and b) it's very unlike the comic anyway.
In the comics, John Constantine is a very gritty Brit who became involved in the occult in his hippie Sixties days, and became somewhat of a reluctant demon-breaker/exorcist in self-defense after seen one too-many very bad things. Had I been casting John Constantine, I would have cast Sean Bean, or maybe Robert Carlyle, who even looks like the comic book character. Instead the movie is set in a very grim-looking Los Angeles, and Constantine is a California boy, played by Keneau Reeves. He was born with an ability to see angels, demons, and their "half-breed" manifesttions on the physical plane. This ability drives him to suicide, resulting in a brief 'death' which not only enhances his ability, but leaves him with the knowlege that there is a very real Hell. He becomes a freelance exorcist, (which he calls "deportation") trying to redeem his soul from damnation by driving demon kin out of the world. (The movie's major plot flaw is, if neither angels nor demons can physically manifest in this world, where do the "halfbreeds" come from?) Rachel Weisz ("The Mummy") appears as a detective whose vision-haunted sister is a casualty in a literally Hellish plot. The story and effects are not marvelous, but pretty good in my opinion. Of course, we are both fond of Tilda Swinton, who, as "Gabriel" steals the scenes she is in. No one can do a fey look like Swinton; she discusses doom and destruction with the same dotty glee she did 'poetry' in "Orlando." There is an able supporting cast representing Constantine's rag-tag network, and Gavin Rossdale very slimy as the demonic Balthazar. One reviewer aid it wasn't "dark" enough. Not sure what he means--the story was plenty dark for me. Good, for matinee prices.
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