Sunday, July 26, 2020


Movie Name: Constantine
Year of Release: 2005
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Tilda Swinton, Djimon Hounsou, Peter Stormare, Shia LaBeouf, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Jesse Ramirez, Francis Guinan, Jose Zuniga, April Grace, Michelle Monaghan, Suzanne Whang
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Synopsis and Review:
"Constantine" premiered in February of 2005, right at the heels of Keanu Reeves going through the consecutive "Matrix" sequels, and the well received Nancy Meyers comedy "Something's Gotta Give". The film marks the feature film debut from Francis Lawrence, at the time mostly well known for his work as a music video director. The feature is an adaptation of a comic book from DC, "Hellblazer", and it follows the story of John Constantine, a demonologist of sorts. Constantine has had the power to see beyond dimensions since he was a child, something that always haunted him, eventually forcing him to attempt to kill himself, which in fact resulted in heightening his perceptions of the world around what humans perceive to be reality. He comes in touch with Detective Angela Dodson, following a supposed suicide of her twin sister, something she's investigating. Angela and Isabel, always had an ability to also channel the supernatural, but while Isabel let it consume her, eventually ending up in a mental institution, Angela managed to block it out, and become a successful police officer. Trying to understand what happened to her sister, Angela tracks Constantine, and while dismissive at first of her intents, he suddenly realizes that there's a much bigger and sinister plan at bay, behind Angela and Isabel's involvement. The both of them have to partner in order to overcome demonic creatures, and even angelic ones in the shape of Gabriel, all of whom have their own agendas.
"Constantine" is an interesting feature, one that is unlike many of the comic book films that were premiering at the time, or have premiered since then. Mostly because its hero, or central character, is a very disillusioned, cynical, even embittered person, as a result of what he went through growing up and what he has experienced throughout his adult life, with the constant war raging between Heaven and Hell, and him smacked right between both. The character is very much portrayed as a cynical private eye from classic noir films, but with an edge, that being his ability to see the supernatural and navigate between dimensions. The plot smartly brings a series of supporting players to this web of conspiracy that starts unveiling itself, as Constantine and Angela try to understand why her sister was targeted. It's a noir set up, with typical archetypes, but with a touch of supernatural, which makes it more distinctive and arresting. The film falters in aspects of character development, particularly when it comes to the central characters, but it's stylistic enough, and with such intelligently and compellingly set up shots, that holds the attention of the viewer. Francis Lawrence also manages to cast the film very well, surrounding Keanu Reeves with an array of phenomenal actors, including Rachel Weisz, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare and Djimon Hounsou. The cinematography from Philippe Rousselot is beautiful, as is the production design from Naomi Shohan. An entertaining film worth watching, from an interesting director.