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It's worth the admission.
The cast is excellent, and I have always been partial to Keanu Reeves, who as John Constantine, a man dying of lung cancer, who can see, and has walked beyond this dimension, is very good in his own peculiar way. I can't imagine anyone else of his generation playing the part. As he says of the cat in the film, he's "half in, half out," and Reeves also has that quality, of being in the world, but not quite of it. Rachel Weisz, who teamed with Reeves in the far less interesting 1996 "Chain Reaction," is both Angela, a Los Angeles detective, and her twin sister Isabel. She looks gorgeous, and gives a sensitive, lovely performance. Others in the cast that stand out are Tilda Swinton as Gabriel, and Shia LaBeouf, as Chas, Constantine's eager apprentice.
This is the feature directorial debut of Francis Lawrence, who has previously done music videos, and he certainly has an eye for bizarre imagery. The cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is terrific, and much of what is worthwhile in this film is due to him. It is hard to rate this film, as it is, like the battle of good and evil in the story, a mixture of opposites. Total running time is 121 minutes, it is rated R for "violence and demonic images," but is comparatively mild in language and has no in-between the sheets action. The DVD extra is 18 minutes of deleted scenes.
In particular, I enjoyed the film's somewhat subversive vision that the goals and objectives emanating from Heaven and Hell are sometimes laced with the same base political motivations that are often the springboards for the official positions held by powerful organizations here on Earth. I liked how the bad guys could be charming and somewhat sympathetic despite their Hellish origins, and how the holy characters (I'm mostly thinking of Tilda Swinton's Angel Gabriel character here) can come up with questionable and truly bizarre plans to rid the Earth of evil, even if it means something close to apocalypse has to result in the meantime.
The film skillfully mixes several genres and flavors (horror movie, detective thriller, and romance story among them), which successfully results in an entertaining whole. It's just not a wildly entertaining whole, and you'll probably have more fun disecting the movie with a friend afterward over a beer than you did when you were watching it.
I bought the two-disc special edition, and the extras on the second disc are very well done. In fact, if you don't know much about the Constantine character beforehand it's perfectly safe to watch the first couple of featurettes on the second disc before you watch the movie; they discuss the comic book origins of the character and the goals the film makers had in adapting the character to the screen.Read more ›
Religious themes abound and I could actually see religious people getting into this film. Though Constantine comes off as morally ambivalent he does care that he cannot get into Heaven and is deathly afraid of eternal damnation in Hell. I was so happy to see there was absolutely no sex-ploitation or potty humor.
In the final showdown between Lucifer and Constantine I was thoroughly amused by the character of Lucifer. There was a great use of humor and sarcasm throughout. In spite of what some critics say, I thought the plot was easy to follow and the visual effects were stunning. Keanu's performance has been described as "wooden" and "cardboard" but I thought he was dead on for this role, and I don't consider myself a big fan of his work.
The film's comic book origins were easy spot and used magnificently. Give this one a shot. It's a winner.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Did you enjoy Blade? If so I think this movie has a lot of pretty awesome crazy weapons and lore following like Blade did. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Larry's Pub
Great performance by Keanu Reeves. If your want to watch a movie about a man taking on the forces of evil look no further.Published 11 days ago by Bel Iblis
Great movie, kept us on the edge of our seats. Surprise ending! Just be careful who you watch it with...not all people are good with these types of movies.Published 15 days ago by J. Pruitt-starbuck
If you believe in the spirit world and how it impacts people's lives on Earth, you will appreciate this movie!! Very good!!Published 16 days ago by Dana Canada
This is one of those movies that you will always come back to to watch again and again(like Gladiator for me). I just love the story line and the directing style. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Gilberto Pelayo
I have watched this movie many times ... Just watched again on Netflix ... This time however there was a different ending .... At the very very end after all the credits. Read morePublished 22 days ago by J Cruickshank
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