Film Review: Constantine (2005)

Constantine Keanu Reeves

This film goes over as well as jalapeño dip at a burn center.  Keanu Reeves is to acting what Mr. Rosie O Donnell is to underwear modeling. 

Should I see it?
Only under duress.

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writers: Kevin Brodbin and Frank A. Cappello

Actors: Keanu Reeves (sorta), Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou and Tilda Swinton

Rated-R for violence and demonic imagery

Widely considered not to be the greatest actor of his generation, Keanu Reeves is to acting what Mr. Rosie O’Donnell is to underwear modeling. His ability to remain on screen for so long without emoting is striking. Sure, he will speak louder when he wants to express excitement and speak slower when he wants to represent thinking but to avoid human emotion for an entire production? It’s almost admirable. Then again, given his track record, to complain that he is stiff and poorly executes his lines is like pointing out that the ocean is moist.

I was particularly surprised that in a film about Hell, the most frightening thing is Keanu’s elocution. There were times when I had to stop the film and play it back with subtitles to understand what he was saying. Marlon Brando whispering with a mouthful of cottage cheese would have been clearer than this mush mouth.

Okay, enough kicking Keanu while he is obviously down. Let’s get to the movie.

This gem is based on the Hellblazer comic books. John Constantine (lines read by Keanu Reeves) has the gift of exorcism. He kicks demons back to Hell for a living and…what am I doing? I just spent more time explaining the plot than director Francis Lawrence (his resume prior to this is littered with Jenny Lopez and Britney Spears videos) manages to do in his movie. The story is about a guy and some demons and that is about all. The details of the plot are meaningless because nothing is done to elevate them beyond simple points to shuffle Keanu from one deadening scene to the next. I’ve seen screen savers with better narrative structure.

I urge you not to see this film. In short, this is heretical. I do not make that claim lightly. At every turn this film dismisses the Christian faith while embracing its symbols for its own purposes. This is a celebration of demonic imagery and humanistic, new age jawboning. If you have any connection to the Christian faith, this movie will likely turn your stomach. My long-suffering wife, who is particularly sensitive to such displays of disrespect, was yelling at the screen so much that by the time the credits rolled she was sounding like Nick Nolte after a couple of packs of Pall Malls.

I could continue to trash this film but it doesn’t deserve the effort. I sincerely hope the filmmakers come around and realize the insulting work they have made and look for forgiveness – from God for spitting on Him and from the audience for asking us to watch.

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