Synopsis – Supernatural exorcist and demonologist John Constantine helps a policewoman prove her sister’s death was not a suicide, but something more – Constantine.
Director – Francis Lawrence
Released – 2005
For fans of – End of Days, Stigmata, The Ninth Gate
It’s pretty safe to say that Constantine s a rather marmite movie, some will adore it, whereas, some will hate and I’m able to see why both sides have good points. But one thing that’s certainly true is that it did well at the box office. Is that an indication of quality? No. It just proves the popularity of both Keanu Reeves hot off the back of the Matrix films and the character John Constantine, both of which I enjoyed while watching this film.
Keanu Reeve’s acting ability isn’t the greatest you’ll ever see, but it works in certain roles, such as Neo in the Matrix series, or John Wick, where he’s a quiet/emotionally subdued action hero, which made him the perfect candidate to play occult detective John Constantine, while the writing helped him to overcome any acting shortcomings and keep this character as intelligent, complex and morally dubious as the fans wanted and the story required. With the same to be said for the story as a whole, which I found to be complex enough for you to get invested in the lore, without filling the plot with unwanted levels of exposition that would have bogged the story down.
Director Francis Lawrence was at that point mostly known for directing music videos, but nether-the-less does an admirable job in his feature debut. At no point did I feel his skills were lacking and his ability to keep some of the more absurd subject matter on track and relatively straight-faced and part of this is down to the level of special effects, which still to this day, hold up well. Additionally, the action was non-stop, stopping the movie from becoming dragged down by religious and theological discussions that can plague movies centred around the war between heaven and hell, good vs. evil and the human soul (maybe a more in-depth look at these subjects was planned for any subsequent sequels, however, this wasn’t to be).
In the end, Constantine is a solid action thriller with religious overtones, that although doesn’t set the world alight, has become one of my guilty pleasures and works as a great gateway into this complex DC comic-book hero.