Constantine review by Geoff Roberts

Geoff Roberts

He who possesses the Spear of Destiny holds the fate of the world in their hands. Thus beings Constantine. John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) has literally been through the pits of hell and back. Since birth he has had a rare gift that has caused himself nothing but trouble. He is able to recognize the living versus the undead half-breeds that walk among us. Constantine’s visions cause him to try and commit suicide but his attempt fails.

Constantine patrols the border between Heaven and Hell and hopes in vain he will find salvation by waging war against his demons. A police detective (Rachel Weisz) comes to Constantine knowing he is her only hope for finding answers about the death of her sister. This gets the pair into serious trouble when they reach out to humans and the dead in Hell for answers only to become caught in catastrophic events that take place between the two realms.

The film begins with an exorcism that is far more grotesque and scary than most we have seen on the silver screen. Through this we find out an essential detail. Demons are not out to get their victims but rather use other people to come after Reeves himself. They are trying to tell him something and or scare him off from discovering the answers and keys to destroying them and erasing them from body, mind and soul as well as existence. He restores the peace albeit temporarily by using a smashed mirror. It is interesting to see that the smoke rises and fades with this move and the victim appears normal. It is a metaphor for smoke and mirrors and things not looking at all what they seem here. Constantine tells the family to update him on the victim’s progress and warns his protection is not needed and would not make a dent in what happens anyway.

Weisz is convinced her sister would have never have killed herself even though she was a mental patient. She knows her sister was a devout Catholic and feared being sent directly to Hell upon death. Constantine is told by taking this case on that he may in fact hit the mother load of all cases. That much right there is understated. A Catholic funeral will not be allowed by a priest because of the death being ruled a suicide which is a cardinal sin. Disturbed and the only one who ever believed in her sister Weisz is sure something more sinister was at play especially when she views tapes of her sister leaping to her death and hears very clearly the utterance of Constantine’s name just before she jumped.

Victims are viewed as finger puppets for evil entities and they can only suggest according to Constantine something but can never cross into the earthly realm or can they? Reeves gift is considered by him to be a curse of which up till now he has used selfishly and aimlessly. He won’t die young by smoking 40 cigarettes a day and will probably go to Hell either way. Constantine is seen as screwed and what happens to him is viewed as a sick joke where he is the punch line for the undead.

Weisz believes her sister was murdered but Constantine remains unconvinced knowing the dead woman was a mental patient who can and probably did kill herself. The detective believes someone got to her sister and she was murdered by a legion or a cult. That convinced her she would become an angel when she died which was all the character ever spoke about days before death.

Reeves is brilliant and gives fans of the Matrix movies a lot to enjoy here. He is always one step ahead in the script setting up scenes and never showing us what drives him. We are drawn in trying to figure out his psychosis. Audiences may wonder if Reeves and Weisz are truly delusional or experiencing reality. Weisz is wonderful as a character who is not really sure what is going on but hell bent on finding answers through the one person she put her trust in. The only problem is whether or not that person is trustworthy let alone dangerous to her well being.

There is a tremendous religious bent to this movie than in inescapable. Reeves is trying to buy his way into Heaven and dealing with fears of a mental hell and well as the idea of a physical one that he think he can see, touch and be tortured by. Is this reality or product of a troubled mind? There is a lot of mention about the Spear of Life and Jesus’s death and resurrection and what that means to life and humans on earth versus those experiencing hell on earth and whether people are damned or able to be saved.

The book of Corinthians in the bible and a mysterious 17th act that does not exist in reality but Weisz’s dead sister makes reference to in a supposed message from beyond. The book of Revelations is referred to a lot including the belief that God’s help is needed by everyone and that he alone cannot destroy the Earth and helps to carry people over to the other realm. The end of the world is the underlying theme and it is interesting that the movie is set below the core of Los Angeles. There have been a lot of fear surrounding a huge earthquake that would one day burry Los Angeles under the sea. While a theory the film makers indirectly play on this fear of catastrophe and end of the world scenario in Los Angeles. The suspenseful, intriguing, intelligent and inventive film deserves a look on DVD.

8 out of 10 Jackasses

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