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Constantine (2005)

by on 2012/04/29

“God’s a kid with an ant farm, lady. He’s not planning anything.”

* * * *

I mentioned it a bit earlier this month that I intended to drool all over Constantine during‘s tribute to movies based on graphic novels, comic books and funny pages.

Well, don your hip waders and raincoats…

Ok, no, maybe don’t. I now wish I hadn’t said “drool” or attempted to run with that concept.

I’m sorry.

You see, I sometimes have trouble expressing my feelings of love. I tend toward the ironic, the non-committal. I’m introverted – practically Finnish. But love is definitely what I have for Constantine – deep, quiet and abiding love.

My esteemed co-reviewer and I saw Constantine in the theatres. We loved it. Then we saw the reviews. Seemingly, the rest of the world didn’t. We were confused. We felt lonely.

It was a familiar feeling.

But we were resolute. I went out and bought the movie, then bought the movie again (this time the Collector’s Edition) and the video game for good measure.

I love it. I watch it while I am exercising. I watch it because it is Wednesday. I watch when I am happy and when I am sad. I love it.

This movie has smoke-fogged atmosphere to spare. The atmosphere is dark, often with slashed and bathed in jewel tones – emerald green, deep red.

Keanu Reeves (Johnny Mnemonic) is his still, alabaster self as John Constantine. He’s a chain-smoking vision in a black suit and white shirt.

Each scene is lovingly constructed and shot. The way Constantine’s room was designed, the back of the bowling alley, Papa Midnight’s nightclub, every ash tray and chair is placed with loving attention. Each room is staged like a painting.

Another work of art, Rachel Weisz plays Detective Angela Dodson and her twin sister Isabelle. She’s the audience’s straight-talking, skeptical surrogate in a world where angels and demons do battle for human souls.

While I’m not much for angels or the whole Christian mythology thing, my interest in angels was decidedly piqued by the always compelling Tilda Swinton (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)  as Gabriel. Gabriel is a creature of still menace and might not be the most kindly angel you’ve ever hallucinated.

And the Devil, well, I won’t spoil it. Ok, a hint, “where is pancakes house?”

There’s also comic relief in Chas Kramer (Shia LaBeouf). The trips to hell were interesting, a vision of CGI fire and torment. It worked.

For me. I guess.

I really don’t know what people didn’t like about this movie. And by people I mean critics. Constantine, for my money, several times over, is so worth it.

Perhaps, as Jesus spake, I am just not part of this world.

* * * *

121 minutes

Rated R for violence, demonic images (particularly Gavin Rossdale dressed like an evil, lizard-like banker)

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