This is a movie that I had seen parts of, but watching it today, I remembered nearly nothing from Constantine, which makes this the next entry in the DailyView binge.
Keanu Reeves played John Constantine, a demon hunter whose job was to send demons back to Hell. This Constantine is cut out of a different cloth than the version from the comic books or the recent animated series. Reeves’ Constantine is more of an exorcist than a mystic. That does not automatically make this a lesser version though. The heart of the character feels connected.
Det. Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) approached Constantine after the apparent suicide of her twin sister Isabel. She did not believe that she would ever kill herself and she wanted help from Constantine to prove it. Meanwhile, Constantine is slowly dying from a blackness in his lungs from smoking (I did not ever hear them specify the cause). He knew that his soul was destined for Hell, but he was hoping his good deeds would clear the ledger and allow him into the Pearly Gates.
Tilda Swinton played the archangel Gabriel, one of several strong members of the cast. Gabriel was not used a ton, but the moments the angel was on screen were certainly impactful.
Shia LaBeouf played Constantine’s apprentice/car driver. Djimon Hounsou was Papa Midnight, the man with the balance between good and evil. Peter Stormare stole the entire third act with his arrival (despite it being kind of a deus ex machina).
The special effects of the movie were all really solid and avoided the worst of the time frame. Much of the feel of the film was influenced by the colors and the backdrop used by the filmmakers. Constantine uses the religious images particularly well as the story pits Heaven and Hell as opposing forces requiring balance. The imagery of Hell in the film were disturbing and frightening all at once.
The story, though, was a bit convoluted and could have required some adjustment in editing. Still, I found this better than many of the critics have (it is sitting at 46% at Rotten Tomatoes). I have always had a negative connotation to this movie over the years, but I thought it was decent. I liked Keanu Reeves as Constantine, even though he was a different character than the comic books.