Science fiction and fantasy
directed by Francis Lawrence
The special effects that illustrate the fiery pit are very well done: it looks hellish, but at the same time a lot like the world we live in. It's not the sort of Hell that's often seen in Hollywood movies.
Constantine lives in a Los Angeles that's filled with demons and half-breeds warring for our souls, and he's one of the few who can see it. More demons seem to be crossing into our plane than usual, and it seems to be connected with the discovery of the Spear of Destiny.
A sort of dry, understated humour complements the darkness of this film. Reeves is ideally suited to playing the moody, stand-offish John Constantine. There's a certain sexual tension between him and Angela, but again it's very underplayed. There is, however, a lot of emphasis on what smoking is doing to him, and its ill-effects are shown in graphic detail. This is one aspect of the film where subtlety is discarded.
Constantine is not a bad movie, catering mainly to popular tastes. It's full of action and the point of the story is easy to grasp. In parts, it owes something to The Exorcist, but on the whole it has a gritty, original look which contrasts well with some of the flashier effects. It doesn't tax the grey, but it is entertaining.
If you like this, try:Hellboy II: The Golden Army by Guillermo del Toro
An elvish prince attempts to raise an unstoppable army to destroy mankind.
John Constantine, Hellblazer: Stations of the Cross by Mike Carey
John Constantine loses his memory in this contemporary occult graphic novel.
The Face by Dean Koontz
A movie star is threatened by a baffling killer in this contemporary horror novel.
Review © Ros Jackson
More about Francis Lawrence