Constantine (2005) – Francis Lawrence

Keanu Reeves takes on the role of DC’s Vertigo Comics character of John Constantine aka Hellblazer in the next title to be featured in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies as I traverse its visions of hell.

Constantine was originally written as a UK character but was changed to American to make it more bankable at the box office. And honestly I quite like Reeves in the role.

And as previously mentioned in some other posts I’m a sucker for what I call supernatural noir. Constantine is basically a gumshoe of the 40s era, dark, brooding, quick with a witticism or a fist, in this case, his stories have a supernatural bent, and in this case involved heaven, hell, and the son of the devil himself (played by Peter Stormare).

When Angela Dodson’s (Rachel Weisz) twin sister apparently commits suicide, sometime exorcist, and paranormal investigator Constantine gets pulled into the case when it seems that he’s stumbled onto a plot to turn Earth into hell by bringing forth Mammon, the son of satan.

Both sides involved in The Balance (heaven and hell) are supposed to only attempt influence on the earthly plane with their half-breed creations, not physically manifest actually demons, angels or more.

The film creates its reality from the first frame, and you either subscribe to it, or you don’t come along for the ride. Constantine doesn’t care if you believe, he knows these things are real, and he works to deal with them, and keep himself and those who interact with him, safe.

The soldier demons that make an appearance are kind of interesting, and personally, I love the opening exorcist sequence, it’s just damned cool, and plunges you right into the world of Hellblazer.

I’ve yet to watch the short-lived television series, but I really enjoyed this film. I love a good supernatural noir, and think there’s probably a good story in my brain somewhere that falls solidly right into this genre.

There’s a fun supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Djimon Hounsou, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and oh yeah, Shia LaBeouf, who I could have done without.

It’s too bad the film didn’t garner a sequel, as I would have happily watched Reeves brush up against the supernatural, and fight the darkness that lurks in the corners of life. And I quite like the chemistry between Reeves and Weisz, and she plays her role of cop introduced into the world of the occult comfortably and believably. She is the viewer’s way in, and often delivers the reactions we would when something happens, or is revealed.

Constantine, for my money, is a fun entry in the supernatural noir genre, and I was more than happy to dive into it again for DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies.

Check it out, or pick up a copy for yourself and find something monstrous to watch tonight!

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