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Constantine – Keanu’s Latest Bogus Journey

Posted by September 12th, 2005 No Comments »

Constantine
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz
Director: Francis Lawrence

By Kasey Anderson

Based on chapters from the Hellblazer graphic novels, “Constantine” wants to be equal parts eye candy and morality tale. Unfortunately, director Francis Lawrence and star Keanu Reeves are only able to deliver half of that equation. Lawrence, a former music video director (and it shows) makes his feature directorial debut in stunning visual fashion, crafting a film that manages to be visually stimulating without overwhelming the material.

Reeves, as protagonist John Constantine, doesn’t fare so well.

Employing his trademark wooden demeanor (which should, in theory, be an effective tactic when one is playing a cancer-ridden demon hunter), Reeves sulks and grimaces his way through the film, attempting what one would assume is stoicism, but comes off looking simply bemused. Whether he’s overwhelmed by the potential of large-scale destruction, or by the substantial talents of his supporting cast (Rachel Weisz, Shia LeBouf, and Djimon Hounsou all turn in solid performances) is uncertain, but the one emotion Reeves seems eminently capable of portraying is “Huh?”

Constantine
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz
Director: Francis Lawrence

By Kasey Anderson

Based on chapters from the Hellblazer graphic novels, “Constantine” wants to be equal parts eye candy and morality tale. Unfortunately, director Francis Lawrence and star Keanu Reeves are only able to deliver half of that equation. Lawrence, a former music video director (and it shows) makes his feature directorial debut in stunning visual fashion, crafting a film that manages to be visually stimulating without overwhelming the material.

Reeves, as protagonist John Constantine, doesn’t fare so well.

Employing his trademark wooden demeanor (which should, in theory, be an effective tactic when one is playing a cancer-ridden demon hunter), Reeves sulks and grimaces his way through the film, attempting what one would assume is stoicism, but comes off looking simply bemused. Whether he’s overwhelmed by the potential of large-scale destruction, or by the substantial talents of his supporting cast (Rachel Weisz, Shia LeBouf, and Djimon Hounsou all turn in solid performances) is uncertain, but the one emotion Reeves seems eminently capable of portraying is “Huh?”

The premise is easy enough to digest: The troubled Constantine must stop the son of Satan from inhabiting the body of Weisz’s Angela, a police officer who happens to be a powerful psychic, so as to prevent Armageddon, chaos, and an eternity of hell on earth. Standing in Constantine’s way are various demons – of both the ethereal and psychological variety – and a nicotine habit bad enough to give him terminal lung cancer. Apart from Peter Stormare’s delightfully campy turn as Satan, everything is as you’d expect it to be, which is to say “Constantine” is a moderately enjoyable and visually pleasing film, but nothing more.

In the end, “Constantine” is Reeves’ film, and where he fails, so fails the film. Everything looks good enough, but all of the style in the world won’t add substance if your leading man can’t carry the weight of the material. And when said material is a comic book, the ineptitude of the actor is all that much more glaring. As Constantine weaves his way through the supernatural mystery, chain-smoking and flipping the bird, the film starts to lose sight of what could have been a fascinating premise, and Lawrence’s flair behind the camera is marred by Reeves’ ineptitude in front of it. – (5/10)


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