Little Spiritual or Cinematic Value Offered in "Constantine"
- Thursday, February 17, 2005
Bad theology is not the only problem hindering “Constantine,” whose plot meanders more than the River Styx. Perhaps “Hellblazer” devotees will have little trouble understanding all the contortions, but everyone else will be left shaking their heads in confusion. The screen adaptation, which came from a DC Comics/Vertigo series called “Hellblazer,” was written by a pair whose main credits involve a Steven Seagal movie and one starring Hulk Hogan, so I suppose it’s not surprising. The film is also directed by someone with no experience in feature films (this is his first). This probably explains why you feel like you’re in a music video (his background) – albeit one with lots of CGI.
Reeves plays the same role he usually plays in films – the stoic hero who talks in monotones and says “Whoa!” Weisz does a good job with her role, along with Shia LaBeouf, who plays Constantine’s cab-driving sidekick. Taylor Vance gives us yet another sick, stereotypical priest. He’s an alcoholic who can’t resist the bottle, and he eventually goes insane and kills himself. Enough already with the evil priests, please.
Gavin Rossdale gives an excellent performance as Balthazar, Satan’s little helper. Equally ignoble is Midnight (Djimon Hounsou), the owner of a bar who helps Constantine travel back and forth with an electric chair, in between serving drinks to half-breeds on his “neutral” territory. As Satan, Peter Stormare gives a rather clichéd performance with little insight into who this character might actually be.
Overall, despite a massive marketing campaign to the Christian media (which, for the life of me, I cannot understand), “Constantine” offers no spiritual or moral value. Unfortunately, it has little cinematic value, either. It’s convoluted, dark and disingenuous. It’s also extremely violent – gratuitously so. Moreover, by attempting to make evil so fascinating, it may tempt many to dabble in the occult.
Balance? Not in this film. Blaze your way out of this one.
AUDIENCE: Adults only
- Drugs/Alcohol Content: Characters drink and smoke throughout the film.
- Language/Profanity: Approximately two dozen obscenities and profanities, including one f- word.
- Sexual Content/Nudity: Man hesitates when a woman offers to take off her clothes for a “trip” to Hell; woman’s cleavage & nipples can be seen through bra.
- Violence: Pedestrian is killed in violent, head-on collision; woman confesses to what appears to be serial murder (to which priest says, “God has a plan” and reassures her); woman jumps to her death from a tall building; man splits blood; man stabs himself repeatedly in the hand with an ice pick, then dies; man commits murder offscreen; numerous hand-to-hand “combat” scenes with demons; people are killed in various ways by demons; characters commit suicide in several scenes (but come back to life); man drowns a woman; girl crashes violently through window, being pulled by demonic forces – and more.
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