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"Constantine"

Constantine is a mildly difficult film to classify. On the one hand it’s not just another Keanu Reeves action-y flick, but on the other hand it’s not as intelligent as it thinks it is (if that makes sense).
Basic premise is that our Keanu is the titular Constantine, a physic who can see angels and demons. Well, actually it’s not so simple – angels and demons cannot “cross over to our plain”, so instead there are “half breeds”, who are not allowed to directly interfere with humans, but are allowed to influence them in an attempt to further their side’s aims. However, half breed demons – being the slippery characters that they are – often break these rules, and when they do Constantine tracks ’em down and “deports” them back to hello, using a variety of tricks, but mainly by blowinng them away with a crucifix shotgun.
Anyway, police officer’s twin sister commits suicide; police officier believes demonic activity was involved, and so tries to get Constantine to help her get to the bottom of it, and nefarious plot is uncovered, involving the end of the world.
The plot was actually quite engaging – not really enough to make it worth the effort trying to second guess what was going to happen, but watchable enough. The CGI was very good quality (especially the scenes from hell), and pleasingly understated, just like special effects should be. The film was wonderfully ambiguous too – there were no plain and simple “good guys”; even the half-breed angel (called Gabriel, although apparantly a female) has an appearance of all sweetness and light, but actually bristled with energy that was somewhere between sadistic and sexual, and at one point tells Constantine: “basically you’re f*cked”.
I think Gabriel comes very close to the show-stealing performance actually. I can’t quite name the actress, although I just know I’ll kick myself when I find out! Probably tieing with her is the main female lead, who again I know perfectly well but can’t quite put a name too (and no Internet!). Keanu was less convincing – for me he didn’t really capture the character he was meant to be playing, but as I said watchable enough.
I guess the fact that I had enough time to wonder about the use of language and symbols in the occult (as I’ve written about in LfL) might show that I wasn’t 100% captivated – but there were some very nice ideas in there, and a reasonable yarn. Worth watching on the telly – probably even worth getting out from the video shop, but not one to buy.
Seen at Vue, Edinburgh

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