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CONSTANTINE by Francis Lawrence

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Think you had a lousy day? Meet John Constantine (Keanu Reeves – shedding his ‘Neo’-style, -clothes and -personality). Constantine smokes 30 cigarettes a day, suffers from terminal lung cancer, is haunted by demons from hell, and he definitly knows that heaven and hell do exist – and that he will go to hell when he dies – and meet the servants of Satan there who he keeps sending back to hell. No surprise he’s not exactly pleasant company. And God won’t accept Constantine’s attempts to bargain his way into heaven in exchange for him hunting demons on earth – which is made clear by ‘Gabriel’ (Tilda Swinton – angelic and more).

When the very lance that was used to pierce Jesus’ heart at the cross is unearthed in Mexico, all the Antichrist needs to become manifest in our world is a strong medium – Detective Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz), who is, like Constantine, one of the few people who can see the ‘other side’. Unlike her twin sister Isabel (Rachel Weisz again) Angela has renounced her ability to see the demons around her since her youth – until Isabel commits suicide in a mental institution and Angela seeks out Constantine for help. It’s up to him to get in the way of Satan’s son whose plan is to open his own shop and build up a hellish reign on earth.

CONSTANTINE is based on the comic book ‘Hellblazer’, but the die-hard fans of the comic seem not too pleased with the movie. For those who don’t know the comic, this movie brings a welcome change in tone towards his monsters. They are not just there to be disposed of in a cool and winking way by a cool hero and – hooray! – they ain’t using ridiculous, absurd martial arts moves for some baffling reason like the monsters in other movies, this demons really mean it and they take no prisoners.
Heaven (Los Angeles in clouds) and Hell (Los Angeles burning within an eternal nuclear blast) may look cliched, and the demons not always state-of-the-art, but they are taken seriously and not just as an excuse to flash cool black leather and sunglasses; and the intense exorcism scene blessedly reminds more of The Exorcist than of ‘Charmed’.
If you like your monsters scary instead of ridiculous and your heros scarred rather than ‘cool’, give this movie a chance!

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