Directed by Francis Lawrence
Written by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello from the comic book Hellblazer
Starring Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz



Here's the story of "Constantine," as I understand it: God is Catholic, the Devil is Catholic, Keanu Reeves is, well, John Constantine, which doesn't actually mean very much except that he has to keep the devil and his minions away from where the people live. I'm afraid I missed just how he does it, but never mind. There's much more going on anyway. Rachel Weisz plays detective Angela Dodson, and also her suicidal sister Isabel, and for reasons we need not go into here there is something inside Angela's belly that reminds you of a cross between Rosemary's baby and "Alien." There are also a great many occasions when people are whisked backwards out of the room and through doors and windows into, well, I don't know exactly, it looks like thin air, and then poor Angela must be drowned in order not to go to hell, and then there is the Angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton in full "Orlando" mode), who sends people to either heaven or hell, or maybe both. And let's not forget the devil (Peter Stormare). He reminds me a lot of Jeffrey Tambor in "Arrested Development," and in fact I thought that's who it was. And did I mention that Keanu Reeves chain-smokes through the whole film? In fact Gabriel tells him right away that he's dying of lung cancer and will go to hell. But does he pay attention? Not him; he's got work to do, though I'm afraid I didn't quite get just what it is. Oh, and there's a, how shall I put this, a very problematic scene in which a whole crowd of innocent people is herded together into a closed room, and Keanu deliberately triggers some kind of lethal discharge from the ceiling which kills them all. I believe he was sending them to hell. Umm, was there no one at the studio who could catch that before it was shot? Or at least before it got to the theatres? Or at least before somebody who remembered the Holocaust saw it? I guess not.

Listen - I'm not an expert, but this film is more Catholic than "The Passion of the Christ," though not nearly as much fun. However, we do visit hell a couple of times, though not heaven - well, wait a minute; I think I caught a glimpse of it. Or maybe not. You see, poor Isabel commits suicide at the beginning of the film, which keeps her from going to heaven. But maybe she was trying to tell Angela something before she died. Yes! Angela just breathes on the window and a message appears! It's a bible verse! Whoa, we're on to something now! Except that we're not. It's just more people being blown backwards. But not to worry; the sequel is coming, so the cancer won't kill him for a while. Just light up.

I don't want to pick on poor Keanu Reeves; he has little enough talent as it is, but talk about bad career choices, he hasn't made a good one since "Little Buddha," and you can't really go wrong playing Siddhartha. Maybe he thought Buddha's good karma would rub off on him, but obviously not.