Some 2 star movies are really just 1 star movies with good effects. Others are really just 2 star movies. Some, however, are actually 3 star movies. I believe that some movies do not get the credit they deserve because much better movies sandwich their release or the overarching cultural phenomenon of the time casts a pale shadow that the unfortunate movie cannot escape. The unstoppable march of time frees these once dubious movies from their dark circumstances. "Constantine" may be such a movie.
I can understand the ho-hum response to "Constantine". In the previews we see Keanu Reeves acting quite a lot like Neo from "The Matrix" movies. He wears a dark trench coat, runs around with a gun, and glass flies in slow motion. It looked like a cross between "The Matrix" and "Stigmata" and did not look like a good movie.
In fact, "Constantine" is a good movie. Although It is not a great movie worthy of academic discussion, cultlike fandom, or more than 3 stars, it is unique, sincere, visually striking, and probably well acted. Constantine, a.k.a. Keanu Reeves, is very serious guy with a serious problem, he is going to hell. Never does the movie forget that this character lives with such a dismal realty; there are no out-of-place quips or lame romances. The characters may be complex, but they stay on task and are thus believable in an unbelievable tale. We also get see hell, and it is as fresh a view of traditional hell as it is comprehensive.
Really, this movie is about as good as it can be. The main character is depressing and not in the quirky "House" kind of way. Half the movie is about giving us the rules on the division between heaven and hell and a mystery that makes no sense even after it is solved. In other words, half of the moving is boring. Sometimes when I watch a mediocre movie, I think of how it could be better. I'm not sure how "Constantine" could have been better, but I know how it could have been much worth. Kudos the film for also exposing the hazards of smoking. That is at least worth an extra star.
Tagged: untimely reviews