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Other than through a handful of appearances in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and a couple of Neil Gaiman titles I'm not really familiar with the Hellblazer mythology, which makes me ineligible to judge Constantine from the point of view of a comic book purist.

I do know that what John Constantine isn't is some sort of supernatural gadget man which is what the trailers made him out to be - lock and load holy water and all. Thankfully that sort of kitsch was kept to a reasonable level in the film.

What we did get was a decent story (I liked the cancer angle a lot) though with a very predictable reveal near the end, a lot of interesting visual concepts and nice textures (even when not show-offy).

Keanu Reeves does the dour well enough but lacks the sharp-edged wit that I believe the character needed. (Yes, I think Sting could have done a good job.) Rachel Weisz gets lost in her American accent and the general glumness of both her roles. Tilda Swinton is one of those casting choices that's somewhere between unusual and inevitable. It worked for me. The other supporting actors all do a good job taking bites out of the scenery to an extent appropriate to their parts.

That said, I was engaged mostly in my mind, sometimes in my gut and not at all in my heart.

Still, this was the best of the Alan Moore adaptations... not that that's saying much. Let's hope it sets the stage for even better movies with both V for Vendetta and Watchmen in the pipeline.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 28, 2005 3:18 PM.

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