Constantine, directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Keanu Reeves as the DC Comics hero, was released in 2005, however, viewers were quick to point out that this film adaptation of John Constantine didn’t look or sound anything like the one from the comics. For certain comic book enthusiasts, the discrepancies were a turnoff, which may have contributed to the film’s mediocre critical performance (it has a 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). Also noteworthy is that Constantine was released so soon after Reeves’ part in The Matrix trilogy, which led to unwarranted comparisons between the two movies. In addition, comic book movies were yet to make their mark in 2005.
Whichever the explanations, despite the existence of a really nasty demon and no shortage of graphic splendor, many people disregarded Constantine when it originally came out. With Reeves currently on the rise courtesy of the John Wick trilogy, it’s time to revisit this underappreciated masterpiece of a film. You might be shocked to find that Constantine, released in 2005, is a better movie than you thought.
#1 Peter Stormare Plays One Of The Most Memorable Movie Satans
We first meet Constantine’s Satan, played by Peter Stormare, as scorching tar pours down from his bare feet and stains the hem of his white clothes. He pulls up a chair to torment Constantine, dressed in a white suit, and the mix of Stormare’s elegance and bizarre gestures delivers one of the most memorable demons ever placed on the screen.
#2 Hell Is Depicted As Undergoing A Perpetual Nuclear Blast
concept was that hell is a parallel reality,” said visual effects director Mike Fink. “It exists as a full copy of our reality in another realm. You have the same buildings, streets, and rooms as before. The difference is that everything appears to be constantly bombarded by a nuclear heatwave. This universe will never stop crumbling. It just doesn’t stop.”
#3 The Film Is Littered With Visual Tics And Gags
There are several sights hidden in Constantine’s complex representation of Los Angeles. It might be as subtle as the digits 666 buried in the emblem painted on the wall of the bowling alley where John Constantine stays, or as blatant as the poster that says “have faith.” Another time, while hunched down coughing in the rain, Constantine glances up to see a sign that reads, “Your time is running out… to buy a new Chevy.”
#4 Constantine’ Is A Supernatural Film Noir
The picture employs a slew of cinema noir tropes. Constantine has seen it all, or so he thought until a lady who is more than she looks causes unexpected problems in his life. What appears to be a basic probe turns out to be part of a much larger scheme.
#5 The Mystic Is Preserved By Ambiguity
The mechanics of heaven and hell are quite obvious, and Constantine’s philosophy is firmly founded in Catholicism, yet there are still several unanswered story concerns in this movie. Constantine’s universe is filled with things we never see, which is a pleasure for those who want their supernatural to be unmanifested and real. That’s a huge selling factor for aficionados of ambiguity in the supernatural.
#6 The Demons Are Successfully Creepy
While the majority of Constantine’s conflicts are between the eponymous character and human-looking “half-breeds,” there have to be some genuine demons tossed in for good measure. Aside from a “Vermin Man” made composed of bugs, snakes, and other insects, most of the monsters in the movie resemble human cadavers missing the top half of their heads. It’s an intriguing image that was inspired by actual autopsies and the work of Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski.
#7 The Supporting Cast Is Impressive
Alongside Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Tilda Swinton, and Peter Stormare in the lead roles, the Constantine supporting cast includes several well-known actors. Pruitt Taylor Vince, who starred in Stranger Things, portrays a priest who experiences visions that push him to drink. Followers of Deadwood and Community will recognize Larry Cedar as a fiend comprised of bugs and snakes. Even Chad Stahelski, who later directed Reeves in the John Wick films, makes an appearance.
#8 Tilda Swinton Plays A Deranged Angel In A Breakout Role
Tilda Swinton, as Gabriel, is wearing a really beautiful suit and standing in front of a fireplace in a church library the first time we encounter her in Constantine. It’s a quick but unforgettable moment in which Swinton stole the spotlight, but it’s not the final time Gabriel appears on the screen. Swinton is clothed in an odd white outfit when the angel appears again, complete with hundreds of hospital wristbands that indicate themes like “sorrow” and “passion.”
#9 Constantine Fights Demons With Supernatural Gimmicks
When you’re going to combat demons, you’ll need some handy weapons, and Constantine has many of them. There’s Jordan holy water and an Amityville screech beetle that, according to Beeman, is “like nails on a chalkboard” to the Fallen. Before everything is said and done, a mystic cross is employed to build a holy water sprinkler system. How far could you really go wrong when your film has blessed brass knuckles?
#10 Djimon Hounsou Runs An Underground Bar For Creatures Of The Night
In Constantine, Djimon Hounsou portrayed Papa Midnite. Midnite, a “crusader for good who signed the oath of neutrality,” manages a nightclub catering to “those who rise and those who fall,” a safe haven for “half-breed” angels and demons alike.