My post for today was going to be entitled "Pleasure and Mastery," but breaking news has made that a story for another day. I saw Constantine tonight. My husband's review was "boring, uninteresting, and distasteful," and I concur--I defy anyone not to. But he said it like it was a bad thing, whereas I found myself strangely absorbed by this film, in that way where you notice you're absorbed by something--not really absorbed, but absorbed enough to startle yourself into noticing . . . Okay, enough of that.
The still center of the movie was Keanu Reeves in his black suit and black raincoat. Doesn't sleep, eats once, drinks, smokes a lot--a lot!--and casts demons and angels out of "this plane," which is to say, earth.
His is a dry performance, which is not to say stiff. People have wrongfully misinterpreted his performances, I believe. Wooden? Stiff? Why not "stylized"? Why not "conceptual"? Why not "postmodern," even? I don't want to start a fight with anyone, but I must say that that half whispered performance balanced out the florid, excessive imagery of the film. At one point, a spider skitters across his kitchen table. He inverts the glass he has just drained (whiskey) over the spider, takes a drag off his cigarette, then lifts the edge of the glass just enough to blow smoke under it. The spider draws back as if in horror against the far wall of the glass; Constantine whispers, "Welcome to my world." Supercool. Or not, I'm not sure. All I'm saying is it gave me a smile.
Add to this Tilda Swinton as a Jean-Paul Gaultier-style Gabriel--like Peter Pan in bondage gear, but all white, if you can add that up--and Peter Stormare as Lucifer (also dressed in white, but with tarry feet; when Gabriel calls him "Little Horn," he sucks in his breath and says, "how I miss the old names!"), and you've got a really good bad movie. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good bad movie--and honestly who among us does not?