hopscotchee: keanu reeves score: 66 rating: R time: 121 minutes
obviously, to no surprise, constantine was added to batch three for its keanu factor. that said, unlike the misfortune that was braum stoker's dracula, constantine was not a disappointment for our eyes and actually had a plot that held up despite what its graphics may have you believe. and even though this isn't the most popular mr. reeves film by word of mouth, this movie is far from a bummer and has some quality tricks up its sleeve. (OBVIOUSLY minus the fact this is one of 'em early aughts movies that shia ladouche weaseled his way into. but we won't be talking about him in our review, so you can continue peacefully.)
the strongest category in constantine was hands down (hashtag dashboard confessional) the shot comp. truly, we were blown away by its lack of basic-ness. usually in 'older' (said with the upmost respect) films, especially those in the early 2000s, you'll find that most shots were just planned to get the scene done instead of planned for purpose and art. but when it came to constantine, no sssiiirrrryyy!! that's not at all what we saw. our eyes were treated to a laundry list of beautiful, crafty center-shots that artfully paralleled the thematic balance and battle between heaven and hell. and these center-shots were not just sprinkled on top, they were baked in like a yummy confetti cake!! (did that bakery analogy work??) what we mean by this is that, the center-shots didn't come to play for just "that one really good shot"; it wasn't just staged for one dramatic key frame or the it-shot. instead, the shots were heavily seen throughout, including a back-and-forth of two center-shots, during the convo between contantine and angela (after her first demon encounter in the street). it was a reverse angle* type sitch that was done very well, so we applaud the suave-ness in that department 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 it was definitely not what we were expecting for a show that's 17 years old!!
**a reverse angle is a shot used in filming (mainly in conversations) where the two shots are very much the same. they have the same distance, focal length, position, etc for both of the characters. its purpose is essentially to make it appealing to the audience's eye.
similarly, another aspect of this film that we appreciated was its script and story. since its based off of dc comics' original character of the same name (however typically found in the hellblazer series), we can't fully say that the story was made from scratch. yet, the amount of complexity that the screenwriters decided to keep or add in was very captivating. on the other hand, some might find this complexity confusing, because, fair warning, this film is heavily reliant on subtext. at least at the beginning. now, we aren't talking about subtext like the rude amount that slapped us in the face during season four of stranger things when concerning byler. the subtext in constantine wasn't deliberately trying to mislead you, they were just trying to captivate first and unfold second. generally, this isn't a bad outline, yet when it came to this juicy, backstory-rich plot, the outline may have had a few 'backfiring' moments.
lastly, all this said, the one downside to this film came from its sound. the audio was too quiet during dialogue, leading you to crank your sound system just to be assaulted in the ears when any music would play. now, one would assume that this would've been fine during the scenes where shia labeouf is running his mouth, however this is less pleasant when trying to hear keanu, rachel, or what the plot is about. so, sound....not our favorite category - even if the sound mixers were time travelers and were trying to do us a favor.
overall, if there is anything that should be your takeaway it is that keantie is what we should be shipping!! and constantine was a surprisingly enjoyable watch. if comics and demonic-underlining storylines aren't your fav, that's all good. we won't force this one upon you, but just know, this 2005 baddie is far more than just dc comic guru fuel and a whole lot more keanu action than the insult that was braum stoker's dracula. we cannot apologize enough for that one. oof!!
-- thanks, beau (aka keanu) xo