If you can get away with only a rolling of eyes in the first ten minutes of this film where Neo punches a demon out of a mirror, then you?re bound to find the rest of the film tolerable. Tolerable, but not very good. The story of [/font][i][font=Verdana]Constantine[/font][/i][font=Verdana] obviously reaches for a far more epic scope, one in which we only get a hint of. Perhaps epic is too strong of a word since it mostly deals with a mystery suicide and a world where demons and angels etc. are more realized than usual (but strangely unnoticed by everyone else despite entire city blocks getting swarmed by hell?s angels), but it?s there all right. Perhaps the story was just not very good, and the execution didn?t help. [/font] [font=Verdana]
Even though the character?s name is the title of the film, we get to know surprisingly few about him other than his powers and his past experience with his gift. Presently, he?s not exactly the most interesting one which I find strange when knowing how tormented the character is. Keanu Reeves hardly impresses, but I don?t think I need to tell you that. While the supporting actors do a good job, their characters are merely plot points or are as interesting as a sack of rice, sometimes both. [/font]
[font=Verdana]While the visual style of the film is impressive, everything else just feels lacking, anti-climactic, and largely underdeveloped. It feels like the story is reaching far greater heights but is persistently pulled down by the talent involved in telling it. Mediocre is the word, I believe. It?s not awful, but it?s nothing memorable either, which is strange considering the story is about Lucifer?s grandson being born into the Earth. The video game-esque crucifix-gun scene was amusing though, and if you want to know the true meaning of a Deus ex machina, the film?s ending practically shows how it was done back in the day. [/font]
[i][font=Verdana]Walk the Line [/font][/i][font=Verdana]is nothing extraordinary. It tells the story of John Cash simply and straightforward, and that?s about it. It could just be another dull biopic. However, because of the performances, it manages to go above than just an Oscar-bait studio film. I suppose that I don?t need to say much about [/font][font=Verdana]Phoenix[/font][font=Verdana] and Witherspoon?s performances except that they make this entire film work so well. It?s a success because of their performances as I said earlier, and their singing is ridiculously good as well, don?t forget that. Mangold treated the story and performances as if it was everyday stuff, and it works perfectly in context of the film. It?s dramatic without going over-the-top, simple yet very affecting. Also worthy of mention is how the concert scenes were shot, focusing entirely on the two characters on stage where each actor?s facial expressions tell the story of both characters alone. That?s how great they really are.[/font]
[i]"Beneath this mask is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof."
While the film?s story and message (which is in every way as relevant today as it was when Alan Moore?s graphic novel was published I don?t know how many years ago) can?t work its way into an empty subtlety train that goes to South Subtle City even if you subtlety pointed a gun at its face, it was simple enough that nothing ends up getting shoved down your throat. [/font] [font=Verdana]
Thinking of a plotline summary for this film would be quite the challenge as I can imagine. The film is not necessarily about the evils of the government, dictatorship, and totalitarianism, but it?s about the tragic story of a character who survived a horrific experiment by the government and how he wants to not just wake up the people of England who are under this dictatorship, but to shake them, slap them, and even terrorize them into doing something about it. But V?s past and how he became that way was simply covered in a flashback, so it mustn?t be all about V, but about the dictatorship, right? Well, not really. At least, it?s not that simple. While it?s the government that drives the lead character?s actions and motives, it was surprisingly treated almost like background stuff. It drives the entire film, but it doesn?t focus on it entirely either. The film is about many things and ideas, but for some reason, it decided to focus on Evey Hammond for a significant amount of time. Evey isn?t anything special. Nothing horrific happened to her, her job doesn?t require killing random people (however, it needs to stretch the truth to the people everyday), and she even meets V by [i]accident[/i]. What then follows is her journey through fearlessness. The film is, among other things, about the people. Evey [/font][font=Verdana]Hammond[/font][font=Verdana] is the people. And in the end, V is the people as well. By not seeing the man behind the mask, the people wearing the mask is V. He is everyone. [/font]
[font=Verdana]Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving do excellent work in the film. Praise should be given to Weaving for he truly makes his entirely-masked character come to life just by his voice and movements. McTiegue?s feature film debut, while very, very good, isn?t necessarily all that clear. I?m not really sure in certain moments if it?s the Wachowski?s vision in the film, or McTiegue?s. Nonetheless, he certainly has a very good future in films, and I hope we get to see more of him. [/font]