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Constantine is a 2005 American action horror film directed by Francis Lawrence as his directorial debut, starring Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, with Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, and Djimon Hounsou. With a screenplay by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Capello, the film is based on Vertigo Comics' Hellblazer comic book, with plot elements taken from the "Dangerous Habits" story arc (issues #41-46) and the "Original Sins " trade paperback. The character of John Constantine was introduced by noted comic book writer/creator Alan Moore while writing the Swamp Thing (comic book), first appearing there in June 1985.
John Constantine is an exorcist who lives in Los Angeles. Born with the power to see angels and demons on Earth, he committed suicide at age 15 after being unable to cope with his visions. Constantine was revived by paramedics but spent two minutes in Hell. He knows that because of his actions his soul is condemned to damnation when he dies, and has recently learned that he has developed cancer as a result of his smoking habit..
After a case involving a full-fledged demon trying to break onto the "human plane," Constantine seeks an audience with the androgynous half-breed angel Gabriel. He asks Gabriel for a reprieve from death so that he can continue fighting demons, which Gabriel declines. Constantine is told that his exorcisms will not gain him a reprieve from Hell because his motives are selfish. As he leaves, Constantine repels an attack by a full-fledged demon out in the open. This encounter prompts him to meet with former witch doctor Papa Midnite. While there Constantine also encounters half-breed demon Balthazar (Gavin Rossdale), who informs him that all of Hell is waiting for him to die and that he is the one soul Satan would come to Earth personally to collect. Constantine begins investigating the situation with his associates Beeman, Hennessy, and Chas Kramer. L.A.P.D. Detective Angela Dodson also shows up at Constantine's apartment looking for his help with her investigation into her twin sister Isabel's death. Isabel leapt to her death from the top of a mental hospital, and despite camera footage showing it Angela is convinced that Isabel would never commit suicide. At first Constantine mocks her and denies her request for help, but after demons attack Angela on the street outside Constantine agrees to look into her sister's death. He informs Angela that God and Lucifer are engaged in a proxy war; a standing wager for the souls of all mankind. Neither true angels nor demons can manifest on Earth, but they are allowed to possess and influence humans. Both sides also use "half-breeds" to peddle influence for their cause.
Hennessy and Beeman's findings lead Constantine to the conclusion that Mammon, Lucifer's son, is seeking to create his own kingdom on Earth by breaking through onto the human plane. To do so, Mammon requires a powerful psychic and assistance from God. Balthazar begins killing Constantine's associates and Angela reveals that she and her sister possessed the same gift as Constantine. Angela refused her visions and they went dormant, but Isabel tried to tell everyone about them and was institutionalized for it. Constantine reawakens Angela's psychic ability through a near death experience, then hunts down and interrogates Balthazar who reveals that Mammon has obtained the Spear of Destiny, which has the blood of Jesus Christ encrusted on it. The psychic Mammon needs is Angela, who is abducted by an unseen force and taken to Isabel's hospital to be used as the portal for Mammon’s entrance to Earth. Constantine convinces Midnite to allow him to use "The Chair", an old electric chair from Sing Sing Prison that had killed over 200 inmates. The Chair shows Constantine a vision that the spear was discovered in Mexico and has been brought to Los Angeles. Constantine and Chas head to the hotel and interrupt the ritual, but Chas is beaten to death by an unseen force in the process.
Using incantations and sigils tattooed on his arms, Constantine attempts to bring Chas back to life, but is stopped by Gabriel. Gabriel subdues Constantine immediately and reveals that the plan to release Mammon was Gabriel's. Gabriel laments God’s favoritism towards humans and believes that bringing Hell to Earth will enable those who survive to become truly worthy of God’s love through repentance and faith. Gabriel then throws Constantine from the room and begins to draw forth Mammon. As Gabriel moves to stab Angela with the Spear and release Mammon, Constantine slits his wrists. Time stops as Lucifer arrives to personally collect his soul. Constantine tells Lucifer about Mammon’s plan and Lucifer sends Mammon back to Hell. When Gabriel attempts to smite Lucifer, the angel's wings are burned away and Gabriel becomes human. In return for his help, Lucifer grants Constantine a favor. He asks Lucifer to allow Isabel to go to Heaven. As Lucifer drags Constantine towards Hell, he is redeemed by his self sacrifice and begins to rise into Heaven. Infuriated by the idea of losing Constantine's soul, Lucifer heals his wounds and cures him of his cancer so that he may live again. Constantine departs with the Spear after refusing the temptation to kill Gabriel, and gives the Spear to Angela instructing her to hide it, then forget it. As he watches her leave, instead of producing a cigarette, he starts to chew on some nicotine gum.
In closing, Constantine visits Chas' grave. He leaves his lighter that he always used. When he leaves, Chas appears as an angel with wings and flies upward to the sky. Constantine smiles, shakes his head and leaves.
- Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, a chain-smoking cynical individual with the ability to perceive the true visage of half-angels and half-demons on the human plane. Constantine is damned to Hell for committing suicide—a mortal sin—and has terminal lung cancer.
- Rachel Weisz
- As Isabel Dodson, a powerful psychic and involuntarily committed mental patient with the ability to see half-demons and half-angels. She is damned to Hell for committing suicide.
- As Angela Dodson, a troubled Los Angeles Police Department Detective investigating what she believes to be the murder of her twin sister, Isabel.
- Shia LaBeouf as Chas Kramer, John Constantine's driver and student. Kramer has a strong interest in the occult and helps Constantine whenever possible in order to gain knowledge and experience from him.
- Tilda Swinton as Gabriel, an androgynous, half-breed angel with a disdain for humanity.
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Father Hennessy, an insomniac, alcoholic priest with the ability to communicate with the dead. He constantly drinks in order to "keep the voices out".
- Djimon Hounsou as Papa Midnite, a former witch-doctor who once fought against Hell. After swearing an oath of neutrality - unless one side should tip the balance of power - he opened a nightclub to serve as neutral meeting ground for both sides of the war between Heaven and Hell.
- Gavin Rossdale as Balthazar, a half-breed demon with a special penchant for, and personal history with, Constantine.
- Peter Stormare as Lucifer, a fallen angel who is in a proxy war with God for the souls of all mankind. Lucifer loathes Constantine with such vigor that Constantine's is the only soul which he would ever come to personally collect.
- Max Baker as Beeman, a friend of Constantine's with a liking for exotic materials and insects. He serves as both a supplier of holy objects and relayer of information to Constantine.
Difference between the comics
John Constantine here is portrayed as an American with black hair. The setting is moved from London to Los Angeles. John is also portrayed here as gun happy in using guns, and is more rooted on Judeo-Christian mythology.
- Markstein, Don. "Don Markstein's Toonopedia: John Constantine". Retrieved 2007-05-31