Rated R for "violence and demonic images," Constantine is, depending on your view of such things, either an epic fantasy or a fully realized view of the afterlife. In either case, it's an absorbing popcorn movie with attitude to spare, including a spectacularly jarring opening.
John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is a surly, amoral practitioner of the dark arts who's fought the devil's minions and won, but he can't conquer his personal demon—cigarettes. Faced with terminal lung cancer, he also faces an incursion from the netherworld into our own. Reeves' flat line readings don't get much in the way, which is a credit to Francis Lawrence's dynamically paced direction. The wonderful Rachel Weisz plays both psychic cop Angela Dodson and her twin, Isabel, a suicide consigned to eternal damnation. Angela's belief that Isabel was possessed leads Constantine to make an Orpheus-like visit to hell—a special-effects tour de force. Tilda Swinton also stars as an androgynous angel, and Peter Stormare plays Satan with the blackest of humor.
The filmmakers took full advantage of the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the 2.40:1 anamorphic format, with the hell sequence's fiery colors and demonic screams a real treat on a good multimedia system.
There's an array of special features, including deleted scenes, a commentary, and featurettes. The DVD includes a miniature comic that reprints an issue of Hellblazer, the comic that the film is based on, in which Constantine learns he has cancer. It's a nice touch and a good incentive for those who may want to follow more of Constantine's hellblazing adventures.