Saturday, March 12, 2005

SEXY APOCRYPHA? Well, I'm glad someone thinks so, even though the movie Constantine doesn't seem to rise to that level. Columnist Giles Coren reviews the movie for the London Times. You may want to skip the first half, which consists of self-indulgent Coren blather. But the second half, when he actually gets to the film, is kind of funny.
So imagine my delight when I heard he [Keanu Reeves] was to take the title role in Constantine. After Colin Farrell as Alexander the Great and Brad Pitt as Achilles, what could be more natural than Keanu as the man who converted Rome? Only Keanu could give credence to the story of the Emperor who saw a vision of the Cross before the Battle at the Milvian Bridge, built a new capital on the Bosphorus and laid the foundations of Christendom. In hoc signo vinces, duuuude.

When I got to the cinema, though, the posters were not promising. It was Keanu, back in his Matrix-period black coat, toting a silver machinegun in the shape of a cross. Under him, the legend: �The wager between Heaven and Hell is on Earth.� Um, like, I totally know that, dude. Are we talking Job, here? Or the temptation of Christ, maybe? Or the sort of sexy apocrypha that Milton worked up into Paradise Lost? The Bible is full of bets. They�re always the Devil�s idea, admittedly, but God just can�t seem to say no if the odds look half tasty. He�s a regular Sky Masterson, is the Lord.


As ever in Hollywood movies, leather-bound books are used to show that it�s all very old and mysterious. Nothing freaks out the Yanks more than a book. The genre here is legal-thriller meets classy historical adventure, as succinctly indicated when, mystified by the arrival of the wrong kind of zombie (a �soldier-demon�, I believe it is) Keanu yells to Rachel Weisz, in that gurgling wheeze of his: �Check the scrolls, see if there�s any precedents!�

Be warned, however, that the end of the review seems to have a major spoiler in it.

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