Meg’s review published on Letterboxd:
Okay, so first of all, this is a good movie. And the only reason it was panned upon release was because 2005 was a super fashionable time to call Keanu Reeves a bad actor. It's interesting. Keanu is eternal and constant, yet the critical consensus of his abilities cycles over and over and over. He's good. He's bad. He's good. He's bad.
Keanu is not changing. He remains the utterly open and empathetic actor who gently draws you into his roles in every film. He is 100% earnest and sincere at all times. It is the public who vacillates between viewing him with adoration and mockery. It is the public who hides in cynicism.
TL;DR: We don't deserve Keanu Reeves.
Now, to the actual film log.
Let me set the scene: it's after midnight when Malakie and I roll into my apartment and settle in to watch Constantine. For me, the mood is long-day-of-work-tiredness mixed with the hazy contentedness that comes from just sitting and watching a movie with Malakie (an experience I do not take for granted). We joke about our deeply religious childhoods making the viewing experience totes wild.
The movie starts. Keanu is all laconic professionalism and weariness. Rachel Weisz is her perfect self.
About 40 minutes into the movie (close to 1AM), a loud beeping sound is heard. It sounds like an alarm--a fire alarm even. It is not coming from inside my apartment. I hop out on my deck, and it seems to be coming from an upstairs apartment. The noise is so loud that people in buildings across the street have come out of their homes to figure it out. Eventually, it cannot be ignored, and Malakie and I abandon our bystander syndrome and go upstairs to check on that apartment. I knock, and the sound immediately stops. No response from inside.
So, yes, my mother warned me what would happen if I watched movies with demons in it, and also, OUR SELFLESSNESS AND WILLINGNESS TO CARE ABOUT OTHERS SAVED OUR MOVIE-VIEWING EXPERIENCE.
It was a real 4DX experience, for sure.
Anyway, this movie is stunning in so many ways. The stylized camerawork and color-grading that mark it to 2005 in every single way is delightful. The costuming is spot-on. Tilda Swinton as Gabriel #bestillmyheart. Peter Stormare as Lucifer. Djimon Hounsou not getting enough to do, but still being the best. The scene where Keanu punches Gavin Rossdale with cross-marked brass-knuckles. KEANU AND THE CAT STARING AT EACH OTHER.
Rachel Weisz is my one true queen, and good golly she is lovely here. I would adore seeing her and Keanu in a third film together (CHAIN REACTION is all-time). They are both project seemingly-effortless and endless sweetness and empathy: a perfect pairing. Malakie remarked how often Rachel Weisz seemed to just be walking around with tears in her eyes in this, and that is absolutely correct and exactly what my soul loves to see.
Keanu, Keanu, Keanu. How does he manage to give us so much when we appreciate so little. John Constantine works as an enduring character because Keanu imbues him not just with world-weariness, but with hope. It is simplistic and easy to create a cynical, world-weary character who doesn't care anymore. They can say their cynical lines and look cool. Many actors would have stopped there with Constantine. But, Keanu does more. His character is cynical because he hurts. It's not that he doesn't care anymore--it's that he cares too much. His gooey heart is filled with rejection and sadness and hope. He's trying and trying and trying.
goddamn iconic work here.
Anyway, sign up for the waitlist for my new 600-page book about Keanu's earnest gazing in film and why that is the pinnacle of all art. bye.