I wonder ... why is it that I can't write reviews for the movies I really like ? Mumbling and err-ing and waving my hands and ending with "just watch it, really watch it" is not a proper review. Not quite.

What can I say about this movie ? Hellblazer it ain't. not even close. But couldn't have said that if it wasn't for the movie itself. Because this is the movie which made me read comics. It added the final straw on what Sin City and 300 started. And when the first comic book one ever picks up is Hellblazer... the world suddenly seems a totally different place. Especially if one reads 234 comics issues in three weeks...
It's also the only movie I watched four times in twenty-four hours. You decide whether it's magic or addiction- or both.

I repeat, the movie is not Hellblazer. It's mostly a watered-down loose adaptation of it. Of the story, I mean.
But Constantine's essence is there. The sarcasm, the cynicism, the guilt, the anger, the knowledge, the attitude. And the cigarette, of course.
what 'they' added is the holy shotgun. and funny enough, it works. even the chewing-gum joke works. Because they got the atmosphere right.

The comics were one thing, and the movie adds a new dimension to it. Can't help but notice the differences between the two mediums, and how the story works in both of them... while in the comics the story is usually a first-person narration, what Lawrence and Keanu gave us was an apparently silent character, whose inner thoughts could be at best guessed, but never known.
Apparently a blank page, on which each member of the audience could project something else, depending on one's own background... that's sort of magic ;)
And in the same time, a complex character who will go his own way regardless of everyone's projections.
I like that ;)
And then, the subtleties, the slightly different tone in each scene... Constantine is quite a puzzle, and each of the other characters gets to see only one facet of him. It's only us, the audience, who get to see them all. which is one of the oldest tricks of storytelling, and yet it works just fine. or maybe it's just because of that ? ;)

And the fanboys are right, this is not 'their' Constantine. Not exactly the one in the comics. It's rather an alternate version of the character. But while his back story is less grittier than the one given to him by Jamie Delano, he can be even more noble than how Paul Jenkins wrote him... and for whomever read the comics, that says a lot. "that" Constantine would scheme and plan and plot. "this" Constantine , when faced with the inevitable, literally says "to hell with it", and makes his death really count. was it an elaborate con? was it an altruistic impulse ? take your bets ;)

And that's the beauty of it.

( review posted also at WINM)