Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
Action/Adventure, Suspense, Thriller, Fantasy
2 hr. 1 min.
Year of Release:
SATAN AND DEMONS
SATAN—Is he a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
POSSESSION—Can Christians be demon possessed? Answer
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer
What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer
How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
HOW TO STAY OUT OF HELL
What is “repentance”? Answer
What is “redemption”? Answer
What is “forgiveness”? Answer
What is “salvation”? Answer
Are you good enough to go to Heaven? Answer
What does the Bible say about suicide? Answer
If a born-again Christian commits suicide, will he go to Heaven or Hell? Answer
How did bad things come about? Answer
CANCER—Where did it come from? Answer
What was Adam, the first man, really like? Answer
What does the Bible teach us about angels? Who or what are they? Answer
Hell wants him. Heaven won’t take him. Earth needs him.
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “John Constantine has been to hell and back. Born with a gift he didn’t want, the ability to recognize the half-breed angels and demons that walk the earth in human camouflage, Constantine (Keanu Reeves) was driven to take his own life to escape the tormenting clarity of his vision. But he failed. Resuscitated against his will, he found himself cast back into the land of the living. Now, marked as an attempted suicide with a temporary lease on life, he patrols the earthly border between heaven and hell, hoping in vain to earn his way to salvation by waging war on the earthbound minions of evil.
Based on the DC/Vertigo comic book Hellblazer.
Employed by heaven, but doomed to hell, the hero of the theological thriller Constantine seems more inconstant than constant regarding his final destiny. His purpose on earth of exorcising demons remains fixed until a terminal disease will eventually claim his life and seal his fate. But maybe.just maybe, there is hope for him and humanity.
John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) was born with a gift to see into the spirit world. Overwhelmed at a young age, he took his own life and saw hell, but was miraculously spared and allowed to live. Now fated to hell because of this sin, he works, begrudgingly, casting out demons and battling evil in the spirit world.
After an indifferent introduction to a police officer named Angela (Rachel Weisz), John decides to help her investigate her twin sister’s supposed suicide and open her eyes to the spiritual battle raging all around them. When a spiritual gift of Angela’s resurfaces, she becomes a pawn for the devil, and John must decide if and how he will save her.
This movie is packed with thrills and scares and does include some frightening images. One scene in the beginning shows a possessed woman having a demon exorcised out of her. Other scenes involve flurries of demons flying around the main characters, as well as some moments where they visit hell. The images are scary, but also give us a fresh visualization of things that really do exist. There are also some other violent images involving someone being hit by a car and more than one character dying. There is some foul language, including using God’s name in vain—some of which seem to be a play on words at times.
The premise for the film is based on some definite biblical ideas, such as heaven and hell, angels and demons, but also exaggerates some biblical ideas and makes them more fantastical. One example is the reference to I Corinthians 17, a chapter that doesn’t really exist, but here they say was “recovered.” The other is the idea that the devil is going to have a son enter the world by a weapon that was supposedly used to kill the Son of God. Still, the story does have some biblical basis, and can challenge one to think about good versus evil, God and the devil, suicide, repentance, and sacrifice. [See relevant issues q&a]
Though this film is heavy with atmosphere involving demons and spiritual evil, it is not devoid of uplifting and encouraging moments as well. At one point, the angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton) shares the Gospel with John. Gabriel tells John that there is sin, but if you repent, God will forgive you. Gabriel also encourages John in the midst of all the evil and says that it’s only in the face of horror where we find our most noblest self. He goes on to say that horror is brought to us so we can rise above it. By the end, there is also a change in some of the characters when they come to believe that God does have a plan for them.
While interviewing the director, Francis Lawrence, he explained that his goal for this movie is to entertain. His parents were both scientists, and refers to them as “lapsed Catholics.” So this religious understanding, as well as the logic of science that he learned, gave him some guidance in how he directed this story (which is based on a DC Comic). Lawrence believes that this film presents a story about good versus evil, and is ultimately about a sacrifice that brings about redemption. And regarding the similarity of John Constantine’s initials and those of Jesus Christ, he said it is tough for him to talk about, since that is the name of the character in the original comic book.
This film won’t satisfy all of your theological questions, but it can certainly provoke you to perhaps look more closely at significant spiritual issues. They are not always simple to bring up and talk about, but this movie is an entertaining way to get you thinking about them and perhaps start discussing them.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor
Well, to anyone who earnestly seeks the truth you can see where truth becomes fiction in movies such as this. Believers and Non-Believers alike certainly have real fears to contend with in life so it doesn’t help when movies like this scare people into thinking there’s a demon waiting to leap on you and chew out your guts. The true reality of this world and the spiritual battle being fought over our souls is scary enough!