Martin Carr reviews the eleventh episode of Constantine…
“The God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him?! What kind of god would do that?”
I never aim to be inflammatory. Offence is never intended. My reviews should lead only to the promotion of healthy debate, which in turn leads to personal epiphanies, individual actions and in time a number of larger questions being asked. An intellectual broadening exercise for those who like reading, writing and thinking for themselves. How’s that for an idea? It’s alright answers are optional, and as it goes unimportant alongside a somewhat more intriguing conundrum. What exactly does this have to do with a chain smoking DIY exorcist and product of the punk rock generation?
Aside from flying in the face of anything which is traditionally linked with notions of a higher power, transcendence of mind and body and the personification of a physical icon for original thought; nothing really. You see the creators of ‘Constantine’ have dressed their programme up to look like a mainstream homage to films such as Final Destination, Friday The 13th, Candyman and A Nightmare On Elm Street amongst others.
Teenagers in peril and doing extremely dense things with occult artefacts should be a genre in itself. But as with all great television programmes this approach is merely a springboard for something more.
By introducing the notion of multiple plains of consciousness within the perimeters of a pre watershed teen horror flick, Constantine is able to decisively mock accepted genre troupes. With the welcome yet jittery appearance of Richie Simpson as portrayed by Jeremy Davies there is also a return to comic book origins. Debates on singularity research and data mining combine with enough drinking, smoking and pill popping to sedate a small horse. For many Simpson embodies the kindred spirit perpetually recovering, racked by guilt and ravaged by prescription addiction. Whereas Constantine’s inflated ego and relentless arrogance represent nothing more than a flip side to the same coin. Cripplingly flawed yet irrevocably cut from the same cloth, both men are presented with a scenario in which there is no end game without revelation.
Not only is Daniel Cerone challenging the idea of an afterlife by throwing theological arguments into the face of conventional doctrine, but also depicts a metaphorical transcendence of Constantine to a Christ like status. Nailed through the palms to a fireplace lintel whilst challenging Simpson to reshape the world to his own design, Cerone and team are surely walking a thin line. Just to put a cherry on top, lest we forget, a genre is also being systematically deconstructed. In a plain of consciousness where life and death are constantly in flux and manipulated by a vengeful deity of sorts, Cerone and co illustrate the futility of a genre in decline.
Aside from examining these simple ideas Constantine can also be taken on face value as a piece of entertainment. Something to talk about with friends and colleagues where the good guy wins and behaves like nothing happened a week later. That however would be missing the point would it not? For this reviewer there is undoubtedly a whole world out there, but as to which one that might be remains to be seen. How about we talk about it?
“If one were to take the bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad”