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I first watched this a few years ago with my brother, and I remember being very interested by it. Intrigued almost. Now I will admit, I have not read the book (a change for me), so the whole plot was unknown territory. I don't usually watch films like this either, but for this one time, I am glad I did.
The plot is about a masked man ('V' played by Hugo Weaving) who plans to blow up the Houses Of Parliament. When he meets Evey (Natalie Portman), she is drawn into the plan as well. She become interested in his life and unveils secrets V has not talked about for a long time.
The whole setting of the film reminds me of what I believe Nazi Germany would be like. Controlled by force.
The acting in the film does impress me, as I was expecting it to be as good as it was. I thought the star of the show was Hugo Weaving, if I remember correctly, he had hardly any lines to say, and had to wear a Guy Fawkes mask, yet still managed to put across his emotions/feelings extremely well. Natalie Portman did a good job as well, though she was more of a side kick, in a way.
The special effects through the film are amazing as well, really spectacular.
All in all, I would really recommend seeing this film. It tackles some hard hitting, gritty story lines, but manages to pull them off. 5/5 for me.
V for Vendetta is a film that is adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore, author of Watchmen. It is set in a dystopian future where corruption and intimidation have taken control of proceedings, the belligerent and controlling 'Big Brother' style of rule taking over. It's very 1984, but has its main focus on the revolutionary known only as V.
V wears a Guy Fawkes mask as portrayed in the graphic novel. He meets with Evey (Natalie Portman) when he saves her one night, and draws her into his dastardly plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament. He is a vigilante, rebelling against a society whose rule is defined by one man's complete control over their indifference. Hugo Weaving plays V, although we never hear his voice, and he does so very well. No doubt there is a stuntman under the costume for a lot of it, as there are some acrobatic goings on, the action scenes being very impressive.
Natalie Portman gives a good showing as Evey, although her character almost has a bit of a bystander role in the proceedings. She is infatuated with V and the mystery that his mask hides, as well as his Batman-like determination to be a vigilante and fight for the people and against the state. Really, we are given the majority of the facts, and can see what is going on behind closed doors. John Hurt plays the ruler of the state, and gives a very good show as a dictator who deserves to be taught a lesson and removed from power. We see what he is like, whereas the majority of the people in this future don't. They just continue about their lives, accepting how things are, even though they're not happy with it.
Moore's vision of a potential future is not very pleasant, and V, despite his violence, is a heroic figure that one would wish could be around should such a future exist. There is some stark reality here, as things aren't too different to what a Nazi regime may have become, and the worry of things such as curfews that result in only vagabonds patrolling the streets do heighten the tension in the film. This tension level continues as the darkness is maintained throughout the film, and I found it added to the suspense element the film had.
The only thing is that there are quite a few forgettable moments. There are a few scenes that stick with you, but chunks of it faded the first time I saw it. Even having watched it a couple of times, the weaker scenes seem to have faded a bit, and there is a curious plot twist that seemed a bit out of sorts with the main film. I haven't read the graphic novel, so I don't know whether this is a part of it and if so whether the blending was as abrupt as in the film, but it didn't quite sit as right.
The film was very good in many ways, but the forgettable element as well as the futuristic confusion left me a bit unsure as to how good it actually is. I would definitely recommend it, of that I am sure. However, it's probably something I would enjoy more as a graphic novel than I did as a film - the sort of thing that reading would allow you to take more time over, to examine a touch further and explore the graphics and artwork that no doubt help with the intricacies. Recommended, but not the best.
This film is by the same guys who brought us the Matrix trilogy. It tells the story of a vigilante by the name V fighting for freedom and revenge in a Britain run by an evil dictator with many similarities to Adolf Hitler. He accidentally involves girl named "Evey" in his vendetta and the pair end up in an action packed journey in which not everyone will survive.
I thought this film was good yet there is obviously something flawed. The characters were not well developed, we never find out the reason why he has super human strength, and we never know who he is what he's about. This doesn't ruin the movie but it does leave the casual watcher less than satisfied by the end of the movie. I also don't particularly get the connection with Guy Fawkes, maybe I missed something?
I do love that they make the Conservative party turn into a Nazi-esque dictatorship that takes over Britain; that was pretty funny. Also I thought the film was well cast, I even didn't mind Natalie Portman's bad accent.
The film is on a single disc with a "Making of" featurette, which isn't as in depth as it could be. Altogether this is the definition of an average film, entertaining but deeply flawed.
V for Vendetta paints a picture of a rather scary Britain in the future where political and religous othodoxy rule and all minority groups have been hunted down and eliminated and a highly religous government rules through force and fear.
However there is some resistance in the form of a mysterious person known only as V, his first act is to destroy the Old Bailey and then he takes over state TV and broadcasts a call for the people to rise up and support him in a years time when he plans to destroy Parliament choosing the symbolic Guy Fawkes night as the date for his attack.
Clearly some parts of this plot echo the events in George Orwell 1984 with the oppresive government controlling the people with propaganda and the police. Hugo Weaving palys the character of V and gradually the past of the mystery man is revealed through his encounter with a young girl called Evey, played by Natalie Portman, who he saves from the police while she is breaking curfew and the two form a strange sort of alliance.
This film sounded promising when I first read about it however it turned out to be rather ponderous and slow moving and failed to really grabmy attention as the pace was much too slow and the story line took too long to develop.
The performances are not bad however at times the characters are a bit predictable, John Hurt plays the Chancellor and while he is only really ever seen from the viewpoint of a big screen issuing his propoganda to the masses and this has an almost Hitler feel to it. At times the film tries to be a bit too "arty" for my tastes however it does have an interesting plot and is probably worth seeing for that alone.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
V for Vendetta was hugely hype upon its release, and is an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The film is set in London not too far from now, where it has become a dystopic horror, causing the enigmatic freedom fighter known only as V to wreak his own brand of havoc with the hope of galvanising the populus into a revolution.
The film revolves around Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), a young woman who is apprehended by members of the fascist state for walking home past the time of curfew. However, she is rescued by a dark figure who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and calls himself V (Hugo Weaving). This encounter would send her on a path unlike anything she has ever seen before, with her ultimately aiding V in preparing for the destruction of the Houses of Parliament on the Fifth of November.
This is a very stylish film that boasts some cracking action along with some pungent political satire, and aside from one dreadful scene involving Stephen Fry, it is all in good fun. Weaving is great as V, while Portman also delivers a strong performance along with her shaven head. This really is a superb adaptation of the depth and nuanced of the graphic novels for the most part, even if it does mutate the political message of the novel somewhat and adds in a few corny scenes (I'm thinking the Benny Hill part here). This film had something to say, and did it with the utmost grace and integrity. All involved pulled off great performances, and are complimented by the dark tone and superb direction of the film.
After going through a mad DVD buying (and obviously subsequently watching) session, I happened upon V for Vendetta. On first glance I must admit this is not a film I would usually go for, and started watching it with the mindset that it was going to be another poor conversion of a good graphic novel with more action than content. I was, however, surprised to find it an absolutely amazing film that is now rated as one of my all time favourites.
I will say to any reader expecting an in-depth plot synopsis, you will not find one here. I fear that will detract from the story if you do choose to watch the film. Instead I will tell you a little about the film and more about what I think of it.
The film is set in the future, not in a sci-fi way, but as an illustration of what the future could hold and the future of our fair isles is not looking to good. The world in which it is set is very similar to Orwell's totalitarian dystopia in 1984, with England being run under "big brother" Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) whose party uses force and fear to run the nation, keeping the subject under control through the use of a government controlled media.
The film centres around Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), who one night is rescued by the masked hero/villain, V (Hugo Weaving) and is dragged into his plans of revolution.
Hardcore fans may be unhappy by how true to the original graphic novel the film is, indeed Moore himself has dismissed the film. After reading the graphic novel however I disagree, as although the novel is good, a direct translation to film would not have worked as it would be inaccessible to the average few not familiar of Moore's work (as I believe Watchmen to be, another of Moore's graphic novels) and also not terribly relevant to today's society.
The changes the film makes, to my mind, enhance the story, for example the nation is controlled more by spin and deception in the film than by the intimidation and violence of the graphic novel. I believe this to be far more relevant to today's world as we have all seen how the media and politicians try to alter or beliefs to fit their agenda.
What we end up with is an adaptation of the original concept with some of the plot points rearranged and characters redrawn, which better explore the intricacies of this fascist police state.
The film assertion that radical and drastic events often need to occur in order to shake people out of their state of indifference in order to bring about real change is what makes the film such a triumph. Although there are better action films out there and to be honest better films that make us question ourselves and the society we live in, but few manage to draw you into the story so well and mix the two genres without compromising either.
Viva la revolution
V for Vendetta is a sureal film based on a graphic novel, made into a film during 2006 it stars Hugo Weaving as V, a man adamant on revenge against the distopian government in place in futuristic London, Big Brother gone too far and revenge for his past are just 2 of the things that motivate him to ruin the government. Natalie Portman plays Evie, a woman seemingly getting on with her life in the torrid times that the government have introduced yet seemingly agreeing with the thoughts of protagonist V. The tagline for the film is 'Remember, Remember, the 5th of November', this is obviously a connection with the fireworks day and gunpowder plot to blow up the houses of parliament, as such the masked man, V, has the mask of that fateful rebel that was Guy Fawkes.
The film is shot in and around London for the entire film, a very futuristic london where people are curfewed into their homes after a certain time and forced to watch certain TV channels and accept what they're being given and told, especially regarding religion. The government who, in the past have commited some awful discrepancies and acts are soon to be fighting a growing evil hell bent on saving the city from their current status.
The films plot is obviously based on the graphic novel of the same name, I have yet to read it and doubt I will although I assume it is based fully on and barely fluctuates from the storyline in the novel. I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan of this film, it's very neatly shot and it's a very easy film to watch, it's not hugely confusing and what you see is what you get. It's certainly not a bad film and could easily watch it again in the future but it didn't take me in as much as was expected, perhaps I had too high expectations about this film and was ultimatly dissapointed. I can't even really pin what I didn't like about the film, it was felt very safe and hardly as deep and enthralling as I expected, the ending especially I thought could have been done much better and the film felt very self rightous in an odd way. I was expecting a brilliant deep film which would leave me thinking, yet I ended the film underwhelmed by a film that played it safe with very little to think about, again, perhaps I expected too much and didn't understand what the film was going to be like, very possible.
The acting was brilliant, Hugo Weaving whom is in his mask throughout the film has the perfect voice for this film, it's intruiging and the mask only makes his character better and slightly more likeable. Natalie Portman of Star Wars fame mainly and many other films was her usual competent self and is more than a match for the film she was given. There's support from some established actors and TV personalities such as Stephen Fry, with John Hurt and Stephen Rea, all of whom are equally adequate enough to star in this film and portray their characters with substatial ease.
Overall, I was a little dissapointed with this film, not bad but nowhere near the heights that I was expecting, maybe that is my problem for having high expectations but after hearing so much about this film I expected a masterpiece, and didn't get it. I'll watch it again thats for sure and hopefully like it a bit more. This film is actually rather easy and enjoyable to watch so as long as you don't come in with expectations of seeing the best film of the year or so you won't be dissapointed.
V for Vendetta is a science fiction thriller and was released in 2005. It is based on the comic book of the same name which is by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
Natalie Portman stars as Evey, a young woman living in the not too distant 2034, in an England which is under a dictatorship and everyone must live by the rules given to them. Evey works at a TV station, and one night leaves her house past the 11 o'clock curfew, where she is confronted by members of Britain's brutal and quite unjust police force. As they explain to her that she can work her way out of the punishment she should get for being out late she is saved by 'V', a man in a mask and cape who easily immobilises the two men. He takes her to watch his planned destruction of the Old Bailey, which happens on November 5th, Guy Fawkes night. The explosions and fire works which everyone saw that night are shown on the news as a planned explosion by the government. V smuggles his way into the TV station and takes a small group of personnel hostage, so that he can show a tape he has made to the world, telling them that the demolition was his doing, and he would be blowing up the houses of parliament at the same time next year, and everyone was free to join him there. On leaving the TV buildings he is almost apprehended, but for the help of Evey. However, this leaves him with little option but to take Evey home with him, somewhere underneath London, where she cant leave. Her life becomes totally different after she has met V, although she tries to escape from his underground home she is soon met by government members and is tortured for information about V, where he lives, and about his past. In the meantime Inspector Finch is also trying to find out about V and his past, who he once was, and the reasons for his anarchist behaviour.
I wasn't sure what i was going to think of this film, so it took me a while to get round to watching it. But to start with i do kind of tend to like films based on comics/graphic novels, so i was hopeful. And i wasn't disappointed. In my opinion this is a really great film, one of my favorites.
The Britain where this film is set is under a kind of George Orwell-ish regime. Well, to me it kind of feels like the kind of place that Orwell was getting at. People are told what to do and think, they are given curfews for their own safety and the power of the church is absolute. It is also somewhat some what like Nazi Germany, people are told to think of the welfare of the state and are told that everything is being done for their own good, which religions other than Christianity become illegal and horrific scientific experiments are carried out on humans and something very much like a concentration camp. It certainly doesn't take very much for the viewer to believe in the world that has been created.
I think what really make this film so good are the characters, main and smaller roles included, and there are also little bits and pieces which fit into the plot and really make you feel what the film is trying to say. Hugo Weaving is truly great as V, his voice speaks miles, even more so as you can never see his face. His past is revealed little by little, and you become drawn in by him, and what he will tell you of what Britain has done to him. Stephen Fry also has a great role, although he doesn't appear very much. He is the epitome of what Britain is against in the near future, he's gay and he collectes religious memorabilia, that is of religious other than Christianity, something which is punishable by whatever the church and government see fit.
My only problem with this film is the role of Evey, played by Natalie Portman. She begins and ends this films, and what happens comes down to her. And I just think her acting is quite awful. Her attempts at an English accent are terrible, this can be overlooked, and you do, because the film is good enough, but she is a main character, and as she talks throughout the whole film it is hard to totally forget about it. Also, a main point in the film is the relationship between herself and V. Which for Eveys point of view, i think just doesn't seem completely real. I think a lot of people will think differently about this, and she is good in parts, for example when she's being tortured. But having a very strong performance by the lead female role could of, i think, made this film even better than it is.
So, apart from one or two small points that i can easily over look, i love this film. It's not the type that i can watch over and over again, but if i watch it every once in a while it doesn't fail to amaze me.
As always, I'll do my best to summarise V For Vendetta without including any spoilers but if I accidentally let something slip that you think might ruin it for another viewer, please leave a comment and I'll remove the offending information as soon as possible!
PLOT: V For Vendetta is a 2005 film adaption of the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Set in 2034, the film focuses on Britain which has become a totalitarian dictatorship under the control of the Norsefire regime. Evey Hammond, a somewhat naïve employee of the British Television Network (BTN), runs into trouble when she is out past curfew and runs into some Finger men who are a sort of secret police for Norsefire. It becomes clear that these men are used to being above the law but they are in for a shock as Evey is rescued by a man in a Guy Fawkes costume, known only as V. Evey's world is turned upside down when this seemingly benevolent character takes her to the rooftops to witness his detruction of the Old Bailey. V goes on to take BTN employees hostage in order to get his message of anarchy to the nation via the emergency broadcast system which transmits to every screen in Britain. As the authorities hunt this charismatic outlaw, the corruption of those in power becomes more and more obvious to Evey and to the detective charged with capturing V. Those who oppose the government or do not fit into its fascist values are captured and killed by the secret police. Simultaneously, V tracks hunts down the most corrupt members of the government, all of whom have blood on their hands. This film is a taut sci-fi thriller with a strong undertone of political and social commentary with a good deal more emotion than most blockbusters of its genre.
EVEY: Evey is a complex character played by Natalie Portman in this film. She harbours anti-government thoughts as her parents both died in Belmarsh prison at the hands of the government. Yet at the same time, she works for BTN which is a tool of the government and is used to cover up V's destruction of the Old Bailey as a 'planned demolition'. As the film progresses, she becomes aware of the depth of the corruption in the government and the oppression of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, religion and many other factors that don't fit in with the Norsefire worldview. She also realises that she cannot trust anyone but herself and grows in courage and boldness. This part is played beautifully by Natalie Portman who is engaging and credible as a young woman struggling to distinguish between right and wrong in a world of corruption and deception. She does not overplay this part and her subtlety makes a nice contrast to the overblown bad guys. Her English accent is obviously the product of many hours of dialect coaching as I wouldn't have guessed that she wasn't English if I didn't already know her nationality.
V: It must be very difficult to act for a whole feature-length film whilst wearing a mask that does not move. But Hugo Weaving somehow manages to invest enough emotion in his voice to carry it off. He plays V as a (somewhat deranged) Errol Flynn swashbuckling hero. The fact that you cannot see his face makes V seem even more dangerous as he remains completely calm in the face of anarchy and chaos. Weaving captures that 'tragic hero' element perfectly and really makes the viewer feel for V. But as soon as this affection is built up, it is undermined as he does something seemingly cruel in pursuit of the greater good. Under the mask, V could be the best or worst of us and this serves as a reminder of the fine line between devotion to a justified cause and what might be seen as terrorism.
THE BADDIES: I really like the baddies in this film. There are nods to Dr Strangelove, The Krays, 1984 and classic pantomime villainy. John Hurt is wonderfully evil as the Chancellor and there are excellent characters that you could imagine as real life spin doctors.
STYLE: There is a definite film noir feel to this film with lots of shots at night or in the pouring rain which suits the story very well. The action scenes are a marriage between classic swashbuckling and Equilibrium-style CGI but fortunately these are used sparingly rather than taking over from the story which is a danger in comic book adaptations. There are some beautiful mini-stories in this film with bright and colourful scenes to symbolise that which can never be under Norsefire's fascist regime. There is also something very British about this film, particular the scenes at BTN which look like they have been lifted straight out of a BBC drama
OVERVIEW: I really enjoyed this film. It has a really good mix of over the top comic book action but still has a good story behind it. There are many parallels with contemporary political issues such as terrorism, the role of the media, mass hysteria and the abuse of surveillance technology. There are some wonderful central performances from Natalie Portman as Evey and John Hurt as the Chancellor as well as a wealth of minor roles such as Stephen Fry's Deitrich. There are some very moving moments and some surprisingly intelligent and sensitive storylines which are rare in modern Hollywood films.
V for Vendetta is an adaptation of a Graphic Novel. I have read a little but I'll go into that more later.
The film is set in the not too distant future (don't let that old cliche put you off). It takes place in a Dystopian England where England is the world superpower & a dictatorship is in place ruling with an Iron Fist. The film for me is predominatly viewed through Evey's eyes. She is a young woman who works for a TV station who's parents were "Black Bagged" (this is a form of government abduction) when she was a child. One night, she is nearly arrested & assualted by Secret Policemen for being outside after curfew. V, a masked character that we don't know much about initialy intervenes & this causes the chain of events that unravel in the film.
I found the film gripping & thoroughly entertaining. The plot was interesting with an unusual twist which happens before the climax of the film. The action scenes are very good & are by no means anti climactic.
I bought the special edition of this DVD which comes with a comic book. This is a bit of a swizz really because the comic in question is the first half of V for Vendetta with the second half missing. How does that work? Well I'll tell you. I'm a salesman & the way that works is you are simply trying to sell a copy of the comic. Either give a full copy away, or don't give any. Don't bother with that version.
I would recommend this film. It is well shot, well acted. Great plot & satisfying ending. Really Good Film.
I watched this film this afternoon and it's one of the few films I've enjoyed so much I've wanted to watch it again straight afterwards.
Having never read the graphic novel (though I will now) I didn't know what to expect but I enjoyed reading and watching Watchmen which is also written by Alan Moore so I knew what to expect. The perfect anti-hero, unflinching from his goal regardless.
Portman is beautiful throughout and displays a range of emotions, I really had a shiver down my spine at certain points. The whole cast in fact was fantastic, and were very realistic in their roles.
The story and script itself was well rounded and wholesome, and had a lot of surprises. The cinematography and sets were well fleshed out and created. You could almost take any still from this film and frame it on your wall, it would certainly make a talking point.
With so many levels of story telling, the past, present and possible futures all inter weaving and yet it's never confusing.
This movie entertained me thoroughly and has everything I enjoy it.
I was discussing the film 1984, the one with John Hurt playing Winston, with someone and expressed my liking for it. So on that basis it was recommended I watch V for Vendetta.
This film deals with a totalitarian state - all the signs that it is most probably fascist state are all there, by means of well established and arbitrary symbols that we have grown used to. So we see imagery that we have seen before ranging from Chaplin's The Great Dictator through to films in more modern times (no pun intended), such as 1984.
Due to the use of the slogan "England Prevails" It is ambiguous as to whether the 'state' in question is an England independent from the rest of Britain or whether the slogan is an attempt to underscore the ignorance that is actually prevalent regarding use of the words Britain and England interchangeably in general, but by two of the political parties in current Britain.
As with any of my book or film reviews I try not to give away much about the plot, but rather give you a feel. At its basic though we are looking at a singular personal battle against this totalitarian state, with a little help along the way. The Guy Fawkes story is used as a metaphor and a continuing plot device, and indeed the character of 'V' fighting the battle remains faceless behind a Guy Fawkes mask. This facelessness is loaded with meaning in itself, for it not only represents 'V'.
The comparisons with 1984 are all out there on the internet to read - I really didn't find too many similarities, although the filmakers have nodded to it in places - the rat in the prison cell, the notion of room numbers, the big screen with the Chancellor, the loudspeakers in the street.
In some of the opening scenes the ambiguity between what Nineteen Eighty-Four represents and what most of us have been indoctrinated into thinking it was about is there - I found this in the scenes leading up to where Evey (Natalie Portman) first encounters 'The Finger' and 'V' These scenes have a very 1940s feel to them and as anyone who has 'got' Nineteen Eighty-Four will realise that is about 1940s Britain and the socio-political landscape.
Otherwise I don't think we should compare the story, the plot with 1984. the socio-political landscape is similar and that is that. Well there is also the nifty inclusion of John Hurt playing the antithesis of the character he played in 1984, although it might be unfair to say the producers of this film were overegging the pudding with that choice.
Although the film is set in Britain, with mainly British actors, I haven't researched it well enough to say whether it is a British or Hollywood film. I am guessing by the sound mix that is was produced from over the pond.
What I love about British film is the relative sedateness regarding a big explosive soundtrack - it seems to me that films borne out of the USA need to include some big noises to tell us something is happening. My hand was constantly on the volume control throughout this film. the dialogue was too quiet and the music and sound effects at the exciting parts was just too loud, there was no balance there at all. This leads me to conclude that it was the Yanks behind this film.
There is that constant comparison between this and 1984. I enjoyed this film without having the need to look for comparisons, although when I do place them side by side, V for Vendetta comes across as a bit of light, vaguely comedic entertainment, with some great special effects sequences and fight scenes thrown in.
V for Vendetta is a dark vision of a distopian Britain living under the fear of the totalitarian government. This comic book adaptation not only has a subtly brilliant cast it also has master producers (The Wachowski Bros) and a director (James McTeigue) with an evident passion to stun his audience.
The protagonist "V" is something of a vigilante figure attempting to restore order through the violent destruction of the current regime. Wearing the face of Guy Fawkes and embodying the ideals of justice for a society controlled by fear he is dubbed a terrorist. This film displays the ugly side of political agenda taken to horrifying extremes. The high chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) spins his fascist propaganda in something akin to a notorious former Nazi dictator. It surprising that black and red party colours still have the ability to instill an audience with terror.
The tale unfolds with an array of top quality performances and stylised flashback scenes that make for a juxtaposed plot, ultimately culminating in an explosive finale. One of the fantastic attributes of this film it's ability to rouse in the audience a degree of social conscience without becoming too emotionally overbearing and tiresome.
Based on The original comic/graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd V for Vendetta is definitely a contender in the ongoing DC - Marvel comic book adaptation war. Perhaps overlooked by many this film is set to achieve cult status and still hold the wider audience appreciation further down the line.
When I saw this was showing on BBC3 tonight, I will admit to getting more than just a little bit excited! As a rule I tend to enjoy most graphic novel adaptations to the big screen and, whilst this recieved very mixed reviews upon release, I must admit my anticipation for this film has long run very high. And yet, for some strange reason, I have never actually gotten around to watching it. Like Watchmen, released earlier this year, the graphic novel this is based on was long thought unfilmable. But Alan Moore's work has long been seen as a marketable commodity, never more so than since the big screen success of such adaptations as 300, Sin City and From Hell ~ all penned by his own hand in the style of extremely violent and bloody adult comic books. And essentially that is the defenition of a graphic novel ~ a comic book for grown-ups with very seriously heavy adult content!
V For Vendetta opens in an Orwellian version of society that comes straight out of a modern-day 1984. Britain is under the command of the High Chancellor played by John Hurt (who ironically was on the other side of the barbed wire fence in the film adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel) and he holds his power with a firm, iron fist. All broadcasts are monitored and controlled and, following political events both here and abroad, Britan is now very much a Police State. Until one man enters the scene, determined to spread anarchy and disorder whilst opening the eyes of the general populace to just what they could achieve if only they could stop being mindless sheep for just one night and work together to begin the revolution this country needs in order to bring about change. This man is V. Something has gone wrong with society and the goverment in general and he is the man who could single-handedly help to put things right. If only people would open their minds on just one date.....november 5th 2020....the day the future changes.
Evey Hammond (played brilliantly here by the awesome Natalie Portman) crosses paths with V when he saves her from mortal danger and over the course of the next few weeks, finds herself becoming caught up in the events surrounding him as she, in turn, becomes a fugitive from the evil power-mongers V hopes to overthrow. Secured in his secret lair, far beneath the steets of London, she reluctantly begins to adopt his philosophy and see her world through his eyes. But before she gets there, first she must endure all manner of trials and torture that force her to readdress her world and political views.
Interspersed with this story-line is that of a Police Superintendant charged with the near-impossible task of hunting down V and bringing him to justice before his November deadline. Alienated by many of his superior commanders, he begins to discover not just a conspiracy but a wave of silence as those above him close ranks to prevent the true facts from emerging. Propaganda and misdirection are the order of the day as Britain's leaders strive to keep the public's minds exactly where they want them. And in this permissive society, that is one job that is far easier than you might expect it to be. For after all, they, much like 1984's Big Brother, are very scarily in total control....or are they?
Directed by the team responsible for The Matrix, that went sooo wrong in it's final hours, there is so much about this film that really shouldn't work and, it's true, the critics went at this with their knives at the ready but actually I walked away from this in the end thinkiing it was a bloody good movie. It is very dark and sombre, the tone very serious with no light moments or humour at any time present and, for the first hour, the film is in my opinion dreadfully slow and hard-going. But get past all that and, in the second act, everything begins to go right! Suddenly the story begins to go somewhere; areas of back-story, until now glossed over, are revealed in technicolour flash-back and things start to get very gritty, realistic and scarily accurate. Much of the effect this film has on your conscience is due, in part, to the use of real-life footage in a fictional setting. Images of rioting and looting, pictures of an American war that did not go as planned and themes of disease and epidemic all come together to form a future that may not be that far from where we stand today. Those that scoff and mock such woe-fortelling prophecies need only look towards the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and the current climate of Swine Flu to realise that actually this dystopian fantasy is not a million miles away. Remember when the idea of cameras following your every move 24/7 were just a fantasy developed in the mind of a lowly sci-fi writer? Today they are on every city street. So too, are the predictions of this film scarily close and anyone who doesn't get a chill watching this is probably already a mindless automonom of society that goes about their everyday, hum-drum life with little thought of what the future might just bring.
Does this film work? By heck, it does. It may well get off to a very slow start but by around half-way through, the momentum builds up and the film flies down the celluoid towards you like a renegade snowball sixty foot high! The special effects and fight scenes, mostly featuring V, are superb and not over-the-top in any shape or form and the message this film brings across is subtle enough to hit home without ramming it down your throat! I have never read the graphic novel on which this is based but watching this has made me want to go out and buy it. This is the best comic-book adaptation I have seen after Watchmen though if you had asked me my thoughts after the first hour, then they might have been different. This is a film though that demands commitment and all those who stick with it to the closing scenes will certainly not regret it!! With echoes of everything from Terry Gilliam's Brazil to Orwell's 1984 and the classic film-noir, Metropolis, this is a movie that will keep you thinking long after the closing credits are over!
Thought-provoking, satirical, tense and, at all times, thrilling, this is a real roller-coaster of a ride and with a British cast to boot, that includes our own Stephen Fry in a piece of excellent casting, that will leave you going "I know him from..." all the way through the film!!!
Screenplay: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Comic book: Alan Moore
17th March 2006
In an alternate not too distant future, totalitarian Britain is ruled by the Norsfire regime, a government that rules with an iron fist by denying civil liberties. Most of the population has come to accept the way of things. That is, except for one mysterious vigilante known only as V who is determined to bring about great change whilst at the same time, settling a personal vendetta.
Based on the 1982 graphic novel of the same name, V for Vendetta was the latest in a long line of graphic novels making the leap to film.
On viewing the action packed trailer and seeing the involvement of the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix), you could be forgiven for thinking that this was going to be an all flash, all style slow-mo fest with little story to support it.
However, the brothers touch is mercifully underplayed, settling instead into producer roles and letting the story unfold mostly uninterrupted.
V offers a thoughtful if somewhat simplified vision of what governments will get up to if left unchecked and unchallenged by their citizens. Personal ideals of high up officials become mandatory for all. Only in such a world could a vigilante with V's motives and techniques be seen as a heroic figure.
Eloquent in his speech and style, but brutal in the execution of his plan, V in another story would be considered a terrorist. But what makes V special is his ability to empower others. He takes power from the government and gives it to the people, both on large scales and on a more personal level with Natalie Portman's Evey.
This is never going to meet the action quota of many comic book film fans, but it is a more thoughtful film that deals with many issues dead on, and is more relevant than ever in our time of corrupt government and the so called freedom fighters that would unseat them.
"Remember, remember the fifth of November," for on this day, in 2020, the minds of the masses shall be set free. So says code-name V (Hugo Weaving), a man on a mission to shake society out of its blank complacent stares in the film V For Vendetta. His tactics, however, are a bit revolutionary to say the least. The world in which V lives is very similar to Orwell's totalitarian dystopia in 1984: after years of various wars, England is now under "big brother" Chancellor Adam Sutler (played by John Hurt, who ironically played Winston Smith in the movie 1984) whose party uses force and fear to run the nation. After gaining power, minorities and political dissenters were rounded up and removed; artistic and unacceptable religious works were confiscated. Cameras and microphones are littered throughout the land, and the people are perpetually sedated through the governmentally controlled media. Taking inspiration from Guy Fawkes, the 17th century co-conspirator of a failed attempt to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605, V dons a Fawkes mask and costume and sets off to wake the masses by destroying the symbols of their oppressors, literally and figuratively. At the beginning of his vendetta, V rescues Evey (Natalie Portman) from a group of police officers and has her live with him in his underworld lair. It is through their relationship where we learn how V became V, the extremities of the party's corruption, the problems of an oppressive government, V's revenge plot and his philosophy on how to induce change. Based on the popular graphic novel by Alan Moore, V For Vendetta's screenplay was written by the Wachowski Brothers (of The Matrix fame) and directed by their protégé James McTeigue. Controversy and criticism followed the film since its inception, from the hyper-stylized use of anarchistic terrorism to overthrow a corrupt government and the blatant jabs at the current US political arena, to graphic novel fans complaining about the reconstruction of Alan Moore's original vision (Moore himself has dismissed the film). Many are valid critiques and opinions, but there's no hiding the message the film is trying to express: Radical and drastic events often need to occur in order to shake people out of their state of indifference in order to bring about real change. Unfortunately, the movie only offers a means with no ends, and those looking for answers may find the film stylish, but a bit empty. --Rob Bracco