Newest Review: ... involves girl named "Evey" in his vendetta and the pair end up in an action packed journey in which not everyone will surv... more
V For Vendetta - an intelligent graphic novel adaptation
V for Vendetta (DVD)
Member Name: jesperado
V for Vendetta (DVD)
Advantages: Strong story, good performances
Disadvantages: Not as action packed as some may want
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 na´ve 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.
Summary: A very good sci-fi thriller