"V for Vendetta" is going to confuse a lot of people. Nevertheless, and make no mistake about it, this is movie making of the highest order, combining all the finest elements of great storytelling into a potent roller coaster of a movie filled with great action,intellect and above all, ideas. Its message can - and will - easily be dismissed by naysayers as sophomoric or too "out there," or "anti-american" but there is also an earnestness here that will resonate strongly, and perhaps, frighteningly, to many viewers who will not fail to see the correlation between this fictional tale and the way the world we live in works.
Filled with stereotypes and archetypes, "V" is unapologetic in its essaying of morality and in its strongly held sentiment that this tale is "for the people, by the people." Brothers and writers Larry and Andy Wachowski (of Matrix fame) have infused their screenplay with the anger, confusion and hope captured in Alan Moore's original graphic novel - and it's better looking as a result.
I truly believe that many who see "V" will be upset by it, but hopefully more of us will be inspired by its bold, blatant message and take a good hard look at ourselves and the way the world works around us and see that, with sacrifice and thoughtfulness, the world can be changed.
As Evey, Natalie Portman is cast in something of the "victim" role, but she makes us route for her, and to her credit she goes beyond that making the transformation of her character not only believable, but in the end, noble.
Hugo Weaving - the man behind the mask - gives a performance that can only be described as mesmerizing. As "V" he exposes all of the strength and weakness of a character that is equal parts savior and villain.
The physical production is beautiful in its realism as it paints a nightmarish world of the not-very-distant future (2020) and is chilling in its depiction of governmental power, socio-political corruption and, ultimately, the complacency of its citizens. Weaving's "V" challenges, and ultimately changes all of that, as he quickly unravels the fabric of civilized society, capturing the public with his bold ideas - and with the promise and permanancy of change through rebellion and political uprising.
Most chillingly, the film invokes the dread once feared in "1984" but with a renewed vigor that drives home the horrors Orwell foresaw, and still loom large in our comfy modern world. Chilling? You betcha! For those who know the novel, there is little skimping, and, given the current world situation, one must absolutely applaud the filmmakers for "going there" as far as the ending is concerned. This is film making at its emotional and challenging best.
Are there flaws? Of course there are, but ultimately "V for Vendetta" rises far above them in its presentation of a world filled with ideas that have forever been debated, and does it in a story well told, beautifully acted and full of hope for humankind. Not bad work for a movie. Actually, it's magnificent.
on March 17, 2006
Alan Moore's decision to want his name off the final credits for the film adaptation of V for Vendetta now makes sense. Moore has had a hate/hate relationship with Hollywood and the film industry in general. They've taken two of his other works in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell and bollocks'd them up (to borrow a term used quite abit in V for Vendetta). Outside of Watchmen, Alan Moore sees V for Vendetta as one of his more personal works and after reading the screenplay adaptation of the graphic novel by The Wachowski Brothers his decision afterwards was to demand his name be removed from the film if it was ever made. Part of this was his hatred of the film industry for their past mistakes and another being his wish for a perfect adaptation or none at all. Well, V for Vendetta by James McTeigue and The Wachowski Brothers is not a perfect film adaptation. What it turns out to be is a film that stays true to the spirit of Moore's graphic novel and given a modern, up-to-the-current news retelling of the world's state of affairs.
V for Vendetta starts off with abit of a prologue to explain the relevance of the Guy Fawkes mask worn by V throughout the film and the significance of the date of the 5th of November. I think this change in the story from the source material may be for the benefit of audiences who didn't grow up in the UK and have no idea of who Guy Fawkes was and what his Gunpowder Plot was all about. The sequence is short but informative. From then on we move on to the start of the main story and here the film adheres close enough to the source material with a few changes to the Evey character (played with skill that more than makes up for her Amidala performances) but not enough to ruin the character. Caught after curfew and accosted by the ruling government's secret police called Fingermen, Evey soon encounters V who saves her not just from imprisonment but rape.
Right from the start the one thing McTeigue and The Wachowski Brothers got dead-on was casting Hugo Weaving as the title character. Voice silky, velvety and sonorous, Weaving infuses V with an otherworldly, theatrical personality. Whether V was speaking phrases from Shakespeare, philosophers or pop culture icons, the voice gave a character who doesn't show his face from behind the enternally-smiling Guy Fawkes mask real life. I'd forgiven the makers of this films for some of the changes they made to the story and some of the characters for keeping V as close to how Moore wrote him. Once V and Evey are thrown in together by the happenstance of that nightly encounter their fates became intertwined. Portman plays the reluctant witness to V's acts of terrorism, murders and destruction in the beginning, but a poignant and emotionally powerful sequence to start the second half of the film soon brings Evey's character not much towards V's way of doing things, but to understanding just why he's doing them. This sequence became the emotional punch of the whole film and is literally lifted word for word from the graphic novel. I heard more than just a few people sobbing in the theater as the scenes and story unfolded.
The rest of the cast seemed like a who's who of the British acting community. From Stephen Rea's stubborn and dogged Chief Inspector Finch whose quest to find V leads him to finding clues about his government's past actions that he'd rather have not found. Then there's Stephen Fry's flamboyant TV show host who becomes Evey's only other ally whose secret longings have been forbidden by the government, but who's awakened by V's actions to go through with his own form of rebellion. Then there's John Hurt as High Chancellor Adam Sutler who's seen chewing up the scenery with his Hitler-like performance through Big Brother video conferences (an ironic bit of casting since John Hurt also played Winston Smith in the film adaptation of the Orwell classic 1984). I really couldn't find any of the supporting players as having done a bad job in their performances. Even Hurt's Sutler may seemed over-the-top to some but his performance just showed how much of a hatemonger Sutler and in the end his Norsefire party really were in order to stay in power.
The story itself, as I mentioned earlier, had had some changes made to it. Some of these changes angered Moore and probably anger his more die-hard fans. I count myself as one of these die-hards, but I know how film adaptations of classic literary works must and need to trim some of the fat from the main body and theme of the story to fully translate onto the silver screen. The Wachowski Brother's screenplay did just that. They trimmed some of the side stories and tertiary characters from the story and concentrated on V, Evey and Inspector Finch's pursuit of both and the truth. This adaptation is much closer to how Peter Jackson adapted The Lord of the Rings. As a fan of Moore I understood why he was unhappy with the changes. But then Moore is also an avowed perfectionist and only a perfect adaptation would do.
Already critics on both sides of the aisle have called V for Vendetta revolutionary, subversive, daring to irresponsible, propagandist. All because the film dares to ask serious questions about the nature and role of violence as a form of dissent. But the granddaddy question the film brings up that has people talking is the question: terrorist or freedom fighter? Is V one or the other or is he both? Make no mistake about it, V for all intents and purposes is a terrorist if one was to use the definition of what a terrorist is. The makers of this film goes to great lenghts to describe throughout the film just how Sutler and his Norsefire (with its iconic Nazi-like symbols and fundamentaist Christian thinking) party rose to power in the UK. Partly due to what seemed like the failed US foreign policy and its subsequent and destructive decline as a superpower and the worldwide panic and fear it began as a result. V for Vendetta also ask just who was to blame for allowing such individuals to rule over them. V has his reasons for killing these powers-that-be, but he also points out that people really should just look in the mirror if they need to know who really was to blame. For it was the population --- whose desire to remain safe and have a semblance of peace --- gave up more and more of their basic liberties and rights for a return to order. If one was to look at the past 100 years they would see that it's happened before. There was the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, Milosevic's Greater Serbia, and the king of the hill of them all being Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Inner Circle.
Another thing about V for Vendetta that will surely talked about alot will be the images used in the film. Not just images and symbols looking so much like Nazi icons, but images from the current events sweeping the globe that has been shown time and time again in the news and written about in magazines and newspapers. The film shows people bound and hooded like prisoners from Abu Ghraib. The reason of the war on terror used time and time again by Sutler to justify why England and its people need him and his group to protect them by any means necessary. V for Vendetta seems like a timely film for our current times. Even with the conclusion of the film finally accomplishing what Guy Fawkes failed to do that night of November 5th some 400 plus years ago, V for Vendetta doesn't give all the answers to all the questions it raises. For some I'm sure this would be something that'll frustrate them. So much of people who go to watch thought-provoking films want their questions answered as clearly as possible and all of them. V for Vendetta doesn't answer them but gives the audience enough information to try and work it out themselves.
In final analysis, V for Vendetta accomplishes in bringing the main themes of Alan Moore's graphic novel to life and even does it well despite some of the changes made. It is a film that is sure to polarize the extreme left and right of the political pundits and commentators. But as a piece of thought-provoking and even as a politically subversive film, V for Vendetta does it job well. It is not a perfect film by any respect, but the story and message it tries to convey in addition to its value as a piece of entertainment mor than makes up for its flaws. V for Vendetta more than continues the current crop of seriously done comic book fillm adaptations (Batman Begins, X2, Sin City, and A History of Violence) but it also shows that Alan Moore's work can be adapted well to the screen when given to the right people. It may not be perfect and it may not make Alan Moore happy, but it comes close and more than makes up for LXG and From Hell.
on August 12, 2006
The brilliant Hugo Weaving excels and Natalie Portman redeems herself (Princess Amidala, anyone?) in this all-too-relevant film. This film deals with many of the issues relevant to politics today and brilliantly skewers many characters who will seem very familiar from current events - politicians who exploit fear, blowhard talk-show hosts etc. Set in England after the demise of the US as a superpower, the film deftly refers to current political events as background to the rise of totalitarianism and ethnic cleansing. The central theme of the film is the trading of civil liberties for security, and the difficulty of undoing such a pact once it has been made.
The film also tackles many ethical issues such as vengeance and torture with what may be for some people uncomfortable conclusions.
Much has been written about Alan Moore (the original author) removing his name from the credits of the film, a decision which was based on the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame) departing from the original text in their efforts to update it. However, the Wachowski's have created a masterpiece that adheres to the spirit of the original book whilst holding up a mirror to contemporary politics. Most importantly, the character of V (dandy, intellectual, mysterious) is largely untampered with.
Unsurprisingly for a film that is based on a comic book/graphic novel, the main characters almost border on archetypes, and this lends an appropriately comic-book feel to the film, and in this respect although it has no animation it has some similarity to films like Sin City.
The plot centers around the interaction of Hugo Weaving as V and Natalie Portman as Evey. Carefully-placed reveals allows us insight into the events that (literally) moulded V's worldview and show his conversion of Evey from timid obedientarian to revolutionary. Of particular note is Hugo Weavings ability to emote from behind a glossy, permanently-grinning mask. The mask (and I am not going to give any spoilers here) is of a character called Guy Fawkes, a would-be revolutionary who long ago was foiled in his attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in England.
Natalie Portman gives a convincing portrayal of the personal journey that Evey is persuaded to undertake, and John Hurt excels as the megalomaniacal Chancellor Sutler. All similarities between Hurt's Sutler and Adolf Hitler are of course completely intentional, as are the ruling party's insignia and oppressive behaviour both of which have definite Third Reich similarities. Hurt's performance would seem over the top if it were not for the fact that we regularly see the same hate-spewing histrionics from political pundits and talking heads. I would guess that Hurt modeled his performance on talk-show hosts every bit as much as the crack-pot dictators of the Second World War. It is no accident that when Hurt addresses the public, or even his political allies in private, he does so over a giant TV monitor.
To call the supporting cast excellent would be an understatement. Of particular note is Rupert Graves' brilliant portrayal of Dominic, the 'Voice Of London', a twisted, hate-filled talking head whose concentration-camp crimes are rewarded by a cushy job spewing vitriol over the airwaves on the government-controlled TV channel, a man so in love with his own persona that he even rants along to recordings of his own shows whilst in the shower. His diatribes are punctuated with catch-phrases such as "I'm a God-fearing Englishman!" and "England Prevails!". Also notable is Stephen Rea's portrayal of the beaten-down Inspector Finch, a man who has risen in the ruling party despite his not-quite-ethnically-pure family background and whose disillusionment with the party enables him to play a defining role in the plans of V and Evey.
Perhaps inevitably, despite providing the catalyst for societal change, V is ultimately consumed by his vengeance.
This film is not afraid to take on issues that many vendors of popular culture would shy away from, and that inevitably will invite criticism. However as the poet Hardy once said "If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst". If you haven't already seen this film, get yourself a copy.
on July 23, 2006
One of the most unexpectedly pleasant movie surprises I've had this year was the Wachowski Brothers' brilliant screen adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novel, V For Vendetta.
It's not often you find yourself somewhat moved by something advertised as a Hollywood popcorn action movie, but V For Vendetta had that exact effect on me. After seeing the movie (twice), I bought the graphic novel and devoured it in about a day.
You see, even if it has been somewhat cleverly dressed up as a Hollywood popcorn movie, V For Vendetta is clearly a movie with a point to make. It's a story that has been told numerous times before (though not nearly enough lately given the times we live in) of the people rising up against an oppressive government. The closest comparison you would find in literature would be something like George Orwell's 1984.
The paradox of V For Vendetta lies in it's hero and central character, the mysterious (and sympathetic) masked terrorist known only as "V," expertly played beneath the mask by Hugo Weaving.
V is something of a cross between the masked serial killers of slasher fare, like Friday the 13th and Halloween, and the avenging angels of Reagan-era action movies like RoboCop and The Terminator. But in between blowing up government buildings to symphonic soundtracks and slicing and dicing his enemies with his ever so trusty knives, V is also something of a renaissance man.
He quotes Shakespeare, lives in a crypt like underground "Shadow Gallery" filled with priceless artifacts banned by the government, and dances alone to the torchy slow jazz songs on his own personal jukebox.
But "V" is no angel.
Make no mistake about it. "V" is a terrorist who has a vendetta with an agenda, which is what makes this such a fascinating film. You see, "V" is a sympathetic terrorist. Remember that scene in the movie "Independence Day" when the aliens blew up the White House? That scene actually had movie audiences cheering in the theatres. When V blows up the British Parliament, you likewise actually find yourself cheering him on, which is no small accomplishment given the post 9/11 era in which we live.
In a not too distant future, America has been destroyed by civil war and England is ruled by the iron fist of High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt, who ironically played Winston Smith in the film adaptation of Orwell's 1984), with the aid of jackbooted goons called "The Fingermen," headed up by a very nasty guy named Creedy.
As the plot unfolds, it becomes apparent that the rise to power of Sutler, Creedy, and company comes through the exploitation of fear created by a national crisis that, as it turns out, they manufactured themselves. This may all sound quite familiar if you follow the various conspiracy theories floating about on the Internet about 9/11.
Anyway, it turns out that "V" was rounded up with the rest of the minorities, homosexuals, and other undesirables and placed in an internment camp once the goons took over. In the internment camp, some very nasty medical experiments took place which V survived. And now, V is pissed.
After he rescues damsel in distress Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), an employee of the state run propaganda television network, from an attempted rape by a couple of the Fingermen goons, "V" takes her to the rooftops to watch him blow up a government building.
"Do you like music?" V asks Evey in one of this film's several great lines of dialogue as the 1812 Overture blares the soundtrack to the fireworks over loud speakers in the streets.
But V is just getting warmed up.
Turns out "V" has taken a cue from his spiritual mentor, 16th Century Catholic Guy Fawkes (whose mask he wears), and has decided to send a message to his oppressors by blowing up the British Parliament building on November 5th (the anniversary of Fawkes' original attempt to do the same). Leading up to that event, he slices and dices his way through an array of villains ranging from the fascist government's television propaganda mouthpiece to everyone's favorite pedophile Catholic priest.
Meanwhile, with the none too subtle assistance of "V" himself, Evey has her own spiritual and political epiphany and becomes his accomplice.
As I noted above, there are so many great lines of dialogue in this movie. I couldn't begin to note them all, but here are a few of my favorites:
"A revolution without dancing isn't one worth having."
"Beneath this mask lies an idea, and ideas are bulletproof."
And my personal favorite:
"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
Though cleverly disguised as a popcorn action picture, V For Vendetta is a movie that makes you think. Even as it entertains you by blowing things up and slicing and dicing it's way through all the bad guys (loved the knife trails in the fight scenes), there is a definite statement being made:
The double disc DVD comes with some great extras, too. In addition to a short documentary on the making of the film, there are features on the new wave of comics focusing on the eighties and nineties rise of the graphic novels which spawned V For Vendetta, as well as a history piece on the Guy Fawkes backstory which inspired it.
V For Vendetta is a thinking man's action picture. I loved this movie in the theatres and I loved watching it at home. It comes to your nearest video store August 1.
This is a review for "V For Vendetta - Two-Disc Special Edition", to give some information on the extras included with the movie.
This is one of my family's favorite movies. It's exciting and it's stirring. Comic book but complex. Superbly filmed and acted, but then it had an amazing graphic novel to follow. Here's comments from participants in the DVD extras on this 2-disc Special Edition that echo my feelings about "V for Vendetta":
Kevin Phipps, supervising art director: "You don't really know where you are, in terms of time. It's almost as if creativity has stopped." (extra #1)
Daniel McTeigue, director: "I think it's a political thriller, first and foremost. It is in the superhero genre, but it's also a play on that convention." (Special Feature)
John Hurt, who plays Adam Sutler: "The themes are serious. I'm not sure the treatment is as serious as that. But on the other hand, if it was as serious as that, I'm not sure that it would reach the amount of people that it's intended to reach." (Special Feature)
Stephen Fry, who plays Dietrich: "This is a movie about a terrorist. The hero is a terrorist. It's a very good ethical point, because as we all know, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." (Special Feature)
Indeed, though I root for "V", he is not perfect. He wants the populace to stir themselves, stand up for themselves, and take their government back. But not until after he's had his vengeance.
DISC NUMBER ONE:
1. The movie. Spoken languages available are the original English and dubbed French. Subtitles available in English, French and Spanish.
2. Special Feature, 31 minutes: "Freedom Forever! Making V for Vendetta". This feature and extras 1, 2, and 3 were made at the same time. That is, when someone, such as the director, appears in more than one, you can tell that they were filmed at the same time. The extras compliment each other, rather than repeat each other. Interspersed with the interviews are film clips and production clips, too.
Participants include James McTeigue, director, who says, "I was the assistant director on the Matrix films. To live in the Matrix world is to know the graphic novel world."
DISC NUMBER TWO EXTRAS:
1. "Designing the Near Future", 9 minutes. Interesting stuff. The V mask was cast in fiberglass from a clay mold. It took the sculptor several tries. Most of the film was made at the Babelsberg Studio in Berlin. But there were crucial outdoor scenes that had to be filmed in England, such as at the end, where the mass of V's converge on Trafalgar Square on the 5th of November. It took 5 months to set up the 3 nights of filming; about 30 agencies/organizations had to give approval and/or co-ordinate.
2. "Remember Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot", 14 minutes. The history of the original gunpowder plot and how it's grown into an annual celebration in England. One interesting comment is by Sinead Cusack, who plays Delia Surridge. She was born in Dalkey, Ireland, and they have a different view of Guy Fawkes there.
3. "England Prevails: V for Vendetta and The New Wave in Comics", 24 minutes. This is about the comic book, or graphic novel. The camera-shy Alan Moore does not appear, but David Lloyd, who created the graphics for Moore's narrative, appears in several of the extras.
Karen Berger, executive editor of Vertigo, DC's edgier more adult-oriented company says: "V for Vendetta is in a class of its own. It's a brilliant piece of work. It's a commentary on society. At the time it was written, there was absolutely nothing being done like that."
The original comic book was published in black & white in England. Twenty-six issues were created before the publisher folded. Unfortunately, this was before V's story was finished! Both Alan Moore and David Lloyd were subsequently hired by DC comics, who saw the genius, and published a complete version of "V" in color.
4. Cat Power Montage. This is like a song video. Clips of the movie are shown while Cat Powers sings "I Found a Reason", from The Covers Album (2000)
5. Soundtrack album info
6. Theatrical trailer
on January 19, 2015
Absolutely love this movie. Many of the things in this somewhat futuristic tale are happening today, even if you are not a conspiracy theorist. Edge of your seat type action. Have watched it three times already.
on March 17, 2006
As a film fan, I have seen too many shabby comic adaptations, and truthfully too many films which only act intelligent, and are indeed not so. This film dispels both of those commonplaces, and really is one of those films that a fan like me waits for, if only to remind myself why I go to the theatres.
To set-up a basic introduction, first you need to know that this takes place sometime in the future, in the United Kingdom. The world is very different, as the US is said to be in turmoil, while Great Britain indeed looks very powerful and strong. Or so says their media, because in the movie's not too distant past Britain was controlled (through elections) by Sullivan (played by John Hurt) who is as much a 1984 Big Brother, as he is a president. This is why we meet the 'terrorist' V, and Portman's character Evey, who together have both in their own way suffered under Sutler.
Enough plot summary though, as I assure you that this movie will be worth your while. Because once again, this film is smart and action-packed (thanks Wachowski brothers!); this is indeed too often becoming a rarity. One more positive note, is that even though the situation is foreign (and not just by nationality), there is some commonality for all to relate to and dig into. So, what can I say, except see it, like it, love it.
I hope you do.
on September 6, 2008
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, while I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door, only this, and nothing more."
So I answered the door, and it was a messenger. He handed me a package, made me sign a paper, I hope I wasn't selling my soul or something (I don't have a soul to sell, it will be breach of contract and I may be sued) and he leave as fast as he arrived. So I entered my house, put the package on a coffee table, and forgot it 'till the very next day. And the very next day I remembered the package.
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,in there stepped a stately mask of the saintly days of yore; not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; but, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door, perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door, perched, and sat, and nothing more.
It was V's mask. It is a small mask, just the appropriate size for the bust of Pallas I have in my library. So I made Pallas to wear V's mask, and then I enjoyed the movie. Apart from the mask and the movie, the package has a few mementos: four postcard sized posters of the movie, and V's symbol. The second disc includes the making of V, interviews and a lot of stuff, while the movie itself, widescreen, has three languages for audio and closed captioning (French, English and Spanish) allowing me to practice two languages and still enjoy it in my mother tongue. A nice touch. I've framed the lobby cards and they are hanging in my walls. I like them.
And V's Mask, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting on the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, and the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; and my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted - nevermore!
on March 14, 2006
"V For Vendetta" was originally a graphic novel illustrated by David Lloyd and written by Alan Moore, who became famous from the great "Watchmen" series and may be known to movie goers for "From Hell," and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," neither of which were the best-executed or successful of film adaptations.
"V For Vendetta" gets it right this time, for sure. I don't like it as much as "Sin City," but I also don't think it's fair to make that comparison seriously - the two works/movies succeed on different levels and have different objectives.
Also, I can say right off the bat, this movie is not going to please all fans of "V." The look is somewhat different and some of the character traits and subplots are gone. But in my opinion, it doesn't hurt it. But there will be acrimonious debate. Oh yes, there will be.
Like most comic book/graphic novels and their accompanying movies, "V" brings a wonderfully epic feeling by interspersing larger-than-life goals, scenarios, and characters with the more intimate, personal, and emotional aspect of human life. Instead of "wonderfully epic" some critics might suggest "overblown melodrama." I do not agree, but to each their own.
The United Kingdom of the "future" (no surprise or problem this was different) is under the control of a dystopian, Orwellian government. It is a world sorely in need of a hero. On Guy Fawkes Day, such a hero arrives. A masked freedom fighter (or "terrorist," whichever you choose) blows up Parliament in an act of rebellion. But there is more to it than that, something that has deep ties to the corrupt totalitarian government, how they achieved power, and the dark history of those involved. Something that demands vengeance. Along the way V saves Evey, the requisite Mysterious Beautiful Girl with the Mysterious Past. However, "V For Vendetta" was written before these things became such tired conventions, so I'm forgiving in this instance, and furthermore it still works to this day when handled correctly, as it does here. But this is all the plot I want to give, the rest should come as a surprise to those of you who have not read the original work. Needless to say the stakes rise faster than maybe even the irrepressible and Byronic V can keep up with, and Evey will have a lot to find out about the both of them. That should be enough to entice the casual review reader.
The acting is very good. Hugo Weaving plays a not-unfamiliar comic book/anime type hero that could be easily and unintentionally hammed up. He does not. I am actually not a big fan of his at all, but I have to give the man his due - he shows us what a fan of the graphic novel series expects to be shown, in most of the important facets.
Some people have expressed discontent because Natalie Portman is "too high profile" or "not British" or because they just plain don't like her. As with Weaving, I wasn't really a fan coming into this movie. Roles like Evey's are pretty meaty and easy to look good in. However, Portman did more than I expected with the role, which is saying something because I was expecting a lot and ready to write a snarky little review trashing her performance. Instead, I have to eat my words of a few days ago - "I think there were better choices for Evey." Whoops. Looking at the job she did, I'm dubious now. Even as a Portman detractor, I have to say, she's forging an interesting body of work that may soon begin to silence her critics.
I like Stephen Rea in virtually everything I see him in and this is no exception. The man is one of the most talented supporting actors of the day.
The rest of the supporting cast was fine but of course these three jumped out at me.
The cinematography was indeed flashy, as you'd expect. I refuse to draw comparisons to certain other movies, and while I'm not usually a fan of the all-out style of these other movies that have been relentlessly parodied, there are some very well-done and exciting scenes, with an eye toward a more leisurely (and interesting) pacing than you might expect from a movie such as this. As I said above, the look of Alan Moore's world is not well captured, and that's my biggest mark against the movie, but the filmmakers have their own style, and it is not a bad one.
Lastly, I am surprised at some of the angst expressed that "V For Vendetta" promotes, justifies, and glorifies terrorism, particularly as viewed in a modern context. "V For Vendetta" was started back in 1981. Whatever broader themes or messages people may think the movie touches on in lieu of the media firestorm over Middle Eastern terrorism and scorn heaped on movies like "Valley of the Wolves," I rather think the vast majority of them are brought to the table by the viewer's interpretation or bias, not by the filmmakers.
In conclusion, I recommend this movie to anyone reading these reviews and fans of graphic novels and comics. It's a great ride.
on August 21, 2009
I saw the movie first, read the book after, and then watched the film again. The creators of this film took intelligence and delicacy into making a nearly flawless adaptation. Reason Being? Material that didn't make it to film is what would have destroyed it. V for Vendetta is not a word for word translation. V the film is a updated and different approach with everything that was the heart and soul of the book. They snipped and cut what they needed to and added fresh material to give the film more substance.
I really feel sorry for Alan Moore after the LXG movie. It really did no justice to him, and it did not display any of his writing talent. V for Vendetta however is bleeding with Moore dialogue. More than half of the films dialogue comes straight from the graphic novel, and it's really inspiring to see a hollywood movie do justice like that. And even the new and different scenes compliment the Alan Moore setting like you never would have guessed. Graphic novels like Watchmen and V are very cinematic but not everything can translate to film. Although it was nearly the same, the Watchmen picture did have a entirely different ending. This is simply because you can do different things in books that you can't in film.
Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman? Who would have thought? This duo turned out to be the best idea the film had. I'm not familiar with the other actors but they certainly deserve more and more screen time in their future. Portman is significantly different from the girl in the novel, but it was a smart move for the film. The independent and thought-provoking Evey in the film is way more interesting and inspiring than the girl in the book. Giving her a smarter role really gave the audience something more interesting. And Hugo? What can I say? Hugo has never basterdized a role in a film. He was spot on with V.
V for Vendetta is one of the benchmark comic book movies that really got it right. After seeing this I regained hope for all adaptations, because this one director thought to preserve the art of the book, and not just sell it. We really take for granted how much these people work to make a film an artwork, when one can simply just sell it with action, effects, and sexuality. I hope when anyone watches this film they can feel rewarded and not sold.