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V for Vendetta Movie Review (9/10)

Posted on April 4th, 2006 filed in Movie Reviews    |   

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Summary:

It is November 5, 2020 and Britain is under a totalitarian oppressive government that, in the name of religious self righteousness, rules by fear and practices brutal ethnic, political and religious cleansing. The whole country seems to have succumbed with no resistance to speak of. Comes V, a charismatic, sophisticated, masked man who blows up the ministry of justice then takes over the government controlled TV and invites his fellow citizens to fight their oppressors and take back their country. V sets a date of exactly 1 year later for him to blow the parliament building.

Background:

1) November 5 is a date celebrated in Britain to honor Guy Fawkes, an English soldier that was part of a catholic attempt to overthrow the government in 1605 by blowing up the parliament and killing King James 1 of England. The coup failed however and was discovered prior to completion. Guy Fawkes was then hanged.

The mask worn by V is a Guy Fawkes mask.

2) The book is based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore. His other work includes ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ the adaptation of which to the screen reportedly left him quite unhappy and dissatisfied to the point that when he was approached to have V for Vendetta made for film, he refused any involvement from his end and insisted that his name be taken off the credits.

3) The Wachowski brothers that wrote the screenplay are behind the Matrix series screenplays (both original and the sequels).

Review

V for Vendetta delivers, and quite handsomely so.

In the current times of major wars, erosion of personal freedoms, Big Brother, political conflicts (September 11 attack on the US, wars in Irak and Afghanistan,..), freedom movements against totalitarian regimes (Ukraine, Lebanon,..), and the various health epidemic scares (SARS, Anthrax, Bird Flu,..) , Brothers Washowski succeeded in creating a credible and coherent story. Even the Futuristic state of the UK is not that hard to imagine in a western country with the current world status of secret prisons, tortures, widespread anti muslim sentiments, conservative far right governments (With its impact on gays, lesbians, abortions,..),….

The mask factor (A la Phantom of the Opera) is crucial I find. A masked man has no identity, and thus is harder for authorities to fight and destroy the credibility of (By unmasking some unflattering mistake in the past). As a matter of fact, observers of contemporary freedom movements note that sometimes people’s thirst for freedom is tainted by their lack of trust in those leading their revolution. Hence the mask factor. It gives hope with virtually no reservation on the person himself. The powerful statement at the end of people needing hope more than anything else succintly summarizes that.

The fact that the mask is that of Guy Fawkes, a well loved folk hero the memory of whom is still being celebrated nowadays, makes it easier for the people to understand and join the revolution.

The actors have done a fine job as well.

The star extraordinaire here by far is Hugo Weaving (V). Despite being masked throughout the movie, he impresses with his charisma, culture and sophistication. It is hard to dislike a rebel that knows his Shakespeare, classic movies, and Opera. One may remember Hugo from The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Elrond). The nuances of his voice leave one captivated and are crucial to the story line deployment. He’s both poetic, compassionate, vulnerable and tender (to Evey), revolutionnary, and ruthless.

Fans of Natalie Portman will likely be disturbed by her shaved head look. But that again plays well in the plot. And this was a beautiful performance for Natalie in par with her ‘Closer’ caliber. The English accent may not be extremely convincing for brits but will likely pass unnoticed with the rest of us.

The cinematography is also quite pleasing . The scene with hundreds of thousands Guy Falks is a classic and quite unforgettable and marks a dramatic crescendo in the movie.

The Special Effects are also well executed without ‘The Matrix’ overkill. Hallellujah!

Overall, V for Vendetta is a strong socio political message that well reflects our times and that is amazingly executed in style and beauty. The job, I must say, is very well done. This movie will stay with you far beyond your leaving the theatre and will keep growing on you.

One of my top movies of all time.

N.B> I must note that I have not seen the original graphic novel and so have made no comparisons between the two. You do not however need to read the novel to thoroughly enjoy this movie.

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4 Responses to “V for Vendetta Movie Review (9/10)”

  1. Naomi Says:

    It is an excellent, beautiful, intelligent and entertaining movie! In my humble opinion, it is definitely one of the top movies ever made. What I love the most about this movie is the writing, the dialogue, the sophisticated vocabulary used by V who often speaks in allegory and prose….and is most impressive in his ( ending all his words by the same syllable)

    I left the theater wishing we could have a V-like persona in real life….how we need such a leader, such a person with no face, no name to wake us up and shake up our world that is ever more increasing in religious and racial intolerance…to remind us to revolt when we see wrong and speak up when we feel oppressed….

    I recommend this movie to people of ages and races….It has an excellent cast, it keeps you at the edge of your seat and leave with something to think about!!!!

  2. Gerard Says:

    Nathalie Portman is amazing in this movie!!!! I could not believe it she actually shaved her head for the role and somehow, even with a shaved head she still manages to look feminine! She gives us a great performance in V for Vendetta, she is both strong yet vulnerable, fearful yet rebellious….one cannot but identify with some of her strengths and weaknesses

    I agree with you the voice of V played by Hugo Weaving is so powerful, it is hypnotizing…He is so well read and sophisticated one cannot but admire him….

    This movie really shows us the famous saying that “what cannot kill you can only make you stronger” as we go through the torture and imprisonment of Nathalie by V, I was first angry by his brutal actions but later we understand that we must face and succumb all our fears to be free in this world….

    Loved this movie, highly recommend it !

  3. Sophie Says:

    Very interesting this background story you give us about Guy Fawkes…I was wondering about the date November 5th myself actually…hummm taht makes the movie even more credible, the way they incorporated historically significant dates and character into the story…..

    Excellent movie, excellent cast, excellent script, the Wachowski brothers leave a funky matrix-like flying scene towards the end that adds to the action of the movie without overdoing it…

    The intolerance towards homosexuals is portrayed in a very brutal yet classy way, as well as the bigotry towards other religions….To be brutally murdered for any of these causes or for the simple possession of a non Christian religious book, well it definitely is a wake up call…could we be headed in this direction?

    The love that developed between V and Nathalie is both pure and raw…I love their relationship

  4. patrick Says:

    watched V for Vendetta recently, loved it. eye-candy effects, amazing how much character they developed into a mask, then again, maybe he was more than a mask…

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