V FOR VENDETTA
132 minutes approx
Evey Hammond -
Adam Sutler -
Written by -
The Wachowski Brothers
Directed by -
Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) lives in a world where it's all gone horribly wrong. 'America's War' has spilled over into the rest of the world and chaos descended. England Prevailed by voting in a despotic Chancellor (John Hurt) whose draconian measures ensured the survival of civilisation, but at what cost?
Not everyone agrees with the new political landscape and one of those is known only as V (Hugo Weaving). Hidden behind a mask, he is a man who has been wronged greatly and is going to bring down the whole country if necessary to gain his revenge. Evey gets caught up in his schemes by accident and finds his influence leads to danger, betrayal, torture and liberation.
V FOR VENDETTA was a comic book with a difference and it becomes a comic book movie with a difference. No FANTASTIC FOUR this. For one thing, this film is stunning.
Don't go to see this film if you're looking for all out action. The trailer may have emphasised the knife fighting and buildings exploding, but action is not what this film is about.
V FOR VENDETTA is about liberation, liberation from fear and liberation from tyranny. 'People should no be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people' is the tagline, but there's a lot more than that to think about and it's not all as clear cut. For one thing, V is a killer and a bomber and is called a terrorist throughout. The film pretty much espouses the idea that it is OK to be all of these things if the cause is just. Not the message you'd be expecting from a Hollywood blockbuster, even if it is set in a dystopian England of the future.
Freedom is more important than safety. Whilst the repressive government measures are all about keeping the populace safe from outside threats, the loss of personal liberty is unacceptable and will be overthrown (is any of this sounding familiar?). Fear of muslim extremism, sexual deviance and avian flu are all name checked along the way.
It all sounds dull and dry, but it is far from it. Natalie Portman makes for a strong centre, but can't quite cope with some of the heavier moments. The torture sequence is hard to watch, but when the truth about her ordeal is revealed it's a breathtaker. Hugo Weaving may be locked behind an inexpressive mask, but he dominates proceedings from his dodgy introduction (too many words beginning with v in a sentence is a real turn off) to the climactic showdown with the Chancellor. John Hurt is loathesome in his limited exposure and Stephen Rea is a crumpled and world weary as only he can be.
The film also has some thrilling moments. As well as the few action scenes, there are strong moments where V does his killing in the shower, or with deadly poison, but the moment where the English people come alive and swarm through London's streets, all dressed as V, is an astonishingly powerful image.
V FOR VENDETTA isn't perfect, but it is one of the first films for a long time that I've wanted to go straight back in and watch a second time.Top
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