Lookee here, another review that starts with an anecdote about how 1989’s Batman got me back into comics. Lucky you.
Well, yes, it did get me hooked on comics, and I started haunting every comic shop I could in search of more and more comics to devour. And no matter where I went, one book always stared me in the face, Alan Moore’s V For Vendetta, illustrated by David Lloyd. Now I gotta say, I never ended up picking it up, or reading it. It had “grown up” looking art, and no apparent super-heroes, so I never paid it much attention. Lo all these years later, talks started that it would become a movie.
I really didn’t care much either, especially since Alan Moore’s comics haven’t been treated all that well on screen. But when I realized that the Wachowski Brothers were involved, that sorta intrigued me. And then it was announced that Ms Natalie Portman had the female lead, that made it official. I’d have to see it.(Especially since I refused to see "Star Wars 6, Part 3, Carry the 1", and I needed a Portman fix!)
Directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowski bros, I can’t be sure, but I think Alan Moore might finally be pleased by a movie based on his work. V For Vendetta tells the story of an ugly British future that’s a brutal mix of Hitler’s Germany and Orwell’s 1984 (which makes it very cool that the hero of the movie version of 1984, the great John Hurt, is the political leader here (and I don’t think that’s a spoiler folks)). Anyway, one mysterious man in a Guy Fawkes mask and a Zorro-esque outfit is the only person that seems ready to stand up to the government. He, known only as “V”, says that, “People shouldn’t fear their governments. Governments should fear their people.”
Ay, there’s the rub. Nowadays cheering for a man who is essentially a terrorist is a dicey proposition. But within the context of the film, A WORK OF FICTION, it’s…OK.
And that’s as political as I’ll get, thank you very much.
Anyway, when V saves a beautiful young woman who’s caught being out after curfew, he sort of takes her under his wing. Sort of. This isn’t Batman and Robin, this more captor and prisoner, and almost Beauty and the Beast.
Obviously the “beauty” in question is Natalie Portman, and she does an amazing job. Her performance here is probably one of her best ever, which is saying a lot, since she’s always excellent.
Equally excellent though never truly seen is Hugo Weaving as V, who speaks with a beautiful fluidity with his recognizable voice made so famous as “Agent Smith” in the Matrix movies. The mask completely covers his face, so his voice and his body language do all the acting for him. That couldn’t have been easy, but he does an amazing job.
The entire cast is excellent actually; not a weak link in the bunch. Stephen Rea is third billing though, as the government agent trying to discover the truth. He too is always excellent. Of the people I didn’t really know though, Sinead Cusack and Natasha Wightman were very good in emotional and pivotal roles.
I really can’t find any flaws with V For Vendetta, except for the subject matter itself. Evil governments aren’t my thing. And I don’t really know how faithful this is to the graphic novel, so I can’t judge the movie by that. But V For Vendetta is an entertaining, interesting, extremely well acted and thought provoking movie.