V For Vendetta (2005)
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Sinéad Cusack
Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, this tense thriller tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man (Hugo Weaving) known only as ‘V’. Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V’s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself – and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
This unusual superhero movie is an adaptation of a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It tells the story of a dystopian United Kingdom set in a near future. With a reasonably small cast and relatively small budget, the film was a commercial success and its a movie that splits opinion.
It is very definitely a movie that I love. In fact, this could be the Marmite of the movie world, you either love it or you hate it. I think there is just something very unique about this particular film, V For Vendetta.
It’s writing is excellent and the way lead actor Hugo Weaving delivers the lines is truly sublime. he has many self indulging soliloquies and he makes every word of them count. the other thing I liked about the movie is of course we don’t see Weaving’s face for the entire film.
Set in a Britain where the entire political system is tyrannical, this movie about the cause of one freedom fighter’s plans to overthrow the Government with the help of the people is very Orson Welles’ 1984 in its style, but I think it does a better job at making the audience understand its point. I found 1984 much more high brow and sometimes I think that some movies should try to be more on a level with the audience, but still convey an intellectual message. V For Vendetta did that for me
The movie is written by the Wachowski siblings (as one is now of the opposite sex), and I think it is probably their best offering to date. I mean I liked The Matrix and it was original, but this take on the Guy Fawkes character being responsible for the overthrowing of the Government is excellent. They manage to blend the two storylines together extremely well and the cast is the glue that keep them together. As I said, Weaving is the highlight of the film, but his supporting cast members are really good as well. Natalie Portman plays Evey who feels that she can help in some way but she has to really believe that nothing can scare her enough to back down.
The rest of the supporting cast includes Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, Roger Allam and Tim Pigott-Smith and they all do very fine jobs to make the fringe storylines an integral part of the main story in the end. I would really give this a whirl if you have been undecided on it thus far. I think if you are a fan of the history of Guy Fawkes you might enjoy this, but I just love the way its brought right up to date with a new set of characters, but the same storyline of blowing up the Government in some way. Weaving puts on a truly stupendous performance and for that alone its worth it. V For Vendetta makes you ask questions about our own Governments past and present and what might happen if the British people rose up against the powers that be in a similar way.
Fun Fact: The reason the secret police are called “Fingermen” is because the New Order was arranged on the model of the human body. The Chancellor was the Head; the television station BTN was the mouth; visual and audio surveillance were the Eye and the Ear; Inspector Finch was part of The Nose, the police force, and Creedy’s secret police were the Hand.
There are guy films and there are girlie films. Guy films usually feature comic book heroes, guns, explosions, and a sexy female. Girlie films, on the other hand usually have music by Abba, make you cry, and star someone like Ryan Gosling. Women don’t expect men to like girlie films, so men shouldn’t expect women to like guy films.
I don’t tend to like girlie films. Unless they star Ryan Gosling, I mean, come on, that guy is hot! Did you see him in The Notebook? I cried my eyes out and he was completely dreamy!
Sorry, I got kinda carried away there – it happens when Ryan Gosling is in the picture.
Anyway, I’m a woman who tends to like guy films. I love a great action sequence and I’ve always been a bit of a comic book geek. Furthermore, I LOVE Alan Moore’s work. So, why don’t I like V For Vendetta?
It’s a puzzle, really. On the surface of things, it should be a movie I love – it has everything I usually look for in a good movie – great cast that reads like a who’s who of British talent (come on, Stephen Fry is in it, and that man is never wrong!); an excellent plot that is equal part intrigue and espionage; a dark, exciting atmosphere; and faithfulness to the spirit of the source material. Still, I just never liked this film very much.
I think it’s largely due to Hugo Weaving essentially repeating his performance from The Matrix (1999), which, incidentally, I also dislike immensely. The way his voice drawls is almost identical to his portrayal of Agent Smith in the movie trilogy that started six years before V For Vendetta being released. It felt like a total cop-out from a very talented performer and sounds like he’s chewing his own face off every time he drags his heels over one of those damned soliloquies, so right off the bat, I was disappointed. Perhaps it’s also because there was a spate of dark, dystopian comic book movies released around the same time (Sin City was also released in 2005, based on the Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name – another one I didn’t like very much – what on earth is wrong with me?), and I was reading a lot of dystopian fiction at the time, so maybe I was just all dystopianed-out.
Subsequent viewings have done nothing to improve my opinion of it. I really can’t fathom why I dislike it so much – it’s one of those mysteries that I suspect may never be solved, but I just don’t enjoy V For Vendetta and I suspect I never will. I confess, every time I’m flicking through channels and see that it is on television, I cringe a little and pass it as quickly as I can whilst trying to suppress that internal shudder of revulsion.
In conclusion, V For Vendetta does not suck. It’s a slick, clever film with a great plot and it’s visually stunning. I just don’t like it.
THE VERDICT:Agree to disagree. One of us is destined to always watch this film without the other, as the other really cannot stand the thought of sitting through it ever again, despite being able to see that she should think it’s the biz.