V for Vendetta (2005)

“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot.”  Happy Guy Fawkes Day, everyone!  Here’s my old review of this movie I love.

Directed by James McTeigue and adapted for the screen from Alan Moore’s comic book by the Wachowski brothers (I guess they’re um, not brothers anymore, but siblings), V for Vendetta tells the tale of a masked freedom fighter in a future London, and his mission to bring down the totalitarian government that has assumed control. It’s the kind of frightening future that George Orwell once wrote about in “1984” (which, coincidentally enough, also starred John Hurt). Please don’t let the involvement of the Wachowski brothers siblings deter you from watching this film. To do so would be a disservice to the film and every message it’s attempting to bring to the public. The Wachowskis might not be able to make great sequels (Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions are better left forgotten), but they’ve certainly got the ability to adapt a comic book masterpiece to the screen.

I mentioned that the film has a distinct “1984” feel to it, but there’s another story that it appears to owe a lot to, and that’s “The Phantom of the Opera”. V (Hugo Weaving) never appears without his Guy Fawkes mask on throughout the entire film, and it’s a testament to Weaving’s phenomenal acting abilities that the mask never seems to be a prop, just an extension of the character. The mask is worn both as a statement and as a disguise, though there’s probably no one that could identify V thanks to the experiments the government performed on V when he was a “political prisoner”. Well, thanks to the experiments and the eventual facility explosion that V probably engineered. V’s backstory is shrouded in mystery and if you don’t like movies that don’t explain the entire plot to you, you’re going to be frustrated by the lack of information.

Natalie Portman’s Evey is essentially Christine Daae to Weaving’s V as the Phantom of the Opera, though with far less romantic inclination on V’s part. He truly may love Evey, but he won’t take his heart off the mission for anyone, and thankfully the story teases the pairing up but never pulls the trigger. I’m finding it hard to write this review with a critical mindset since I really, really liked it. There you go, sorry for not putting in a SPOILER ALERT, but this movie is near perfect despite the differences between Alan Moore’s story and the Wachowski’s.

The movie looks gorgeous, with crisp colours and wonderful lighting throughout. The score keeps you in the scene, building tension or filling you with righteous anger at so many freedoms lost. The acting is top notch throughout, from Portman’s convincing accent to John Hurt’s maniacal Chancellor to Stephen Rea’s disbelieving Inspector and so on. I’m not sure if the movie was released for Weaving to be eligible for next year’s Oscars, but he definitely deserves a Best Actor nomination for his wonderful performance here (the film received no Oscar nominations at all.  Fuck the Oscars). A lot of actors rely on their looks and their facial expressions to convey certain things, but stripping Weaving of those crutches only displays what a remarkable talent he truly is.

I mentioned that the movie was near perfect, and for that I do blame the Wachowskis. Apparently they didn’t learn from the Zion Rave Party in The Matrix Reloaded and included a slightly pointless montage scene in this film as well. The domino scene is quite visually stunning, don’t get me wrong. But when the main character – the anti-hero that we’re all cheering for – is shown tipping over a bunch of dominoes that took 200 hours to set up in real life to form his logo from the fallen dominoes when he’s got less than a year to iron out the details of his master plan… wait… where was I? Oh yeah. Unnecessary, but cool looking.

4.5 / 5


About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: