"One of the better comic book adatpions ever made"
After Batman Begins raised the stakes last year as far a comic book adaptations are concerned, V for Vendetta comes along and matches it in style, substance and pace.It is a fantastic blockbuster that mixes action, romance, drama and mystery in equal balance. Even though the source material was influenced by Britain’s Thatcher ere, It is also very representative of our times – it targets governments who kill innocent people for the ‘greater good’ and highlights how influential media fed by propaganda can be. Covering such issues in a big budget blockbuster is a risky affair that has certainly paid off for the team behind this film.
V for Vendetta is set in London in the not too distant future where England is ruled under a totalitarian regime led by Counsellor Sutler (John Hurt). The story follows the mysterious V, an intellectual and eccentric loner dedicated to freeing the masses from the clutches of a government that he deems to be evil. He is also driven by a personal vendetta after bearing horrible physical and emotional injuries after his time in an experimental laboratory where prisoners were exposed to a deadly virus.
V hides behind a Guy Fawkes mask both to cover his deformities and to honour his influence. Guy Fawkes was caught on November 5th 1605 attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder – he was later tortured and executed for his crimes. In remembrance of that day, V vows to bring down this government in a similar fashion on the 5th of November 2021.
One night V saves a young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) from being violently punished by government agents for breaking curfew. She ends up getting tied up in V’s elaborate plot as well as becoming a suspect for being his accomplice. As momentum gathers for V’s plot, the government becomes more infuriated and determined to find V especially when evidence emerges that his ideals are becoming popular with the people. Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea) heads the investigation and as he delves deeper into who V might be, he unravels horrible truths about the government he works for and seriously begins to question his loyalties.
Even though you never see his face, Hugo Weaving delivers his lines with poetic beauty and Portman puts in a very strong performance. The supporting, mostly British, cast is also impressive with a Stephen Fry playing one of the more memorable minor roles.
V for Vendetta is an intricately weaved story that balances drama and action beautifully thanks to both the comic on which it is based and a cleverly written screenplay by the Wachowski Brothers. This is Australian James McTeigue’s directorial debut after learning the ropes as assistant director on the Matrix series and he does a fantastic job delivering drama, suspense and action in equal balance.This is one comic book adaption that delivers on all levels. It is one of the few films of this genre to stick with you long after the credits roll and it achieves this by prodding its audience into provocative thought whilst still being spectacular to watch.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
DC Characters: For more in the DC Characters series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2013 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.