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Overall Rating
3.93

Awesome46.43%
Worth A Look: 25.79%
Average: 13.1%
Pretty Bad: 3.57%
Total Crap: 11.11%

16 reviews, 156 user ratings


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V for Vendetta
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by Tom Ciorciari

"The smartest movie of the year!"
5 stars

In the not-too-distant future a freedom fighter who sports a Guy Fawkes mask, and goes only by the name V (Hugo Weaving), uses terrorist tactics to ignite a revolution in totalitatian Britain. With the reluctant aid of Evey (Natalie Portman), a young woman he has rescued from the misanthropic secret police, V must keep one step ahead of the government even as he very publicly brings it down. In adapting Alan Moore’s graphic mini-series novel of the same name Andy and Larry Wachowski (who know a thing or two about futuristic oppressive societies) and first time director James McTeigue have crafted a visually arresting, mind bending and subversive manifesto in popcorn movie accoutrements.

First and foremost, V For Vendetta is a movie of ideas; an action movie based on a graphic novel that forces its audience to think; to pay attention. On first glance, a cobbling together of the Batman and Phantom Of The Opera mythologies that asks its audience to ponder statements such as “People should not be afraid of their governments; Governments should be afraid of their people” beyond their effect as mere dialogue. Heady stuff in our post-9/11 world. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is a corrupt government built on cronyism and fearmongering, one which may well have covertly staged a national tragedy with the specific intent of then very publicly saving its constituency from that very tragedy; a government which spies on its populace nightly, patrolling the streets in vans decked out with audio surveillance equipment; a government which propagandizes 24 hours a day via the British Television Network (BTN; itself a covert arm of the government; think: Fox news), and most decidedly does not take kindly to being parodied; a government which does not tolerate homosexuality or anything it would consider to be dissident in nature. If this sounds familiar, it’s most assuredly intentional. Though the source material, to which the filmmakers hew closely, hails from 1988-89, and was originally meant as a commentary on the England of Margaret Thatcher, its topicality could not be more timely. And, as in Moore’s work, the challenge the filmmakers pose to their audience is whether or not V is protagonist or antagonist; terrorist or freedom fighter. Do we accept that “sometimes an idea is more important than a building”?

As Evey – traversing the arc from BTN cog to full-on Patty Hearst-like V sympathizer, with a harrowing sidetrip into POW hell – Natalie Portman has officially left the world of child/teen actors behind. Whereas Jodie Foster’s (the one actress whose career path seems the best bet for Portman to follow) teen years were spent mostly offscreen – the actress emerging post-Yale a poised young woman – Portman has grown up before our eyes. From the gangly little girl in The Professional and crushing teenybopper of Beautiful Girls to the flaky, damaged little-girl-on-the-inside of 2004’s sublime Garden State Portman has shown poise beyond her age and experience. Here we have the payoff: a confident, expansive performance that is the high water mark, to date, of a career that has always impressed. When Evey plants a kiss on the carved lips of V’s Fawkes/faux face this is not some silly stab at late-in-the-game romance. Rather, we see Evey’s final embrace of V as not a man but a philosophy. As played by Portman the effect is thrilling.

Heading up an exquisitely cast group of supporting players is Stephen Rea as Finch, the detective who suspects there is more to V and his actions than meets the eye; Stephen Fry as Deitrich, Evey’s talk show host friend and closeted historic artifact collector and homosexual; and John Hurt as Sutler, the tyrannical Big Brother of the piece.

And, despite these superlative performances, V For Vendetta belongs to Hugo Weaving’s charismatic (anti)hero. His face covered throughout behind a magnificent wooden Guy Fawkes mask, Weaving must convey everything with only his voice (a soft, velvety sing song that recalls Claude Raines similarly faceless work in James Whale’s 1932 landmark, The Invisible Man) and body language. Best know as the villainous Agent Smith in the Wachowski’s Matrix movies, Weaving is truly a revelation here. Taking on a role that would have hobbled many a lesser actor (and bigger name), Weaving is able to speak volumes with the mere tilt of his head.

Given the hands down coolest lair in a movie to date in which to hang, listening to Julie London records on a well-stocked jukebox, the walls decorated with classic movie posters, V’s complexities are conveyed with startling ease. The simple preparing of eggs coupled with a glimpse of his horribly scarred hands giving us a wealth on information that begs for an explanation (which does come) and, at the same time, requires none. A victim of governmental bio-experiments, V is the monstrous bastard child of the very beaurocracy that wants him dead; his vendetta being against those individuals who razed his previous life, and birthed him into this new one.

The film does falter somewhat in the third act, slipping into a rather familiar pattern of cat and mouse between V and his increasingly high-ranked adversaries, before climaxing in a Matrix-like showdown in a subway station. However, the filmmakers bounce back nicely for the finale, in which 100,000 Londoners clad in exact replicas on V’s Fawkes mask take to the streets for a march on Parliament. And if you’re a fan of Moore’s original, you will not be disappointed by the film’s climax, though the casual movie-goer might be knocked for a bit of a loop.

In a time in which the most profundity offered in the genre thus far has been SPIDERMAN’s “with great power comes great responsibility”, V FOR VENDETTA, though imminently quotable, offers no easy choices. There are no audience-friendly mission statements here (other than the old school terrorist call to arms, “Remember, remember, the fifth of November!”) It’s left to the viewer to choose sides and, once the movie has ended and the lights have come up, live with their decision. A thrilling, both timely and timeless, and wondrously subversive motion picture, V FOR VENDETTA is a must for anyone who longs to be challenged, rather than patronized, by the films they see.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13855&reviewer=384
originally posted: 04/14/06 14:35:26
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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.

User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell not bad at all 4 stars
3/11/15 Nik The story was built around its message, not vice versa 3 stars
7/05/11 Dr.Lao Entertaining but undistinguished entry into the done-to-death "future dictatorship" genre 3 stars
5/29/11 Shaun A Powerful vision that left me breathless and thoughtful. 5 stars
5/28/11 Toni I love this movie - definately one for our times 5 stars
3/27/11 Lenny Zane Ordinarily Natalie Portman could fascinate me for hours picking her nose, but THIS...Ugh! 1 stars
9/24/10 art V reminded me of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA! 3 stars
3/03/10 KGBproduced Have I just seen a film or a Soviet reel leveling all ills on religion and the bourgoisie? 1 stars
1/30/10 art V FOR VERY BAD!,is more like it! 1 stars
11/23/09 Jeff Wilder Entertaining and frightening futuristic thriller. 5 stars
6/03/09 Tom Good Day. Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. Help m 3 stars
4/03/09 Gorgon Zola An unbelievably clunky snoozer. Angst driven, poorly scripted and painful acting by Portman 1 stars
2/13/09 Peter North I'd like to drop my dynamite in Evey's V....... 5 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner This ones ok. 3 stars
8/03/08 Samantha Pruitt deep and awesome movie with a great story and acting! 4 stars
6/20/08 thismoviesucks most pretentious movie I've seen, terrible waste of time 1 stars
5/28/08 PAUL SHORTT VERY MUCH NON-RECOMMENDED 1 stars
5/26/08 zenny zestfully sticking it to the man 4 stars
3/25/08 emissario666 Good, but not as deep as the original 3 stars
2/29/08 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne How low hath Queen Amidala sunk -- unto sucking her own turds in this muck! 1 stars
12/08/07 yýlmaz perfect 5 stars
11/10/07 g webster not what I expected,extremely well done all around! 5 stars
11/09/07 il-Palazzo V is such a badass. 5 stars
7/10/07 Jubei Greatly written,one man's revenge turns a country against its dictators.Makes politics cool 5 stars
7/06/07 Greg Terrible movie 1 stars
7/04/07 Rocko Livingston Very very very nicely done! 5 stars
6/30/07 Mark Leonard Very surprised! Very well acted, superb music, gripped me all the the way through. 4 stars
6/19/07 rishy one of the greatest movies ever made. thought-provoking 5 stars
5/06/07 WCC Complete liberal propaganda. pot calling kettle black. 1 stars
4/13/07 Nessus Impressive, an action movie with a message 5 stars
2/26/07 Donny M People are stupid. Best story drivin movie in the last 5 years. 5 stars
2/22/07 Bitchflaps Peurile garbage, a 15 year old Maoist's wet dream I expected it to be bad but Jesus Christ. 1 stars
2/08/07 Andre urbani S for shit - too preachy and assumes the audience are stupid 1 stars
2/07/07 The chode Badass, the dialouge was so good its rediculous. 5 stars
1/11/07 Jake This movie is the complete and utter shit. 5 stars
1/09/07 Gerard Revengeful ! 5 stars
1/07/07 Quicksilver Interesting thoughts on totalitarianism married to long sequences of boredom 4 stars
1/02/07 Todd Fucking cool as hell, not what I was expecting 5 stars
12/12/06 Angela Saunders One of the most thought provoking films of the year. Surprisingly great!!! 5 stars
12/06/06 mel watkins a movie for our times 5 stars
11/19/06 lou a.m.a.z.i.n.g. one of the best films ever. 5 stars
10/29/06 R.W.Welch Paranoid and propagandistic but some good perfs. C+ 3 stars
10/20/06 MP Bartley Interesting ideas, awful dialogue, clumsy execution. 3 stars
10/15/06 Kristina Finally a film that is set out of america and with love and blood at the same time 5 stars
10/06/06 Lance Bush combined with Orwell....Great, timely lessons throughout this deep film of conscience 5 stars
10/02/06 Louise Couldn't get a handle on it at all - gave up after an hour ... 2 stars
10/02/06 Dr. Fishopolis ...and Anastasia Beaverhausen can go eat a dick. 4 stars
9/21/06 daveyt what a load of old tosh... 1 stars
9/17/06 Open/Eyes Fear & Control or Fear of Control? Fair warning... 4 stars
9/14/06 Patrick Petty I found this film great, very thought provoking, reminds me of the times we live in. 5 stars
9/07/06 Indrid Cold Obviously above average, but too much politics and not nearly enough excitement. 4 stars
9/03/06 JeromeBosch Superb Orwellian tale with great acting and FX. 5 stars
8/26/06 james burke Best of 2006 thus far, visually well rendered, superb cast, great material, and relevant 5 stars
8/24/06 AnnieG Very good adaption of the graphic novel. 4 stars
8/24/06 Freedom Loved the movie. "WOW" Could that be our Gov.? This movie could be a BIG eye opener. 5 stars
8/21/06 Gene Awesome 5 stars
8/19/06 ALDO A few good scene but mostly way 2 boring.. TOO much Blah blah blah 2 stars
8/19/06 Mary Beth great on Imax 5 stars
8/17/06 matt a few good parts but mostly just dull 3 stars
8/14/06 Ryan_A Exceeded my expectations. Weaving's vocal delivery is worth 1 star by itself. 4 stars
8/09/06 Lisa Loved it!! Captivated all the way through. Kook LIberal Paranoid & Proud of it!! 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist I can't believe my well tasted uncle loved it, Me? BORING, YAWNFEST,SNORESVILLE!!!! 2 stars
8/09/06 Charles Stroud V for Vendetta is move than a movie, its a conception that fans the flames of liberty. 5 stars
8/09/06 Anastasia Beaverhausen Finally, kook liberal paranoids get their film 1 stars
8/08/06 Viper Did Michael Moore write this preposterous rubbish 2 stars
8/07/06 TreeTiger Good movie - go rent it..! 5 stars
8/06/06 davood dreadful,rubbish,awfull,waste of time 1 stars
8/06/06 Charles Strout For all who love freedom, and risk their lives for it. This movie will embrace you're soul 5 stars
8/04/06 philby john Impressive 5 stars
7/30/06 flloyd pretentious, boring, thinly drawn characters that you dont care about in the slightest 1 stars
7/29/06 Robert Maleman Very bad acting and story, boring too. 1 stars
7/16/06 Reklc It appeals to me so I'm an idiot (and proud to be one)! 5 stars
7/13/06 Aaron Dumb, really dumb bad film 1 stars
7/10/06 Lee Fantastic actors. Great dialogue. Brilliant film. Amazing. 5 stars
7/07/06 william zoran Would appeal to an idiot. 1 stars
7/03/06 Another fan disappointed by NP The once superb Natalie Portman would be more appealing engaging in autocoprophagy. 1 stars
6/26/06 Chris Fawkes What a dog of a film. Bored me crapless. V looks like Joan Rivers and who would want to loo 1 stars
6/23/06 LAUREANO VERY MEANINGFULL AND ORIGINAL 5 stars
6/23/06 Ariadne Christina Renee Gladstone Parts that make sense are good, just not enough of 'em. Pretty bad.... no wait...... 1 stars
6/11/06 Jim F. Great, thought-provoking, scary. 5 stars
6/02/06 Hellen It is a great movie, very political 5 stars
5/18/06 Alfred Guy Tried to be different and that's a good thing. 4 stars
5/16/06 TyrantisTerror More like V for OMFG AWESOME! Yeah, I know it doesn't make sense. Shut up. 5 stars
5/15/06 Jonny K Excellent Film on every level 5 stars
5/11/06 zaw Great movie, I came from a Socialistic country. Top of my list too! 5 stars
5/11/06 Will Nitschke www.capitaloffice.com.au Based on a comic book but wants its ideas taken seriously, and some can be. 4 stars
5/10/06 Cory Randolph Action-wise, it was boring, though it had interesting topics discussed... 3 stars
5/09/06 aadil fantastic movie... a must see 4 stars
5/09/06 Tranquil Better than I expected, engrossing story and plot development. 4 stars
5/06/06 Freeze Real cliche, nothing new, bored till the end. 2 stars
5/03/06 Alice I dont get it, to me it was boring and VERY average ! 2 stars
5/03/06 liz amato awesome movie, best i have seen 5 stars
5/01/06 lauram Fantastic!!! Made me want to go out and overthrow our liberal old farts government! 5 stars
4/26/06 The Grinch Unfuckwithable! Far exceeded my expectations. GO SEE THIS MOVIE! 5 stars
4/26/06 Clayton Smith this movie is at the top of my list 5 stars
4/23/06 Mase Long in the tooth, not entirely engaging. But has a bold vision. 3 stars
4/22/06 Pat Frederick Totally enjoyed the movie! It was really engrossing! 5 stars
4/21/06 Anthony G Best movie of the year. 5 stars
4/21/06 Hilary 5-star!! Absolutely awesome!! 5 stars
4/21/06 T I thought it was a great movie. I reflected on our own US gov't. 5 stars
4/20/06 malcolm too long. heavy-handed. 3 stars
4/19/06 Koitus Interesting movie, "for OUR time" of "W.' Was expecting more action, though. 4 stars
4/16/06 Furuta The best film i saw this year 5 stars
4/10/06 M Meaningful,Well Written and Couageous. 4 stars
4/10/06 Ty awesome!! awesome!! 5 stars
4/10/06 the untrained eye This is a movie, not a comic book. Repeat. Then enjoy. 4 stars
4/07/06 T loved the flow of words and deep thought. seen it twice already and will purchase it later 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych I went in thinking "Matrix," but got Shakespeare instead!! 5 stars
4/02/06 ajay saw it in the IMAX today, pretty good stuff. 4 stars
3/31/06 kaz on the edge of my seat 5 stars
3/30/06 M. Dido It's quite good, but I've yet to see a film adaptation that does justice to Alan Moore. 3 stars
3/29/06 Titus A few rough edits, needs a bit more spit-and-polish, but came off real well overall. 4 stars
3/29/06 John extremly entertaining, well made and applicable - good stuff 5 stars
3/29/06 Lord Jiggy V 4 very tedious, very obvious, and verbose 2 stars
3/28/06 sweetgrrl1972 It's been a long time since I've seen a movie that I've enjoyed this much. 5 stars
3/28/06 Danny Johanson This movie was very entertaining and did deliver everything i thought it would. 5 stars
3/28/06 Riki Slow in the beginning, but picks up 4 stars
3/28/06 herkos akhaion Complex story is not clearly delivered 3 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer V for Victory! This movie entertains in spades! 5 stars
3/27/06 bullit16 Pretty impressive 4 stars
3/26/06 Alex A BORING waste of time. 1 stars
3/25/06 Eevil Wolfie Gave me chills. Needs more action though. 4 stars
3/25/06 Phil beyond my expectations, wonderfully acted, great acting, little different, screw the world 5 stars
3/24/06 pw chong zzzz expected more 2 stars
3/23/06 Anthony G Very Very good. 5 stars
3/23/06 AE Smart thought-provoking cautionary fable 4 stars
3/22/06 Bullwinkle Worth the $5 matinee, def. needed more action though 4 stars
3/22/06 Ole Man Bourbon The world through the eyes of a paranoid schizophrenic? Had its moments though. 3 stars
3/22/06 Persona Surprisingly powerful and absorbing. A great film, period. 5 stars
3/21/06 Kankasaur "V" celebrates victory over tyranny like Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture or V-E Day. Good stuff 5 stars
3/21/06 maxomai Damn impressive. 5 stars
3/20/06 Jannie entertaining, truth, Nartalie, ah..masked man, action, fun 5 stars
3/20/06 Mark A nice surpise--good anti-state message 5 stars
3/20/06 gui awesome 5 stars
3/20/06 Rocky Intelligent flick, fiercely anti-authoritarian...really makes you think 4 stars
3/20/06 PeterV2 The parrallels may be updated, but they are still intriguing. 5 stars
3/20/06 Doug Good 4 stars
3/20/06 Matt Very enjoyable, even better on the IMAX. 4 stars
3/20/06 your worst goddamn nightmare This flick was better than the original comic book!!! Not shittin' you.... 5 stars
3/19/06 Agent Sands More creative and inventive and fresh than it thinks it is. 4 stars
3/19/06 mary oh boy i liked this..so much fun , truth, wonderful acting, great message, prophetic, soon 5 stars
3/19/06 great portman was excellent but the film was just average, boring ending 2 stars
3/19/06 Jesse Excellent thinking movie with some nice plot twists. 5 stars
3/19/06 Vicious Uncomprimising, intelligent, visually adept and all around excellent. 5 stars
3/19/06 Chomp Outstanding movie. 5 stars
3/19/06 Heather Great movie 5 stars
3/19/06 Lazlo Simply excellent! Alan Moore FINALLY done justice on the big screen! 5 stars
3/18/06 BrianWilly Very good stuff. 5 stars
3/18/06 um yeah Can I see N.Portmans boobies please!! 5 stars
3/18/06 KingNeutron Definitely worth seeing. 4 stars
3/18/06 julia wonderfully entertaining and fun 5 stars
3/18/06 drone brilliant adaptation 5 stars
3/17/06 jcjs wowsa, not what i expected..at least as wow as 'Fight Club', band, boom yes indeedie, fine 5 stars
3/17/06 djacosta Mind blowing! 5 stars
3/17/06 brian damn awesome 5 stars
3/15/06 archie Masterpiece! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Mar-2006 (R)
  DVD: 01-Aug-2006

UK
  17-Mar-2006

Australia
  30-Mar-2006



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