Alternate Reviews

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

V FOR VENDETTA (Alternate Review)

V For Vendetta Natalie Portman Directed by James McTeigue
Reviewed by Chad Wilson


Rare indeed is a science fiction film with more to offer than the newest special effects display and rarer still a science fiction film with political/ideological subtexts that thrill and inspire audiences. V For Vendetta may be a film that offers science fiction, political commentary, and controversial ideology, but each of these parts mesh to create a vibrant film that resonates. V For Vendetta opens upon the audience like a firework, its story rages like a storm, and the finale lingers like an aftermath.

Adapted from the graphic novel by Alan Moore, V For Vendetta is a science fiction story set in a totalitarian Britain spawned from a vaguely described disaster in years past. The suppression suffered by the masses is personified by young Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) who - falling into trouble with state police called Fingermen - finds herself rescued by a masked revolutionary named “V” (Hugo Weaving). Dressed in the guise of folk hero Guy Fawkes, “V” engenders unto Evey the dream of a new and better world to replace the iron-fisted regime of Sutler (John Hurt) that cages Britain and her people in fascism.

Without doubt, V For Vendetta is a pointedly disturbing film. The character of “V” both inspires and terrifies the viewer through his actions, at times heroic and equally monstrous, particularly his methods of persuading Evey to join his new revolution. As “V”, Hugo Weaving plays the provocateur entirely behind a masked fascade, like some Phantom of the Oppressed. Proving he’s up to the challenge, Weaving adeptly utilizes his melodic voice combined with deft body language to create a vibrant performance as theatrical as V’s personality. Equally enjoyable is Portman’s Evey, portrayed with enough emotion to perfectly fathom the character’s fear and the right amount of anger to trust the honesty of her transformation into freedom fighter; all this and a convincing english accent too. As antagonists, the varied cast conveys brutal authoritarianism through dictator Adam Sutler (John Hurt), blind ambition from thug Creedy (Tom Pigott-Smith) and gradual enlightenment via Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea).

While these powerful performances would engage any audience in an average film, V For Vendetta is never content to tell a conventional tale. Driving directly into issues such as free-will, homosexuality, and persecution, screenwriters Andy & Larry Wachowski masterfully adapt Moore’s classic graphic novel for the screen. First time director James McTeigue obviously benefits from the instruction of the Wachowski brothers, bringing the script to life and bravely dealing with the moral ambiguity of extreme ideology and the human dilemma between death and freedom. Those expecting to see an action piece will be disappointed, but those expecting a smart thriller with powerful action to match the well-paced tension will be ecstatic. V For Vendetta features compelling mystery, authentic drama, and some truly innovative fighting sequences sadly absent from many movies that claim to be action films.

With a film this reactionary, it’s only natural that some of the flaws will be examined with scrutiny. The film can drag briefly at points of exposition and sometimes the audacity of “V” can stretch a scene into absurdity. Yet overall V For Vendetta works and works well, even if the movie lacks a certain polish. In its defense, the movie has solid acting, a bold story, provoking drama, and a strong cinematic style that should win over most.

V For Vendetta features many surprises and introspective moments best left to experience unspoiled. Many skeptics have complained of hollow films and a diminishing interest in the stories being told on the big screen, so V For Vendetta will hopefully be accepted as a rich movie worth watching. While the current politically sensitive climate in many democratic nations may cause some to marginalize the film, V For Vendetta is that rare important film which deserves to be seen before judgement is rendered.

A fantastic adaptation of a seminal graphic novel and a memorable film which will stimulate debate and discussion as all good art should.

Click here for the V For Vendetta movie trailer!

Click here for Byron's review of V For Vendetta.


Post a Comment

<< Home