Published on March 22nd, 2006 | by Erich Becker0
Review: V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta is the first great movie of 2006, hands down. Nothing that has been released in the last three and a half months stacks up to the canvas painted by this immersive film which, on the surface, is a hardcore action film, but underneath is a beautiful picture with excellent characters and sharp dialog.
Although the film seemed destined for failure after a delayed release schedule and the lawsuit of graphic novel creator Alan Moore requesting his name be removed from all mention of the film. When a comic book’s co-creator wants out on a project, you can only expect it was a far departure from the source material. This isn’t the case, however, with Vendetta, and even if it does stray too far away, it still stacks up as a great film.
The story centers around a terrorist named V (Hugo Weaving) who has been planning his revenge for the better part of two decades in a totalitarian ruled England which now has a high chancellor in a Hitler like role claiming he is protecting the people after a biological attack kills hundreds of thousands of people. V begins his crusade against this oppressive government when he stumbles upon Evey (Natalie Portman), a young girl working at England’s only TV network. Through the course of the film the plot thickens but the message remains the same, a vendetta needs to be settled.
There’s been some questioning if the film, which is at a political point in today’s world, and its glorification of a terrorist is really something that needs to be released in a world under the thumb of terrorists (or so we are lead to believe). Does the film glorify its main character, who happens to be a terrorist? Yes, but it also shows the consequences of his actions, and it makes ample points as to why he seeks revenge, which boils much deeper than religious intolerance.
After actor James Purefoy left the project after it had begun, director James McTeigue (assistant director on The Matrix trilogy) turned to Hugo Weaving, and he couldn’t have made a better choice. Weaving, even though we never see his face, is perfect for the role with his identifiable voice providing a creepiness with total confidence, especially in his opening monologue after bringing Evey to his underground home.
Portman also shines as Evey Hammond, a seemingly innocent young girl who is tortured (part of the head shaving we’ve heard so much about) and taught more about herself than she could have known. As we learn more and more of her back story you begin to feel the emotion she exhibits during these torturous scenes.
Andy and Larry Wachowski’s screenplay is nothing short of excellent and makes up for the lackluster Reloaded and Revolutions. After seeing the film, I did some research on the limited graphic novel series and found a great many things in common, but, again, not enough to keep Moore on board.
While not the best film ever released, V for Vendetta does make for an engaging time at the movies with a brisk pace, interesting characters, great action, and an ending that really grips you. Just seeing how this film builds up towards its climax is amazing and the money shots, promoted in the trailers, of certain buildings exploding shows that all the pieces came together in a cohesive piece of filmmaking that should live on as a genuine classic and another comic book successfully transferred to the big screen.