V for Vendetta (2006)
Geek fest geek fest geek fest… I can think of a few movies that I’ve seen in my lifetime where I come home from the theater, or turn off the TV and just sit back and think. Memento falls under this category as does Inception or actually The Prestige… k so any Christopher Nolan movie AT ALL, but I’ve also had this feeling with On the Waterfront, The Truman Show, Psycho, and The Man in the Moon. It doesn’t have to be trippy like Nolan’s movies to get me thinking. These movies all made an impression on me in some way or another, whether it’s crazy good acting, a revealing twist, trippy cinematography, a great script or simply a wonderful story. V for Vendetta made an impression on me. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but this movie is freaking amazing.
So there’s this terrorist dude. He’s got a white mask, a deep impressionable voice, and goes by the name “V.” (Hugo Weaving, so awesome even without a face). Dystopian London is a wreck, and he thinks he can set it straight by finishing what Guy Fawkes and co. started in 1605… blow up Parliament. On the 5th of November, of course. Though he dons the Fawkes mask as his symbol, V has his own personal vendetta against the government, beginning with his imprisonment at a British concentration camp for homosexuals, blacks, Jews, Muslims, etc. His face was disfigured in an explosion (also on November 5th) and he seeks revenge over all responsible at the camp.
There’s also a girl named Evey Hammond (played brilliantly and very British-like by Natalie Portman). She’s a twenty-somethin’ orphan working at the British Television Network. She crosses paths with V (well, he saved her life or somethin’) and invites her to watch him blow up the Old Bailey. The government steals his thunder by covering to the public what really happened, so he makes a personal appearance on the TV Network Evey works at, appealing to the people to unite with him the following 5th of November against Parliament. Evey saves his life… he takes her to his freaking awesome lair where she’s supposed to chill for a year. And later she shows off her awesome head shape – very few women could pull off a shaved head like she can. (“Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head” anyone?)
Okay, so the British government is pretty messed up. This is dystopian GB, the US is basically destroyed, and totalitarian gov of the fascist Norsefire party led by Adam Sutler (John Hurt) tries to fix the environmental mess that England is in post some war involving biological weapons. They basically came to power by creating a deadly virus, killing thousands, and then producing a cure. And they, like, had psycho concentration camps like Nazis. Sketchy kinda? So the public might actually pay attention to this “V” man, no one likes the controlled situation they’re under.
Another character of note is Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea) who is investigating the murders of several government officials, all killed by V.
First of all, V is freaking awesome. His opening V-alliterated monologue along with Evey’s “Are you, like, a crazy person?” is kind of great. V kinda has a knife obsession, loves The Count of Monte Cristo, and all things beautiful. He’s a jack of all trades master at EVERYTHING kind of a guy. Too bad we only hear Weaving’s voice, but it’s still a good performance balancing brilliance with insanity.
I, personally, think that Natalie Portman is good as well. Some argue that her accent sucks and that she’s just white noise behind better performances. But I disagree, I think she’s a very talented actress and her accent is actually quite good. I enjoyed her performance.
But I’ll be honest, though the acting, cinematography, directing, writing, costumes, technical aspects (freaking sweet in its own right – visually exciting and better than The Matrix in some aspects) and what else have you are all great ‘n’ all… the story makes the movie. And I’m a sucker for dystopian plot lines. It’s gotta be my consistently most favorite genre. I can’t believe I haven’t gotten ahold of the graphic novels yet (it’s on my to-do list now), because just the film itself has sparked a bug in me and I want to know everything I can about this crazy, unfamiliar world. It’s complex and nuanced, heartbreaking and gripping. It’s also a kick-A action movie, if you dig that.
I’m sure the Wachowski bros and James McTeigue don’t do Alan Moore justice, but on a strictly movie standpoint – this is hardcore. 9/10