'V For Vendetta'
Vendetta" is a futuristic vision of
life in a world changed by terrorism. Based on a novel by Alan Moore- who reportedly refused to allow his name on the credits due to his disappointment with the film adaptation of his work-and directed by James McTeigue of "Star Wars" and "Matrix" fame, "V for Vendetta" is more of a social and political commentary than a typical action film.
Wearing a Guy Fawkes mask to honor the revolutionary who tried to blow up the British Houses of Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605, V (Hugo Weaving of "Matrix" fame) is a self styled anarchist who crusades to overthrow the politically corrupt, repressive, totalitarian government headed by Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt). Motivated by the need to protect the country from terrorism, the Chancellor's regime is routinely characterized by police brutality, the elimination of all individual freedoms and rights and strict government control of all information which is distorted and re-invented to further the goals of the State. Unfortunately, a major flaw of the film is its failure to capture the reality of the daily life of the average citizen. The viewer fails to learn what it means to live in such an environment and so the personal impact on the viewer is diminished.
V first reveals himself and his intentions and puts the Chancellor on notice by boldly bombing the Old Bailey Courthouse and subsequently gaining control of the government run television network to claim responsibility for this violent attack. Despite an extensive police effort to capture him, V escapes, primarily due to his expertise with knives and swords, and vows to continue his crusade.
After rescuing her from menacing police thugs, V meets Evey (Natalie Portman). V takes her to his home, which contains artifacts of culture and civilization that have now been banned by the government, such as paintings, sculptures, music and books. Since both her parents were killed by the government for their political activism, Evey is especially sympathetic to V's crusade. She is fascinated with V and his cause and becomes his unlikely co-conspirator
The plot continues with V's efforts to attract fellow citizens to his cause while at the same time we see the Government's brutal response in the form of a major police effort headed by Chief Police Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea) to find and eliminate V. Part of the government's repressive stance comes with the swift elimination of a popular TV personality who publicly ridiculed the Chancellor's failure to find V. The film subsequently unfolds to a dramatic ending with an event which occurs on November 5 of the following year that offers a glimmer of hope for a major change for the country.
Although there are some isolated impressive special effects, "V for Vendetta" is not a model of a typical action/adventure film. Instead, its main focus appears to be one of social commentary and criticism, but in a way that is not particularly unique, novel or creative. The ideas presented have been espoused before in George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Natalie Portman's talents are unsuited for this role and completely wasted and Hugo Weaving is relegated to playing a caricature. Only Stephen Rea and John Hurt make a notable contribution to this film.