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The Wackhowski brothers bring us a finely complex storyline about V, a vigilante freedom fighter against the UK government set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain. Along the way he meets Evey whom he rescues. Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V's mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
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Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gun powder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gun powder treason should ever be forgot.
Okay so yes itís somewhat cheesy to start off this review with a quote, but in true V for Vendetta style, Iím throwing caution to the wind in place of severe passion.
Let me start by saying; I love this film. Before you scoff, let me explain why. Whilst I was an admirer of the Matrix when it was first released I was a little disappointed with its follow ups and I feel like this film went someway in making up for that fact.
James McTeigue comes onboard as a first time director, though he previously worked on The Matrix trilogy as First Assistant Director. In Vendetta he shows he has talent and handles the action and drama remarkably. The film is fast paced and exciting but remains politically charged and controversial. Iím looking forward to seeing his work in ĎXmen Origins: Magnetoí slated to be released in 2011.
Terrorism, homosexuality, religious freedom, the right to free speech. Thereís no short supply of hot button topics addressed in V for Vendetta. What I liked about this film was the propensity to focus on the characters of the film rather than the action itself, though donít get me wrong, itís a Wackhowski brothers film and there is always going to be action! With Vendetta the emotions tend to drive the action rather than the other way round which was a welcomed change.
The idea of terrorism takes centre stage with V, the masked vigilante. The film however doesnít glorify V as a terrorist instead it strives deeper into the route of the character and allows the audience to enter his world and decide for ourselves the label we choose to mark him with. This isnít just another action film with a plot, the story delves into real ideas and is a genuine examination of the human condition. The power of fear is explored throughout many of the films themes and itís hard to watch Vendetta without immediately being taken back to the events surrounding 9/11.
Stephen Fry plays a closeted television host who, like many of the protagonists, is a man living behind a mask. Unlike your typical gay character, however, Fry soon finds the courage to be one of the first to challenge the brutal government. His actions inspire others to resist as well.
But Fry's storyline is nothing compared to that of Valerie (Natasha Wightman) whose life is told in an extended flashback. Indeed, this is where Vendetta becomes truly extraordinary as we learn it is Valerie's storyómore specifically, her unwavering love for a woman named Ruth (Mary Stockley)óthat inspires his vendetta and in turn transforms the character of Evey. In the infamous scene of ĎThe Letterí, Valerie depicts her love for her partner and delivers the message of the movie to any minority or indeed the majority of society by simply uttering ĎI donít understand why they hate us so muchí. It is an extraordinarily powerful moment in the film, not just because it is beautifully acted and well-written, but because it is so utterly unexpected. The acting is at the forefront of what makes this film, with Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman starring. Hidden behind the creepy mask, Hugo Weaving really proves he is a versatile actor achieving with simple intonations what some actors cannot with the use of full facial expressions. His character provokes thoughtful questions in a dystopian future, and every emotion of his character is brought out by Weavings mesmerizing performance.
Portman excels as the somewhat atypical heroine of the piece in an emotionally enthralling performance. The way in which she transforms the character of Evey throughout the film is inspiring and the scenes between Evey and V are touching and well handled.
As I mentioned when I started this review, donít expect Matrix-like action sequences. The fight scenes in V for Vendetta are beautifully choreographed yet remain viciously, realistically brutal. And while the fight scenes are critical to the plot, theyíre never turned to move the film along when dialogue could do the job more effectively.
Ultimately V does not answer many questions but certainly gives its audience food for thought long after the credits have rolled, be prepared to keep your brain engaged in order to fully absorb the experience.Verdict
V for Vendetta is an explosive, timely political thriller that presents an ideology sure to provoke thoughtful conversation from an audience not normally fed such high-caliber intellectual fare.
In summary; A must see.