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Review: V for Vendetta (2005)

V for Vendetta (2005)

Directed by: James McTeigue

Premise: In a dystopian future where Great Britain is now a fascist state, a masked vigilante known only as V (Hugo Weaving) conducts guerrilla warfare and incites the public to act against the government.

What Works: V for Vendetta is a comic book adaptation and for this genre it is a standout film. Its visuals are very well composed and its action sequences are fun but never over the top. The film combines the look of the future with the present in a way that makes the fantasy credible. Hugo Weaving uses his distinctive voice talents to create a hero that is unique to the genre but it is in Natalie Portman’s role as Evey, a young woman who V rescues, that the story locates its real emotional arc.

What Doesn’t: The story of V for Vendetta has progressively greater problems. The second act gets muddled in a conspiracy plot that has very little payoff. The third act sabotages the drama by resolving too many things to easily and killing the dramatic tension. The relationship between Evey and V starts out wonderfully but in the end Evey’s transformation has no relation to the main storyline. The film also suffers from an overbearing and unsubstantiated sense of self-importance. V for Vendetta likes to think that it is making a bold statement against tyranny but for all of its political posturing, the film does not have very much to say and the political ideas in it are very superficial.

Bottom Line: In the end, V for Vendetta is a mixed bag. As a comic book adaptation and an action film it works very well and shoots ahead of the curve. The political ideas make it more interesting than the average film but V for Vendetta is not as subversive as it would like to be. The film aspires to Fight Club, Munich, or even The Devil’s Rejects but instead it ends up being the Syriana of comic book adaptations. Despite its faults, the film is still worth a look.

Episode: #89 (March 26, 2006)