I've never read the graphic novel, but I don't think you need to read it to appreciate the movie. There are some that will, upon seeing this film, say that it was akin to Andrew Lloyd Weber attempting to make a political statement: overly dramatic. These people would be well served to remember that the symbol of drama is a mask, which certainly begs one important question- Why, if you are so put off by an overtly dramatic motion picture, would you choose to see a movie that stars as the (anti)hero a man in a mask?
This film doesn't glorify V as a terrorist but shows that under certain circumstances he was tempted to be what he is. The film has an intriguing atmosphere throughout, a few slow moments, and an apocalyptic future setting that really heightens the tension with starkly dark set design and stunning cinematography. There is a reference or close resemblance to Guatanamo prison in the film. And it made the film even more direct.
Hidden behind the creepy mask, Hugo Weaving really proves he is a versatile actor. His character provokes thoughtful questions in a dystrophic future, and every emotion of his character is brought out by Weavings performance. Portman on the other hand also excels, with a convincing accent. She really is the heroine of the film and she handles the role quite well. The scenes between Evey and V are touching and well handled. The rest of the film is great in its execution. The climax, especially, was uplifting and will live on to be the most memorable conclusion. The action is striking and the performances in the drama are standout.
I'm going to say that it's nothing short of its brilliance. Entertaining from the start, V manages to combine a strong socio-political message in a compact and highly intense experience. Infused with issues and concepts that pervade in the global political climate of our times, this movie is endowed with a tremendous timely relevance that belies its trappings as a mere action adventure. A terrific achievement produced by the Wachowski's and Silver.
I just wanted to comment on the steelbook edition of this movie; not the movie itself.
In the past, Warner Bros. released V For Vendetta in steelbook form here in Canada that had some very nice inner artwork. Now, however, it seems that Warner Bros. is releasing this with no inner artwork at all. All the outer artwork is pretty much the same though. I got this steelbook for a pretty low price here on amazon, so I can't really complain about it too much. It was still definitely worth the purchase for me. But for those expecting this release to have that inner artwork, just a heads up; it most likely won't have it.
As for the video and audio quality on the blu-ray itself, they're both excellent. Comes with a nice selection of special features too (picture-in-picture track, audio commentary, multiple featurettes, etc.) It's a very nice release overall.
Despite some deficiencies in the plot, V for Vendetta makes for a fantastic, refreshingly different kind of motion picture. The controversy surrounding the film was blown out of proportion, but it's easy to see why it could raise hackles in some quarters. It's really the old terrorist vs. freedom fighter question which has taken on such an important place in modern society. Despite a jab here or there at the United States, I don't think the film really makes any statement at all along today's geopolitical lines - due in no small part to the story's fantastical setting. We all know never to say "it can't happen here," but I for one can certainly never foresee a blatantly fascist society with its very own Hitlerian demagogue emerging in, of all places, England. Clearly, at least to me, the questions this film raises are quite abstract and not directly applicable to current events vis-à-vis the war on terror. As an eye-opening reminder of the possibility of governmental abuse of power, however, the film's warning stands us all in good stead.
The setting for this film is a futuristic England, wherein a fiery egomaniac and his cronies have usurped power and brought a hard iron fist down on the people. Freedom of ideas and expression no longer exists; minority groups have been decimated by imprisonment, torture, and death; and militaristic nationalism has become the new religion. Those who resisted the meteoric rise of the new High Chancellor have been dealt with ruthlessly, producing a population cowed and blind to the evils of their brave new nation-state. The illusion of peace is broken by one man, however - one man brave enough to speak the truth, rally the masses, and get his message out that the government is beyond corrupt and purely evil. V wears the mask of the infamous Guy Hawkes, but his message is more than symbolic. For twenty years, he has worked for this moment in time, intent on meting out justice and vengeance on those who wronged him personally and the body politic as a whole. His tactics are certainly questionable, but his motivations are unimpeachable.
It's all too easy to get bogged down in the question as to V's nature - be it terrorist or freedom fighter. Unfortunately, the question must be asked and has been asked by some who condemn the film for glorifying terrorism. To my eyes, he's clearly a terrorist - and a freedom fighter. One has to look at the whole picture, though. Here, we can see that the government V seeks to destroy is unquestionably evil. Does that make it okay for V to employ tactics of murder and widespread destruction? That's for each viewer to decide. It's difficult to judge a man who does the wrong things for the right reasons. It's even harder to carry that sort of thinking further, but it's healthy for individuals to ponder such questions, especially as humanity has a long tradition of learning nothing from history.
Back to the film itself, one must pay tribute to a number of wonderful performances. Natalie Portman proves once again that she's among the finest actresses in the world (a fact which George Lucas never seemed to acknowledge, since he didn't allow her to actually act in Star Wars Episode III). The character of Evey was quite a challenge, but Portman makes you doubt that any other actress could have played her. Nothing says commitment like a beautiful woman allowing her head to be shaved for the benefit of the character. Hugo Weaving is mysteriously majestic as the man behind the mask, giving unassailable substance to a character who could have easily come across as cartoonish. Stephen Rea brings a wonderful human counterpart to the story as the Chief Inspector, and John Hurt is brilliantly effective as the evil Chancellor. The overall cinematography is also spectacularly done, while the special effects are really something to see. V for Vendetta really is just a few plot holes and inconsistencies away from being a certifiable five-star film.
on January 7, 2007
"V for Vendetta" is an interesting movie that won't allow you to remain indifferent. Love or hate it, I'm pretty sure that you will have an opinion about this polemic film, based on a comic written by Alan Moore, adapted to the big screen by the Wachowski Brothers, and directed by James McTeigue.
The story begins in England, but not in the England we know. McTeigue's England is eerily similar to the country that Orwell's tells us about in "1984". There is a dictator, Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt), that was chosen in free elections, but that afterwards decided to become an absolute ruler, exerting power without any kind of restriction. The citizens do nothing, they have relinquished their right to participate and to decide, and are merely sheep being told what to do and what to think. Their freedom is curtailed, but they feel safe.
However someone is prepared to shake their certitude, and make them realize that things are not what they seem to be. That person is V (Hugo Weaving), a man that is willing to risk everything in order to turn meek sheep into citizens, and to wreak havoc on the enemies that destroyed his life a long time ago. Evey (Natalie Portman), a young woman that V rescues from Sutler's minions, is a privileged spectator of V's plans, and the first person to become a fervent follower. That path, though, is not easy, as Evey's new strenght will be forged in the fires of prison.
This is a highly controversial movie that delves upon difficult subjects, for example whether the end validates the means, and the power of words. All the same, "V for Vendetta" makes you think, has great actors, an original cinematography and a hectic pace. From my point of view, this film is simply a must see.
Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...
In a future society a caricature of a totalitarian state, a young lady's eyes are opened to its reality; but the story is actually about the interaction between the protagonist "V" (Hugo Weaving) and the lady, Evey (Natalie Portman.)
It is not just straight forwarded anti-government it deals with a cabal.
As we travel their path we too may have our eyes opened.
I like the inclusion of the sound track of "The Girl from Ipanema" appropriately placed.
I have watched this movie several times each time picking up on something subtle enough to evade the first viewing.
"Ideas are bullet proof"
on October 11, 2006
Why does everyone feel inclined to view and then scrutinize this movie in a political context? Why can't people just watch it for what it is, which is a movie meant to entertain (which it does quite successfuly). The people involved in this movie did not spend millions of dollars just to send out a "political message" relaying the issues of today's political atmosphere. Yes, this movie has a political underlying, but the point is, it should be viewed as just that, a movie. The acting, by the way, is wonderful. UNLIKE your political documentaries
Overall, I was definitely disappointed by "V for Vendetta," primarily because I was anticipating a really great adaptation of the work by writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd. I was also looking forward to a movie that I would be able to use in my Introduction to Popular Culture class when it comes out on DVD because I thought it would be a nice example of how cinema functions rhetorically. The idea that a masked figure who blows up public buildings could be a revolutionary hero rather than a murdering terrorist is a radical notion post 9/11. But this film lacks the subtlety of the original graphic novel and makes a strategic error in foisting a conclusion to this dark tale. The results are compelling, but not the provocative story I was hoping to see.
After recapping the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot for ignorant colonials, we cut to the future a couple of decades down the road where Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), is out after curfew in London. She is about to be raped and probably killed by "fingermen" of the security forces when she is rescued by V, dressed in black and a Guy Fawkes mask. He takes her to the roof top where he conducts a symphony that end with the Old Bailey blowing up. They meet again when V takes over the single television channel to broadcast a promise that one year hence he will blow up the Parliament building (on Guy Fawkes day, of course) and asks that everyone in England who supports his cause to take to the streets that night to support his actions. When Evey acts to protect V from the police, he takes her under his wing, and begins to educate her on his method and his madness. Meanwhile, Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea) is put on the case but immediately hamstrung by the government from being able to investigate the clues that would lead to the identity of the terrorist.
The screenplay by the Wachowski Brothers turns Moore's attack on the conservative inclinations of the government of Margaret Thatcher into a more overt representation of a fascist government. The insignia of this brave new world is a twisted version of the cross, and the fact that the person in charge is a chancellor recalls Hitler, as does the way the chancellor dresses. Casting John Hurt, who played Winston Smith in the 1984 of "Nineteen Eighty-Four," as Adam Sutler, the fearless leader in this film only heightens the Orwellian analogy. Moore and Lloyd had the evil men of the government look like ordinary bureaucrats, but this film stacks the deck so that the allusions to Hitler and "Nineteen Eighty-Four" are so obvious that of course our sympathies are with the terrorist blowing up the buildings (besides, they are not our buildings, they are English buildings; but more on that later).
In the movie V speaks of the power of ideas and the importance of using words to persuade rather than coerce, but what really matters is blowing up buildings. However, in the graphic novel the point was to blow up symbols. The shift from having Big Ben be the first thing that V blows up in the book, to the total destruction of Parliament being V's ultimate goal, is rather significant. V's final target in the book was 10 Downing Street and the final explosion is seen from the distance because the explosion is not the point. It is the awakening political consciousness of Evey that is the soul of this film.
My biggest complaint is that the film provides, in relative terms, a happy ending. No political diatribe worth its salt is going to warn the masses of the evil inherent in the system and then provide an ending that reassures the audience that everything is going to be all right. The graphic novel ends with a victory, but clearly the war will continue, for at least another generation. The movie seeks to reassure us with a Rolling Stones song (and does not even bother to play the entire song). Moore and Lloyd wanted to enlist us, following in the footsteps of Evey as she follows V, but the makers of this film would be happy if we pre-order the DVD after seeing the film.
For most viewers it will be the way the films resonates against current events that will be the primary point of controversy. Relatively few will have read the graphic novel, but far more people remember September 11th in the U.S. than the 5th of November in the U.K. The idea of purging an English-speaking nation of Muslims, immigrants and homosexuals may or may not seem like something that can happen here. Blowing up apparently empty buildings in the middle of the night and reserving the blood letting for situations where V gets up close and personal with the bad guys can certainly make this terrorist seem different and, dare we say, acceptable. In the end we are so clearly distanced from this story that it does not ask us to make any hard choices.
I would have preferred to see "V for Vendetta" as a television mini-series, not only because I think an episodic approach is better suited to telling the story, but also because it is a much more intimate tale that what we see on the big screen where they go out of their way to crank up the volume on the explosions. Beyond that, the frozen face that is V's mask becomes a disadvantage both for Weaving and director James McTeigue. There is only so much you can do with lighting and head tilts, and the first-time director relies too often on close-ups (no wonder James Purefoy bailed on the role). "Sin City" set a standard for adapting a graphic novel to the screen that will probably never be approached by any one else, but I was hoping this one would be a lot closer to the mark.
on March 4, 2014
It's definitely worth picking up if you're a fan of the movie. But keep in mind the special features are a little bit lacking, the menu navigation is a bit obnoxious (there's no real menu, just a splash overlay that pops up over the movie itself), and the case is pretty bare bones.
on November 16, 2006
The title of this film may be a bit off-putting but V for Vendetta is a much better than average treatment of the usual super-hero battles Big Brother motif. The acting is excellent. Natalie Portman, at least, should have received much more acclaim than she did for her performance. Hugo Weaving is interesting behind the mask but seemed lost at times in a role that lacked definition, more the director's fault than his. This is a very entertaining film on a number of levels. The plot is strong and even the minor characters are engaging. The parallels with the real world are drawn clearly enough to be apparent if not obvious without losing the interest of those who get the message early. V for Vendetta does an excellent job of pointing a warning finger at its audience without being pretentious.
on February 11, 2014
This dvd was ordered as a Christmas gift and took a bit longer to receive. It was a few days later than the expected date,but made it before Christmas.Product was well packaged.