Director: James McTeigue
Cast: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt
Here we have yet another comicbook/graphic novel adaptation and it's unlike most comicbooks that feature a hero with superpowers destined to use it for the benefit of mankind. This one is much darker, and dare I say it, more fun.
Set in the future not too far from ours, V For Vendetta takes place in Britain, which is under the rule of Chancellor Adam Sutler (Hurt), a fascist type man who even resembles Hitler. The people live a somewhat normal life, but under the constant surveillance of Fingermen, government agents who need no concrete reason to arrest anyone. We are introduced to Evey Hammond (Portman) who breaks curfew one night to meet a friend and is confronted by Fingermen who wanted to do more than just arrest her. She is saved by a mysterious masked man who calls himself V (Weaving). V tells Evey of a man named Guy Fawkes who once attempted to blow up Parliament in 1605, then proceeds to blow up a building right before her eyes.
Sutler is of course not pleased and assigns Chief Investigator Finch (Rea) to find V quickly. V on the other hand continues to employ terrorist tactics to undermine the government. He kills several government officers and airs a video of himself encouraging the people to rise up against Sutler. And that's just the beginning. He saves Evey yet again when she tries to save him from getting arrested, and as the two get to know each other, they learn more about what they believe in and what they must do, as well as how they feel for each other. Evey is intrigued by the way V thinks and the reasoning behind his actions, while V learns more about other human emotions besides hate and aggression from Evey. As for Finch, he digs up more and more about V and uncovers many sinister plots within the government that question his faith in it.
This isn't like any other action film you've witnessed. It's smart, stylish, charismatic and well balanced too. There is enough drama to even out the violence and maybe even justify it. Credit goes to the Wachowski brothers, creators of The Matrix, and director James McTeigue for making it so thought provoking. It somehow reflects the way the world might become someday, and though it does not promote terrorism, it does promote self awareness and the need to decide between right and wrong. The dialogue and screenplay is also very well written and truly intelligent.
Portman shines as Evey, who is the heart of the film. She is the anchor that holds all the drama and emotion conveyed in the movie. It certainly beats the awful dialogue she had to convey as Padme in Star Wars. Weaving is a revelation though, being able to act splendidly while wearing a mask throughout the film. His expressions are merely through the sound and tone of his voice, and Weaving does V with such charisma, you'll find it hard not to pay attention to him. Rea also does well as Finch, the man who has to trust his instincts while chasing a supposed terrorist.
Hardline fans of the graphic novel, and writer Alan Moore has scoffed at this film for the way it has differed, but don't let it stop you from seeing it. V For Vendetta is brilliant moviemaking at work, with stellar performances by its cast. I've watched it twice now, and it's still awesome. (4/5)