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In the distant future, Evey Hammond is an average citizen of the United Kingdom, which is under the rule of the fascist and tyrannical Norsefire Party. She is an employee of the state-run British Television Network, but soon, she becomes the number one enemy of the state together with an enigmatic and larger-than-life freedom fighter known only by the letter "V". V informs Evey that she must hide in his underground lair for at least one year, and while she is reluctant to the idea at first, a bond soon forms between the two individuals. In the meanwhile, the mysterious past of V is gradually revealed to the police inspector tasked with capturing him, Eric Finch, and it is not long until he starts questioning everything his government stands for.
While comic books turned to film are usually a major disappointment (here's looking at you Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner), graphic novels turned to film have had fairly high success rates. Take into consideration the enormous success of "Sin City", one of last year's most creative offerings. Then there is "From Hell", actually written by the same gentleman who gave us the graphic novel version of the film I am about to review. Graphic novels are easier to translate to screen because they are designed to be ever-so-slightly more realistic than comic books. In graphic novels, people don't usually fly or shoot laser beams out of their eyes - they shoot people with automatic weapons and beat them to death with Louisville Sluggers. "V for Vendetta" is a film that appears very much like a graphic novel. Writer Alan Moore was so unhappy with the film version, that he demanded his name be removed from the film. If he felt the film version compromised his original artistic intent with the graphic novel, he likely did the right thing. However, "V for Vendetta" turned out to be a creative, compelling, and thoroughly enjoyable motion picture, despite some problems I had with the story that I will get into a little bit later in the review. "V for Vendetta" was as much a political statement as "Syriana" - maybe even more so. "V for Vendetta" was much crueler and less comfortable than "Syriana" in that it was obvious as to whom was getting the worst of the business.
"Remember, remember the 5th of November" is the phrase that hits our ears first with this film, and very appropriately so when you consider that the 5th of November really does play such an important role in the remainder of the film. We soon meet Evey (Natalie Portman), a young woman who is harassed by the local 'cops' when a hero in a white mask and black cape, V (Hugo Weaving) comes to her rescue. She soon realizes that this man is a terrorist, and hellbent on giving the government back to the people. You see - the London depicted in "V for Vendetta" is not a happy one. War and disease frightened the people so much that they easily agreed to accept a totalitarian dictator (John Hurt) as their High Chancellor. Now, London has been transformed into a city where faith is praised above all else, and individuals are not so much individuals as extensions of the government. V is a terrorist who hopes to change all that. He starts out small, blasting classical music throughout the streets, but them blows up a local landmark and really gets the government pissed off. Stephen Rea co-stars as Inspector Finch, a formerly loyal officer of the law who soon starts to suspect that his perfect little government might not be so perfect after all, but more evil than he ever suspected. Stephen Fry co-stars as a popular television host who eventually takes his gags a little too far. The entire film leads up to an ending that we already know is going to happen. There is no doubt that V is going to commit this act. However, we really derive little to no pleasure in seeing it happen.
That is why I have mixed feelings about "V for Vendetta". I thought the acting was far better than most films I have seen this year; the visuals were amazing - very Wachowski Brothers; and, the story was so compelling that I could never take my eyes away from the screen. This should have been one of the best films of the year, 2006's "Sin City". Alas, "V for Vendetta" had a few little problems that bothered me, as a viewer. For example, the film opens with the Prothero character (obviously an attempt at creating a Rush Limbaugh figure) spatting out reasons why America didn't make it and had become a leper colony, and how it wasn't the war we started that killed us, but our lack of faith. I am as liberal as they come. I loathe the Bush administration. I guess my primary problem was that this was a British man spitting this hatred out. This was, primarily, a British film, and to hear them talk about America in such a negative way actually made me angry. I was not angry at the actors, or angry at the film, but angry at myself for allowing that to bother me in such a way. It was as if this person was saying America had no redeeming qualities whatsoever; and, as much as I am frustrated with our current government, I cannot give up hope on this country. I also had a problem with the ending of the film. By the time V gets around to blowing up Parliament, it gave me absolutely no pleasure. The destruction of something as symbolic as Parliament did nothing but make me realize how that entire idea was in such poor taste. Parliament is a gorgeous structure and one of the many reasons I love to visit London. To see that gorgeous establishment burned to the ground made me sad. V tries to explains his reasons for blowing up the structure, but it made no sense to me. It sounded like a villain trying desperately to explain his actions. That leads me to my final problem with the film - the character of V. The character speaks very poetically about what he is doing and what he plans to do, but little of his banter makes sense. It sounds like a madman rambling off at the mouth. His entire ideology - "People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people" - is absolutely ridiculous. A government cannot exist with either of those scenarios. He is trading one type of chaos for another type of chaos.
As mentioned earlier, the performances were top notch. Natalie Portman demonstrates once again why she is such an emotional force on screen. She takes this character and rolls with it and really gives Evey passion and empathy. As Inspector Finch, Stephen Rea once again proves why he is one of the best character actors working today, as does the always phenomenal John Hurt in the Big Brother role where all we really see is his enormous, scowling face. Honestly, there was not a dishonest or mediocre performance in the entire film. I give the filmmakers kudos for casting Hugo Weaving as V. Though I didn't really agree with a lot of what he said, Weaving had the conviction and sincerity to say it - and I believed him. Weaving is one of those actors whose day has come. He has been in the supporting roles too long and it is time for him to step into the mainstream once more. "V for Vendetta", very much like "Sin City", is one of those rare instances when all of the performances seem to add up, helping add so much to the storyline and the film as a whole.
In closing, "V for Vendetta" was a very entertaining film, but it was a little too political in the wrong kind of way for me to enjoy it completely. I have little doubt that 90% of the people who see it will absolutely rave about it afterwards, but I took the time to sit down and think about it and come to the conclusion that the film was just too muddled. Watching "V for Vendetta" was kind of like watching "Bum Fights". You know you shouldn't be enjoying what you are watching, but it is just so damned intriguing that you can't turn away. When it's over, and you actually go home and start thinking about, you realize what made watching some of it so wrong. "V for Vendetta" tried to be a perfect film, but missed the mark by a hair. I suggest you see the film for the amazing performances, the awesome visuals, and the compelling storyline. Just don't be suckered into the rhetoric and the ideology that, normally, I would have agreed with. Finally, I guess my biggest problem was that this was a British take on the American situation. Worry about your own country.
- added 03/25/2006, 09:25 AM
Personally, I think your blowing the America thing
a bit out of proportion. I think that was just a
side-story they threw in, trying to make a point
that they're claiming "Godlessness" was what did
America in while England prevailed, but as you
watch you see that England is quite Godlessness
- added 03/25/2006, 02:40 PM
The movie didn't say anything about America at
V didn't blow up parliment,
considering he died before it happened, he said it
was the people's choice, and evey was really the
one who blew it up
He wanted to blow
up parliment because it symbolized the government
which was corrupt.
reviews if you can't even get the movie right.
- added 03/26/2006, 08:30 AM
Stop critiquing reviews if you're not going to pay
attention. The "Voice of England," I forget his
name, was doing quite a bit of America bashing (to
the tune of "Godless pigs got what was coming to
them") on his shows. In fact, that's how the movie
starts. And considering blowing up Parliament was
V's idea, I'm guessing he wrote it like that to
keep the spoiler level down. Kudos on fucking that
- added 03/27/2006, 03:44 PM
Actually, I didn't fuck anything up. Blowing up
Parliament was only V's idea because he stole the
idea from someone who has tried it before him.
And, even though V died, he blew up parliament.
He created the bombs to blow it up. He rigged the
device to blow it up. He 'brainwashed' the girl
who eventually blew it up. V blew it up. I just
didn't derive any satisfaction from watching such
a beautiful landmark and symbol of London being
torn to shreds. I am sure the America thing was a
side story, but I did not enjoy it. I might be a
liberal prick, but I still don't like listening to
Brits tear down the US. Yes, and I am going to
stop writing reviews because you tell me to, not
for the couple thousand others a week who keep
coming back for more. I don't care if he blew up
parliament because it represented a tyrannical
government. It was a dictatorship, so how did
parliament represent it? Parliament does not
coincide with a dictatorship -- you need to get
the movie right.
- added 03/28/2006, 04:04 PM
I think the reviewer takes this movie, how can I
put it way to serious. It's a movie, a comicbook
movie, a fantasy thriller.
- added 03/29/2006, 04:51 PM
I'll admit I might have taken it too seriously,
but I cannot help the way that I felt. I was
shocked that it offended me. I am normally never
offended by anything like that in a film. Some
films just rub some people the wrong way, and this
- added 01/21/2007, 12:31 PM
The comic book is a very serious book and has been
sited by "real" authors as inspiring so don't
write it off as just another comic book movie
(that’s not aimed at u meanie) the whole America
thing is the way I see it the natural
modernization of the comic it's no more America
bashing then other post 3rd world war stories no
one ever has a problem when it's blade runner and
the future America is crime ridden and shitty. All
I’m saying I don't like how people grabbed that
angle which isn't very important and held tight.
Really if u think about it, It doesn’t say very
good things about the brits either to be lead into
a dictatorship after what they went through with
- added 08/09/2007, 11:22 AM
The America story is implied to be England's
fault, anyway. Listen as tey explain everything,
there is disease sweeping in the US. Where as a
larger portion of the movie is explaining that
England performed all kinds of test with their
own man-made disease (and a cure) on their own
people. I mean, those test eventually turned V
into what he was... I felt like something was
being implied. Hell, it's not like alot of the
Brit's don't talk about us like that on a daily
basis anyway. V's idea of blowing up Parliment was
based on the idea that it was a symbol of their
goverment. Parliment, itself, was nothing more
than a pretty building used to show that there was
law and order in Englan, however, there was none.
Blowing it up would symbolize the fall of their
organized goverment, whether it had anything to do
with how the goverment was run or not was
irrelavent. But, no, V did not blow up Parliment.
He left the choice with Evey because he had shown
her his side of the story, he'd made this common
woman understand the terrible corruption that
their goverment was part of, she was the common
civillian who had learned the truth. Her
decission, more or less, symbolized what it seemed
everyone truly wanted, thus everyone's assembly at
the building on November 5th.
All in all, I
wouldn't say V's politics were completely
incorrect. A goverment should be afraid of its
people because the choices of people should be
what form the goverment's decissions. If the
people decide a foolish choice, then the
goverment, by all means, have no right to step in
and prevent it. V's words are from a man who had
been used in unholy test by the goverment that
currently oppresses all the people it should be
protecting. If they seem alittle radical, just
consider the charecter, not the actual idealisms,
and what you would beleive given his
The ONLY thing I didn't like
about this movie were the two or three pointless
scenes. Not to many, but could have done without
- added 05/14/2008, 01:29 PM
I believe that the "America bashing" in
the film is actually political rhetoric that the
corrupt British government is using to misdirect
the public's attention from their clandestine
actions. This propaganda is meant to further
enflame the viewer's sense of injustice once they
discover the true nature of the
"disease" sweeping the U.S. and much of
the outside world. I believe that the reviewer
(and I certainly mean no disrespect... i enjoy his
reviews regularly) missed the mark in his
statements regarding this "mock
criticism". This is fairly apparent in the
graphic novel version of the story... and i
believe that it is also prevalent enough in the
film to warrant re-examination by the reviewer
should he choose to do so.
is far from perfect... but it distills the graphic
novel down to it's most important component parts
and effectively conveys a tale of revolution in a
world somewhat similar to our own. All the
anti-American verbosity was just a device the film
maker's utilized to show the utter hypocrisy of
the fascist British government in the story.
Ginose seems to have caught the gist of
this device properly in his last comment... good
The reviewer just seems a
bit too sensitive to the jabs leveled at our
country to regard them within the proper
perspective in his review (IMHO)...
merely a story device to make the British
governmental machine more monstrous once you
discover their role in America's downfall.
Thanks for listening...
- added 05/14/2008, 03:26 PM
No disrespect intended...
I have no
problem with America bashing. I do it on a
regular basis myself. And, ego aside, I'm a
pretty smart camper when it comes to understanding
subtext. I know what the film was trying to
convey. I believe it failed. I believe it
proposed a dangerous notion that at most times
could be taken as tongue-in-cheek or scathing
indictment. However, in the age we live in today,
the message the film conveyed seem to be one that
could potentially lead to actions that would be
seen as negative and very harming to governments,
whether it be the United Kingdom or the United
States. My problem is that the film took very
controversial and very potentially hazardous
propaganda and and used it for entertainment value
only, with no regard for possible
I don't think that
means I missed the point. I think that means I
had a different perspective on the film than
others. No surprise there.
I do have
a problem with people constantly comparing the way
something is conveyed in a graphic novel against
the way it is conveyed in a film. Those are two
entirely different mediums and they are never
going to be conveyed in the same fashion. Just
because it works with paper and ink doesn't mean
it's going to work on film. It just doesn't.
That is not explanation of anything.
But, believe me, when it comes to
sensitivity...it's not my strongest suit, I assure
- added 05/15/2008, 02:12 PM
You certainly weren't kidding about the
sensitivity thing, Mr. Meanie... that's for
I still think that you are
assigning entirely too much weight to simple
plot-based vernacular obviously designed to
inflame the veiwer.
Yes... V's idea that a
government should be afraid of it's people is a
bit melodramatic and somewhat inflammatory... but
that very rhetoric is the bedrock of our founding
father's construction of our very constitution...
"for the people... by the people".
Again, sir... it's JUST a movie... no one
is going to take the films scathing indictments
(keeping in mind that they were also misleading
and INCORRECT according to the plot itself) to
heart and start blowing up monuments in
Washington. "Propaganda", as you put it
in your last post, must be heartfelt to even have
any sort of lasting effect on a populace... and if
you understand the film as you claim to, you know
that all the slanderous verbage that the film
contains is predicated on subterfuge and deceit.
By the end of the film (and I dare say throughout
the film if you watched closely), it is painfully
obvious that all the painful rhetoric uttered by
the British government is predicated on a lie.
The movie is also set in a fictional
dystopian future to further cushion it from modern
As for your
comments regarding how irked you are about folks
comparing how something is conveyed in a graphic
against the way it is conveyed in a film...
Well... I don't see why that is so unsavory for
First and foremost...
was just stating a fact... all I said was that the
rhetoric existed in both versions of the
Secondly,.. there would be no film
without the graphic novel... hence, comparisons
Perhaps you haven't
been watching the current trend of comic book
movies lately, sir... because the most successful
ones are always the films that STAY CLOSEST TO THE
- added 05/15/2008, 02:21 PM
Lot of activity on this movie lately. I'm not sure
why either, it was pretty awful. I think Meanie's
6/10 was a bit too generous, so I'm going with a
3/10. A few neat scenes, but it was pretty poorly
- added 05/15/2008, 02:44 PM
I would also like to add that as a participant in
the comic's industry (and an Artist by nature), I
find your comments regarding the incompatibility
of comics and film to be quite disturbing...
Time and time again, good Directors (and
even poor ones) have proven your time-worn line
that "what works in comics doesn't work on
film" entirely false. Sin City, while not the
best example of script-writing in comic's history,
proves without a doubt that what printed page
conveys can quite accurately be envisioned on the
silver screen without undue dilution.
another example... even the first Spiderman was
fairly accurate... even the X-men franchise
improved as each successive film tried to follow
it's comic book counterpart more closely.
And then there's Iron Man... a film that quite
closely mirrored it's pen and paper inception
onscreen. Again... success.
like such an agile minded fellow... yet you mouth
the same stale adage that jaded movie executives
make when they decide that they know better than
decades of successful comic book history. At one
time, your comments might have been true... but
with the advent of computer technology (and I'm
not a huge advocate of exclusive digital effects,
mind you), almost everything present in the
graphic novel format can be duplicated or
simulated beautifully to the screen.
Sure... minor tweaks are sometimes necessary to
keep ideas current or dated content fresh... but
the basics are fair game. Not everyone cares to
see each director's deep personal take on the
character... sometimes they just want to see the
character they grew to love appear on screen as
they were intended. There's plenty of content that
can reflect the filmmaker's private vision around
that character, right?
Look... I know
that some things in comics work better than others
on screen... but IMHO, to say that what works in
comics won't work on film as a blanket statement
seems a rather short-sighted stand from a clever
fellow like yourself..
- added 05/15/2008, 02:47 PM
You didn't like it, eh Fecal?
to each his own, I suppose;)
understand it not being your cup of tea... you
certainly aren't alone in your opinion, that's for
I kinda dug it though... guess it just
hit a nerve with me.
Did you at least
like the look of the film?
- added 05/15/2008, 03:31 PM
I don’t think you’re comprehending what I am
saying at all. You’re looking at the statement
as, “Film adaptations should not be like the
graphic novels or comic book at all!”, a very
defensive interpretation of what I wrote. I am
not saying that, nor have I insinuated that. What
I am saying is that film and literature are two
entirely different mediums. Sure, you can
translate one medium to another, but something is
ALWAYS going to get lost. In the case of “V for
Vendetta”, what was lost was – FOR ME – the right
tone. If the tone of the film is the same as the
tone of the graphic novel, entirely, then I would
absolutely have a problem with the graphic novel
It always amazes me that I get
sucked into debates over mediocre films. Never
amazing pieces of cinema. Never the worst of the
worst. It’s always the mediocre ones, like “V for
Vendetta”. Judging it on a scale of merit, the
film is disappointing on far more levels than the
one you bolster with such high disdain. When is
someone going to engage in a debate about a film
that is actually worthy of such debate? Maybe one
- added 05/16/2008, 12:26 AM
Hmmm... perhaps I misinterpreted your comments...
or perhaps you didn't quite clearly express what
it was that you were trying to say, inviting
misinterpretation. It isn't important really...
we've both made ourselves fairly clear at this
The tone of the graphic novel
is a bit different from the film... a bit darker
and more lugubrious in it's pacing... with more
complex characters and the type of rich political
satire that is only really possible in an
extensive written format. It also drags on a fair
bit too long before getting where it's going.
They cut out another major protagonist as
well in order to focus better on Evey.
not sure what you would think about it really...
you'd probably put it down after a few chapters
because of it's scathing political rhetoric if
your reaction to the film is any indication...
As for your comments regarding why you
get sucked into debates over mediocre films...
well... i don't consider this film mediocre, sir.
It isn't a GREAT film, by any means... but it
certainly stands head and shoulders over much of
the other film fare that passes for entertainment
these days. I found it engaging and compelling...
and more than worthy of spirited debate. But I
suppose they can't all be film classics like your
highly touted "Harold and Kumar Escape from
Guantanamo Bay", eh?
sad that the rest of us lowly peons haven't the
lofty capacity for film appreciation that you do,
Mr. Meanie... I, for one, will certainly try my
best in the future to refrain from expressing any
of my inferior contrary opinions within your
review strands. I hope that the next time we
engage in conversation somewhere on this site, it
will be over a film subject you deem worthy enough
In the meantime, I suppose
I'll keep my mouth shut...
- added 05/16/2008, 11:12 AM
My God. Are there really that many people on this
site operating with the mentality of a 6-year-old?
Any time I try and make any sort of response to
anything, I am automatically accused of a
'superiority complex'. Just because our opinions
differ and I believe in my opinion, doesn't mean I
feel superior or all knowing. It's MY opinion; of
course I think it's more accurate than yours;
otherwise, it wouldn't be an opinion.
And comparing "V for Vendetta" to
"Harold and Kumar" is like comparing
"The English Patient" to "The Naked
Gun". Two different genres. Two different
levels of enjoyment. If you can't understand
that, then...well...nevermind...don't want to
And I have no
problem debating anyone. But all you keep doing
is re-hashing the same reasons for why you liked
"V for Vendetta". I get it. You like
the film. You have expressed both your reasonings
for liking it and your disagreement over my
reasons for disliking it. Over and over. I get
it. All I can do, in response, is continue to
repeat myself. Why? Because we're talking about
an OPINION. If you want to debate technical merit
-- fine. If you want to debate the quality of the
performances -- fine. But, all you want to do is
sit around and talk about the same thing, over and
over again. I won't do that. I have better
things to do with my time. And -- yes -- THAT was
an uppity remark.
- added 05/16/2008, 04:15 PM
You claim to understand and respect other's
opinions... yet out of the other side of your
mouth you insult me by comparing my mentality to
that of a 6-year old... very classy;)
Perhaps the reason that you find yourself
repeatedly getting accused of being high handed is
because of your verbal delivery... which sometimes
comes off as insufferably arrogant. Something to
think about anyway...
Most folks don't
respond well to having either their intelligence
or taste insulted... it could be just me, I
suppose... but then again you've had this sort of
reaction before, correct? I've tried to be as
polite as possible...
As far as
repeating myself... I only recall agreeing with a
prior poster about the anti-american rhetoric in
the film... and then clarifying that response to
you in a following post. Everything else was in
reaction to what you yourself stated in your
rebuttal. I apologize if that seems like
over-repetition to you... but I only wanted to be
clear. My last large post dealt only with the
issue of comic properties converted to film and
your prior comments, not V for V directly. Most
assuredly, that is not repetition...
We can of course agree to disagree... and I was
hoping that you might take that road instead of
resorting to insult. I've only tried to be
thorough in my explanations... it was never my
intention to try and sway your opinion. I just
thought that perhaps you'd be a bit more objective
if you heard another perspective... silly me.
Regarding my comparison comments about
'Harold and Kumar"... those were just words
of jest and apparently a vain attempt at levity...
(although I was impressed by your valorous attempt
to polish that turd) but I must now admit that
after reading your review of that film, I'm
surprised at myself for being so shocked by your
I guess perhaps I
was wrong about you after all... my bad.
- added 05/16/2008, 06:30 PM
And 'round and 'round we go...
verbal delivery, sir, is the sign of arrogance
then it is you who has been on the assault. If
people have a problem with my 'verbal delivery',
too bad for them, it would seem. None of my print
readers seem to have a problem with it whatsoever.
And the only time it becomes a problem is when I
am disagreeing with some one elses opinion and
they get defensive and feel like they need to
trump themselves and go all 'wordy' on my
'superior' ass(go figure). 'If you can't handle
the heat (or, in my case, a luke warm steam), then
get out of the kitchen'.
high road? Excuse me, Miss Manners. Get over
yourself. I'm not having a debate with Prince
I guess perhaps I
was wrong about you after all... my bad.
I repeat -- get over yourself. My
participation in this ridiculous diatribe is now
- added 05/16/2008, 09:22 PM
Gosh, that was cute.
- added 05/16/2008, 11:50 PM
Do ever even read what you write after you finish
Why can't you just admit that
you might have overstepped the line of polite
discourse with your insult of my mentality?
I could have agreed to disagree with you and
called it even... but now it's suddenly ME who's
being arrogant simply because I have a relatively
broad vernacular range? It seems to me that
perhaps you are the one who "can't handle the
heat", Mr. Tough Guy;)
have avoided all this with a simple post more
thoroughly explaining your opinions minus the
condescending attitude, you know!
hardly Miss Manners (or Prince Charles for that
matter... ouchie), sir... but you ,my fine friend,
are responding to simple debate like a petulant
Go ahead, take your toys and go
Man, I just wanted a bit of
discourse without all this drama... instead I got
into verbal sparring match with a drama
(That's just a JOKE, by the way...
don't get all steamed on me, Meanie! I figured I
was due at least a playful insult or two after all
I apologize to the rest of
the strand for this bit of distraction... I guess
I shouldn't have tried so hard to make myself
clear to the reviewer at your expense.
Lesson learned, I suppose.
site is a great resource and I'd hate to mar it's
worth with this unintentional misfire...
It's all good folks, carry
- added 05/17/2008, 05:52 PM
I will say this -- it is nice to finally engage in
some back-and-forth with someone who isn't firing
back with blanks. Imagine what you happen if we
combined our forces for pure evil...???
- added 05/18/2008, 12:46 AM
Hah... you're alright, man...
My God... the terrible havoc we
might wreak upon an unsuspecting world...
"The horror... the horror..."
- added 09/11/2010, 02:46 PM
I find it funny that all the action scenes were on
the trailer. This was alright, nothing really