“An inch. It’s small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in this world worth having.” –Alan Moore.
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman
Director: James McTeigue
Screenwriters: The Wachowski Brothers
“V for Vendetta” is about a dark revolutionary / terrorist who inspires a nation to rise up against a futuristic England, which has become a fascist, totalitarian regime. Evoking the legend of Guy Fawkes, who was notorious for the Gun Powder Plot of 1605, the masked vigilante known only as V stages a Fifth of November bombing of the Houses of Parliament.
Those familiar with Alan Moore’s graphic novel, upon which the movie is based, probably didn’t expect the film to be the CGI Matrix-esque action fest it is unfortunately being marketed as. Most people who saw the promise of the trailer will be disappointed by the movie about 20 minutes in, while fans of the comic will most likely be more patient with it. The “V for Vendetta” film has parts that are genuinely moving and inspired. Natalie Portman’s performance as Evey Hammond is a terrific example of this. The cinematography is stunning at times, and the sets and costumes are all exciting to look at. Some of the dialogue in the prison scene, taken directly from the graphic novel, was beautifully performed and presented as well. Unfortunately that’s where the movie pretty much peaks before it becomes just another comic book wrapped in a deluded notion of being important.
The problem with this “V for Vendetta” isn’t the liberties the Wachowski Brothers take with the source material but with their own childish sense of what liberty is in the first place. The film’s heavy-handed attempt to parallel the perils of the story’s setting with present-day America made me feel that this adaptation of Alan Moore’s story was inspired entirely by their personal agendas. The politics of “V for Vendetta,” which I happen to strongly agree with, were childishly presented and did nothing but distract me from the story. I know I was supposed to feel moved by the message. Instead, there were moments when I was even insulted by it. As bleak as director James McTeigue’s vision of the future is, I never once empathized with the protagonist of the story, and that’s the most insulting thing I can say about it.
Alan Moore, who penned the graphic novel, has been very public about his contempt for this film. After seeing it for myself, I’m pretty sure that Michael Moore would love it.
Rated 2 1/2 out of 5 self-serving brand icons