Writer: Helena HonWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"V for Vendetta" is a movie title that means exactly what it says, with V (the name of the masked man played by Hugo Weaving, 'Agent Smith' in the "Matrix" movies, if you'll remember) standing up for vengeance against a corrupt, totalitarian government set in the near future in post-apocalyptic England. The country, now an impoverished, ration-controlled, curfew-restrained, police state, is ruled by a maniacal, fear-mongering, gay-bashing, religion-hating dictator named Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt) who spews lies and all manner of control propaganda to his citizens to keep them on a very short leash, in exchange - it seems - for protection against bio-weapons of mass destruction.
But there is one man still left standing in London, one man who hasn't bought Sutler's lies or succumbed to his programme, and that's V, the vigilante, who wears a cloak, a peaked hat and a bizarre theatrical mask to hide his identity while darting about the city under the cover of darkness (and his mask) wielding knives and bombs in the name of freedom.
In the tradition of comic book heroes such as "Batman", "Spiderman" and "Superman", "V" - also an adaptation from a comic book - wears a costume that is pregnant with meaning. It is a tribute to an earlier English rebel, Guy Fawkes, one of the ill-fated Catholic conspirators who in 1605 plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and along with them the repressive Protestant king, James I.
Of course, in light of V's revolutionist movements, Sutler's most urgent agenda has now become the hunt for the renegade. He assigns a police investigator named Finch (Stephen Rea) for the job but it is no easy task as "V" is now joined, reluctantly at first, by a young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman), the woman whom "V" saves from rape by the police thugs.
V shows Evey his secret liar and some of the forbidden things he's kept, such as the "Quran". It is there that she learns of his brutal history, his reasons for murdering coroner Delia Surridge and his intent for wiping the parliament off the face of the earth. V's persuasion of Evey and his explanations for doing what he does, (and hence politicalising the audience as well to his cause), is the core of the film. In a movie where the hero is the terrorist, we, for the first time, get to look at terrorism from the terrorist's point of view and what it is that compels him to his beliefs.
The real world references in this movie are apparent - the evil regime of Sutler can easily be paralleled for some of today's more powerful administrations (no names mentioned) and in an age of terrorism, the issues presented here are chillingly spot on.
It is an amazing movie, all in all, with good work coming from the director and cast and crew. The colours are rich and every movement is thrilling. The ending is spectacular and may even move you to tears. It's worth a watch this one.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008