V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

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V For Vendetta -- Starring Natalie Portman; From The Makers of The Matrix

Mar 20, 2006 (Updated Mar 20, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:some exciting moments, somewhat strong premise

Cons:weak on action, a let down on plot, a little undone by lack of suspense

The Bottom Line: Average on the whole, this was a decent film, but it failed to impress through either action or suspense.


"An uncompromising view of the future", is how this film was portrayed in all of the advertisements, and I guess in that respect V For Vendetta doesn't really hold anything back. Based on an English Government that has gone too far, the film shows one man who is willing to stand up for his ideas, and attempt to right the wrongs of the country. The Government has taken control of nearly every aspect of the culture, preventing the freedom of speech, setting nightly curfews to keep people off of the streets, and generally trouncing on the personal freedoms of its citizens. The people don't like it, but have been convinced that these things are in their best interest, and that the Government is actually protecting them, rather than holding them down. There are those people who would stand up for themselves, but they are becoming a rare breed as officials continuously make them disappear. Hope of a free country then falls into the hands of Codename V, who is about to make a stand.

V is a masked man, along the lines of many other super-heroes, that is convinced he has 'good' on his side. The characters (him included) have been taken from stories and a comic book out of the Marvel closets. With V, we have someone who has been wronged by the current administration somewhere in his past, and under the veil of vengeance, wants to get his revenge on many different people. Caught in that storyline is his belief that the country needs to be a place of freedom where the people can stand up for themselves. As he puts it, "People should not be afraid of their governments; Governments should be afraid of their people." With that in mind, he sets out to strike terror into the hearts of the leaders, and give faith to the people who have been held down so long in England. Looking at it from that point of view, you could view the main character of the film as being a terrorist in his own right. He uses destruction of buildings as his main tool to rile up people, and he is doing so against the government of a large country.

This is a political movie to say the least, and it is going to fall on each viewer as to whether or not the main character is even a "good-guy." It must also be decided if the ends justify the means, because while the government uses fear to control its people, he too uses fear to turn them on the people in charge. Caught up in everything is a girl named Evey Hoffman, played by Natalie Portman. She doesn't agree with the powerful government, but has never had the strength or opportunity to stand up for anything herself. When she is saved by V from some government officials that mean her harm, her life is taken down a completely different road. Now she must decide whether to help this man, or to slide back into the quiet that her life has been. Portman is very good in her particular role, and she goes all out for the part including having herself physically altered during the movie. She has always been a great actress in my opinion, and her dialogue here helped keep her at that level, but I think her character lacked some of the strength later in the film that we were supposed to believe she had. With V conducting missions on his own to take down key targets, it becomes a movie more about his personal revenge, with a back-drop of the country bursting into turmoil under his leadership. But will they really be willing to stand up with someone who has been vilified by the government controlled press?

V For Vendetta was actually not what I had envisioned the film being when I first heard about it. It is based on a comic book for all intents and purposes, and keeping that in mind, we already know that there are going to be some over-the-top ordeals that the main characters must overcome. But I had fallen prey to the belief that the film was going to be action-packed, and explosive in how it was presented. Instead of that though, the movie becomes about ideas, and the ideals that we hold to be important in the leaders of our countries. It is more about fighting the oppressor in our minds, and by using an even to build everything else off of. So, rather then giving us a fast paced story, it is one slowed down by the developing plot, and as a result I felt that the movie lost something in that process. The creators of the Matrix trilogy were behind this film, so you know you are in for some slow-motion action as well, but I think that actually hurts the film, because it further slows down everything else in the movie. It's not entirely a bad thing, but it hurts this film, and because of it, the pace sometimes seems to drag. Couple that with a main character who wears a mask, and his quotes bring with them less impact at times, because you aren't always able to understand him clearly. What could have been a really good film, V For Vendetta instead turns into a far too long movie about ideas, which takes away many of its more interesting facets. We are then left with a merely average film, which disappointed and frustrated this particular viewer.



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