Canister X Movie Review #91: V for Vendetta (2005)
Written by The Wachowski Brothers
Directed by James McTeigue
Runtime 132 min.
4.5 out of 5
In the late 2020s, the United Kingdom is the only last stable government in the world and is led by the oppressive Norsefire party. Under such a tight regime, the people are controlled at every turn. The exchange? Bow down and you’ll live in peace and safety.
From out of the shadows rises V (Hugo Weaving), a Guy Fawkes-mask-wearing caped activist who has a thorough plan meant to topple the present government and, over the course of a year, expose the Norsefire regime for what they really are and inspire the people to be free.
After being saved by V from an attempted rape, Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) goes into hiding in V’s lair and learns not only of V’s plans for the UK, but also about herself, her fears, and what it will take for her to rise from her own ashes to help him on his quest.
This movie was based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
Hugo Weaving is insane in this. His acting is through the roof! I mean, come on, the guy had a mask on the entire time. You don’t see his face, and yet with every nuance of every word, every expressive tone, every bit of body language, you didn’t need the aid of a face to sell you on what he was saying or why he was saying it. No small feat and was truly amazing. And that “V speech” when he introduces himself to Evey? Go. Watch it. Now. Awesome.
Natalie Portman is the bomb as Evey Hammond. I love her in nearly everything she does and her performance in V for Vendetta is no exception, especially when her character starts going through the wringer and she starts to break down. That scene where she gets her head shaved? That happened in real life. That was really her hair and was a one-take deal shot with three cameras, and a very poignant scene in the film. Her journey from start to finish is the audience’s on-screen link to V and his quest, and by the end, you’re with him one hundred percent.
While there are some differences between the movie and the graphic novel, they by no means take away from it, in my opinion. There will always be differences when adapting books to film.
V in this flick is a kind of Robin Hood-meets-Zorro figure, but instead of having the people behind him, he’s on his own with only Evey at his side. However, over the course of the year the story takes place, and as V unfolds his plan, the people start to get behind him, first in their hearts and then in their actions.
Speaking of action, I love V’s fighting in this, spinning his swords and holding his own against multiple opponents. Some of the trickery he uses to evade capture also reminds me of Batman-like tactics.
The movie is a strong one, interesting from start to finish, and one that not only inspires, but makes me grateful I live in a free country like Canada and not in a fascist state.
V for Vendetta also spilled over into the real world—our world—inspiring folks to wear Guy Fawkes masks during public demonstrations, like Occupy Wall Street. If that doesn’t show the impact of a movie, I don’t know what does.
This is a superhero movie with depth and is an important addition to any superhero fan’s library.