Review Date: March 17, 2006
Director: James McTeigue
Writer: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Producers: Joel Silver, Grant Hill, Andy and Larry Wachowski
Natalie Portman as Evy
Hugo Weaving as V
Stephen Rea as Finch
In a futuristic England, the country is run by John Hurt looking and acting a lot like that weasel from World War Deuce, Adolf Hitler. In other words, London is all big brother’d up, and curfews, surveillance and the confiscation of all things “artsy” is a daily part of everyone’s lives. That is, until a man wearing a cool-ass cape and mask and a penchant for knives starts kicking ass and blowing shit up, and asks the rest of the drones left in society, to do the same. In the meantime, he meets a cute girl and her head gets shaved. A nasty vendetta ensues!
Awesome! Easily the best movie to come out so far this year, packed with plenty of style, bunches of action, various interlinked interesting and engaging characters, a contemporary message that cannot be missed and a couple of attractive leads, both of whom bring forth developed personas, as well as an intriguing relationship, all wrapped up in a giant ball of entertainment. That’s right, if you didn’t think that a movie can both entertain on a visceral level and warn you about the dangers of “too much government” at the same time, prepare yourself to be stupefied as VENDETTA does just that, and does it all in style, grace and a wicked pace that doesn’t even give you a second to consider the possibility of going out for a pee (it’s just not going to happen). I was engrossed by this film from scene one all the way through its many deviations, surprises, twists and terrorist turns, as it continually kept things moving, while at the same time, allowing us to follow the events as a detective might…filtering through all of the clues and twists dropped throughout. Who is this V character? Why did they shave Natalie Portman’s sweet head? What really happened to her parents? Has anybody ever seen the Wachowski brothers? All pertinent questions which are all slowly responded to, as this futuristic English society begins to crack under the pressure. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to connect the parallels between the totalitarian English regime presented in this movie and the burgeoning issues in the United States today, but I’ll leave all that jive to the talking heads to wrestle about.
For me, the film made me question stuff, exhilarated me at various moments (the final “fight sequence” was poetry in motion…oh, and bloody!), allowed me to relax and enjoy some of its quieter times (the scenes between V and Portman in his underground lair were romantic and Portman dressed up as a lolita was the shit) and ultimately engaged me in a circle of curiosity throughout. The ending wasn’t as unpredictable as you might expect, but that was fine, since it was the journey that was the enjoyment for me. The film also had style up the wazoo, with everything looking very slick, dark and deadly. It also had a tinge of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE undercurrent working below it, which is always nice. Kudos to all of the actors in the show as well, since their commitments to the characters were also part of what made this film come alive, and extra props to Portman for bringing home her A-game and even Hugo Weaving, who might have had the hardest job of all…emoting stuff behind a friggin’ frozen mask. But you know what…he did it! I felt for this dude and that’s the sign of a great actor. All in all, don’t go into this film expecting a wham-bam-thank-you-Wachowki type of flick, because it’s far from that. This movie contains more ideas than action, more politics than thrills and more ideology than bullet-time, but in the end…it does deliver in a little bit of everything, and for me…that’s always welcome in this world of rehashes, remakes and TV show retreads. Viva la V for Vendetta…finally, some balls on the big screen! Oh, and if you’ve always wondered what the difference was between a terrorist and a freedom fighter…wonder some more.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian