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V For Vendetta (2006)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother Special Edition)
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7.3
 / 10
26 votes
Genres / Traits:
Political Drama, Sci-Fi Action, Thriller, Comics: DC
Director:
James McTeigue James McTeigue
Starring:
Natalie Portman Natalie Portman
Hugo Weaving Hugo Weaving
Stephen Rea Stephen Rea
Stephen Fry Stephen Fry
John Hurt John Hurt
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: March 24, 2006
While comic books turned to film are usually a major disappointment (here's looking at you Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner), graphic novels turned to film have had fairly high success rates. Take into consideration the enormous success of "Sin City", one of last year's most creative offerings. Then there is "From Hell", actually written by the same gentleman who gave us the graphic novel version of the film I am about to review. Graphic novels are easier to translate to screen because they are designed to be ever-so-slightly more realistic than comic books. In graphic novels, people don't usually fly or shoot laser beams out of their eyes - they shoot people with automatic weapons and beat them to death with Louisville Sluggers. "V for Vendetta" is a film that appears very much like a graphic novel. Writer Alan Moore was so unhappy with the film version, that he demanded his name be removed from the film. If he felt the film version compromised his original artistic intent with the graphic novel, he likely did the right thing. However, "V for Vendetta" turned out to be a creative, compelling, and thoroughly enjoyable motion picture, despite some problems I had with the story that I will get into a little bit later in the review. "V for Vendetta" was as much a political statement as "Syriana" - maybe even more so. "V for Vendetta" was much crueler and less comfortable than "Syriana" in that it was obvious as to whom was getting the worst of the business.

"Remember, remember the 5th of November" is the phrase that hits our ears first with this film, and very appropriately so when you consider that the 5th of November really does play such an important role in the remainder of the film. We soon meet Evey (Natalie Portman), a young woman who is harassed by the local 'cops' when a hero in a white mask and black cape, V (Hugo Weaving) comes to her rescue. She soon realizes that this man is a terrorist, and hellbent on giving the government back to the people. You see - the London depicted in "V for Vendetta" is not a happy one. War and disease frightened the people so much that they easily agreed to accept a totalitarian dictator (John Hurt) as their High Chancellor. Now, London has been transformed into a city where faith is praised above all else, and individuals are not so much individuals as extensions of the government. V is a terrorist who hopes to change all that. He starts out small, blasting classical music throughout the streets, but them blows up a local landmark and really gets the government pissed off. Stephen Rea co-stars as Inspector Finch, a formerly loyal officer of the law who soon starts to suspect that his perfect little government might not be so perfect after all, but more evil than he ever suspected. Stephen Fry co-stars as a popular television host who eventually takes his gags a little too far. The entire film leads up to an ending that we already know is going to happen. There is no doubt that V is going to commit this act. However, we really derive little to no pleasure in seeing it happen.

That is why I have mixed feelings about "V for Vendetta". I thought the acting was far better than most films I have seen this year; the visuals were amazing - very Wachowski Brothers; and, the story was so compelling that I could never take my eyes away from the screen. This should have been one of the best films of the year, 2006's "Sin City". Alas, "V for Vendetta" had a few little problems that bothered me, as a viewer. For example, the film opens with the Prothero character (obviously an attempt at creating a Rush Limbaugh figure) spatting out reasons why America didn't make it and had become a leper colony, and how it wasn't the war we started that killed us, but our lack of faith. I am as liberal as they come. I loathe the Bush administration. I guess my primary problem was that this was a British man spitting this hatred out. This was, primarily, a British film, and to hear them talk about America in such a negative way actually made me angry. I was not angry at the actors, or angry at the film, but angry at myself for allowing that to bother me in such a way. It was as if this person was saying America had no redeeming qualities whatsoever; and, as much as I am frustrated with our current government, I cannot give up hope on this country. I also had a problem with the ending of the film. By the time V gets around to blowing up Parliament, it gave me absolutely no pleasure. The destruction of something as symbolic as Parliament did nothing but make me realize how that entire idea was in such poor taste. Parliament is a gorgeous structure and one of the many reasons I love to visit London. To see that gorgeous establishment burned to the ground made me sad. V tries to explains his reasons for blowing up the structure, but it made no sense to me. It sounded like a villain trying desperately to explain his actions. That leads me to my final problem with the film - the character of V. The character speaks very poetically about what he is doing and what he plans to do, but little of his banter makes sense. It sounds like a madman rambling off at the mouth. His entire ideology - "People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people" - is absolutely ridiculous. A government cannot exist with either of those scenarios. He is trading one type of chaos for another type of chaos.

As mentioned earlier, the performances were top notch. Natalie Portman demonstrates once again why she is such an emotional force on screen. She takes this character and rolls with it and really gives Evey passion and empathy. As Inspector Finch, Stephen Rea once again proves why he is one of the best character actors working today, as does the always phenomenal John Hurt in the Big Brother role where all we really see is his enormous, scowling face. Honestly, there was not a dishonest or mediocre performance in the entire film. I give the filmmakers kudos for casting Hugo Weaving as V. Though I didn't really agree with a lot of what he said, Weaving had the conviction and sincerity to say it - and I believed him. Weaving is one of those actors whose day has come. He has been in the supporting roles too long and it is time for him to step into the mainstream once more. "V for Vendetta", very much like "Sin City", is one of those rare instances when all of the performances seem to add up, helping add so much to the storyline and the film as a whole.

In closing, "V for Vendetta" was a very entertaining film, but it was a little too political in the wrong kind of way for me to enjoy it completely. I have little doubt that 90% of the people who see it will absolutely rave about it afterwards, but I took the time to sit down and think about it and come to the conclusion that the film was just too muddled. Watching "V for Vendetta" was kind of like watching "Bum Fights". You know you shouldn't be enjoying what you are watching, but it is just so damned intriguing that you can't turn away. When it's over, and you actually go home and start thinking about, you realize what made watching some of it so wrong. "V for Vendetta" tried to be a perfect film, but missed the mark by a hair. I suggest you see the film for the amazing performances, the awesome visuals, and the compelling storyline. Just don't be suckered into the rhetoric and the ideology that, normally, I would have agreed with. Finally, I guess my biggest problem was that this was a British take on the American situation. Worry about your own country.

6/10.
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 03/25/2006, 09:25 AM
Personally, I think your blowing the America thing a bit out of proportion. I think that was just a side-story they threw in, trying to make a point that they're claiming "Godlessness" was what did America in while England prevailed, but as you watch you see that England is quite Godlessness themselves.
hellothere #2: hellothere - added 03/25/2006, 02:40 PM
The movie didn't say anything about America at all.

V didn't blow up parliment, considering he died before it happened, he said it was the people's choice, and evey was really the one who blew it up

He wanted to blow up parliment because it symbolized the government which was corrupt.

stop writing reviews if you can't even get the movie right.
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 03/26/2006, 08:30 AM
Stop critiquing reviews if you're not going to pay attention. The "Voice of England," I forget his name, was doing quite a bit of America bashing (to the tune of "Godless pigs got what was coming to them") on his shows. In fact, that's how the movie starts. And considering blowing up Parliament was V's idea, I'm guessing he wrote it like that to keep the spoiler level down. Kudos on fucking that up.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 03/27/2006, 03:44 PM
Actually, I didn't fuck anything up. Blowing up Parliament was only V's idea because he stole the idea from someone who has tried it before him. And, even though V died, he blew up parliament. He created the bombs to blow it up. He rigged the device to blow it up. He 'brainwashed' the girl who eventually blew it up. V blew it up. I just didn't derive any satisfaction from watching such a beautiful landmark and symbol of London being torn to shreds. I am sure the America thing was a side story, but I did not enjoy it. I might be a liberal prick, but I still don't like listening to Brits tear down the US. Yes, and I am going to stop writing reviews because you tell me to, not for the couple thousand others a week who keep coming back for more. I don't care if he blew up parliament because it represented a tyrannical government. It was a dictatorship, so how did parliament represent it? Parliament does not coincide with a dictatorship -- you need to get the movie right.
BuryMeAlive #5: BuryMeAlive - added 03/28/2006, 04:04 PM
I think the reviewer takes this movie, how can I put it way to serious. It's a movie, a comicbook movie, a fantasy thriller.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 03/29/2006, 04:51 PM
I'll admit I might have taken it too seriously, but I cannot help the way that I felt. I was shocked that it offended me. I am normally never offended by anything like that in a film. Some films just rub some people the wrong way, and this was one.
QuietMan #7: QuietMan - added 01/21/2007, 12:31 PM
The comic book is a very serious book and has been sited by "real" authors as inspiring so don't write it off as just another comic book movie
(that’s not aimed at u meanie) the whole America thing is the way I see it the natural modernization of the comic it's no more America bashing then other post 3rd world war stories no one ever has a problem when it's blade runner and the future America is crime ridden and shitty. All I’m saying I don't like how people grabbed that angle which isn't very important and held tight. Really if u think about it, It doesn’t say very good things about the brits either to be lead into a dictatorship after what they went through with the Nazis
Ginose #8: Ginose - added 08/09/2007, 11:22 AM
The America story is implied to be England's fault, anyway. Listen as tey explain everything, there is disease sweeping in the US. Where as a larger portion of the movie is explaining that England performed all kinds of test with their own man-made disease (and a cure) on their own people. I mean, those test eventually turned V into what he was... I felt like something was being implied. Hell, it's not like alot of the Brit's don't talk about us like that on a daily basis anyway. V's idea of blowing up Parliment was based on the idea that it was a symbol of their goverment. Parliment, itself, was nothing more than a pretty building used to show that there was law and order in Englan, however, there was none. Blowing it up would symbolize the fall of their organized goverment, whether it had anything to do with how the goverment was run or not was irrelavent. But, no, V did not blow up Parliment. He left the choice with Evey because he had shown her his side of the story, he'd made this common woman understand the terrible corruption that their goverment was part of, she was the common civillian who had learned the truth. Her decission, more or less, symbolized what it seemed everyone truly wanted, thus everyone's assembly at the building on November 5th.
All in all, I wouldn't say V's politics were completely incorrect. A goverment should be afraid of its people because the choices of people should be what form the goverment's decissions. If the people decide a foolish choice, then the goverment, by all means, have no right to step in and prevent it. V's words are from a man who had been used in unholy test by the goverment that currently oppresses all the people it should be protecting. If they seem alittle radical, just consider the charecter, not the actual idealisms, and what you would beleive given his situation.
The ONLY thing I didn't like about this movie were the two or three pointless scenes. Not to many, but could have done without them. 8.9/10
Greg Follender #9: Greg Follender - added 05/14/2008, 01:29 PM
I believe that the "America bashing" in the film is actually political rhetoric that the corrupt British government is using to misdirect the public's attention from their clandestine actions. This propaganda is meant to further enflame the viewer's sense of injustice once they discover the true nature of the "disease" sweeping the U.S. and much of the outside world. I believe that the reviewer (and I certainly mean no disrespect... i enjoy his reviews regularly) missed the mark in his statements regarding this "mock criticism". This is fairly apparent in the graphic novel version of the story... and i believe that it is also prevalent enough in the film to warrant re-examination by the reviewer should he choose to do so.

The movie is far from perfect... but it distills the graphic novel down to it's most important component parts and effectively conveys a tale of revolution in a world somewhat similar to our own. All the anti-American verbosity was just a device the film maker's utilized to show the utter hypocrisy of the fascist British government in the story.

Ginose seems to have caught the gist of this device properly in his last comment... good show, sir.

The reviewer just seems a bit too sensitive to the jabs leveled at our country to regard them within the proper perspective in his review (IMHO)...
It was merely a story device to make the British governmental machine more monstrous once you discover their role in America's downfall.

Thanks for listening...
bluemeanie #10: bluemeanie - added 05/14/2008, 03:26 PM
No disrespect intended...

I have no problem with America bashing. I do it on a regular basis myself. And, ego aside, I'm a pretty smart camper when it comes to understanding subtext. I know what the film was trying to convey. I believe it failed. I believe it proposed a dangerous notion that at most times could be taken as tongue-in-cheek or scathing indictment. However, in the age we live in today, the message the film conveyed seem to be one that could potentially lead to actions that would be seen as negative and very harming to governments, whether it be the United Kingdom or the United States. My problem is that the film took very controversial and very potentially hazardous propaganda and and used it for entertainment value only, with no regard for possible consequences.

I don't think that means I missed the point. I think that means I had a different perspective on the film than others. No surprise there.

I do have a problem with people constantly comparing the way something is conveyed in a graphic novel against the way it is conveyed in a film. Those are two entirely different mediums and they are never going to be conveyed in the same fashion. Just because it works with paper and ink doesn't mean it's going to work on film. It just doesn't. That is not explanation of anything.

But, believe me, when it comes to sensitivity...it's not my strongest suit, I assure you.

Greg Follender #11: Greg Follender - added 05/15/2008, 02:12 PM
You certainly weren't kidding about the sensitivity thing, Mr. Meanie... that's for sure;)

I still think that you are assigning entirely too much weight to simple plot-based vernacular obviously designed to inflame the veiwer.
Yes... V's idea that a government should be afraid of it's people is a bit melodramatic and somewhat inflammatory... but that very rhetoric is the bedrock of our founding father's construction of our very constitution... "for the people... by the people".

Again, sir... it's JUST a movie... no one is going to take the films scathing indictments (keeping in mind that they were also misleading and INCORRECT according to the plot itself) to heart and start blowing up monuments in Washington. "Propaganda", as you put it in your last post, must be heartfelt to even have any sort of lasting effect on a populace... and if you understand the film as you claim to, you know that all the slanderous verbage that the film contains is predicated on subterfuge and deceit. By the end of the film (and I dare say throughout the film if you watched closely), it is painfully obvious that all the painful rhetoric uttered by the British government is predicated on a lie.

The movie is also set in a fictional dystopian future to further cushion it from modern current events...

As for your comments regarding how irked you are about folks comparing how something is conveyed in a graphic against the way it is conveyed in a film...
Well... I don't see why that is so unsavory for you.

First and foremost...
i was just stating a fact... all I said was that the rhetoric existed in both versions of the story.
Secondly,.. there would be no film without the graphic novel... hence, comparisons are inevitable.

Perhaps you haven't been watching the current trend of comic book movies lately, sir... because the most successful ones are always the films that STAY CLOSEST TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL.
Tristan #12: Tristan - added 05/15/2008, 02:21 PM
Lot of activity on this movie lately. I'm not sure why either, it was pretty awful. I think Meanie's 6/10 was a bit too generous, so I'm going with a 3/10. A few neat scenes, but it was pretty poorly done overall.
Greg Follender #13: Greg Follender - added 05/15/2008, 02:44 PM
I would also like to add that as a participant in the comic's industry (and an Artist by nature), I find your comments regarding the incompatibility of comics and film to be quite disturbing...

Time and time again, good Directors (and even poor ones) have proven your time-worn line that "what works in comics doesn't work on film" entirely false. Sin City, while not the best example of script-writing in comic's history, proves without a doubt that what printed page conveys can quite accurately be envisioned on the silver screen without undue dilution.
300 is another example... even the first Spiderman was fairly accurate... even the X-men franchise improved as each successive film tried to follow it's comic book counterpart more closely.
And then there's Iron Man... a film that quite closely mirrored it's pen and paper inception onscreen. Again... success.

You seem like such an agile minded fellow... yet you mouth the same stale adage that jaded movie executives make when they decide that they know better than decades of successful comic book history. At one time, your comments might have been true... but with the advent of computer technology (and I'm not a huge advocate of exclusive digital effects, mind you), almost everything present in the graphic novel format can be duplicated or simulated beautifully to the screen.

Sure... minor tweaks are sometimes necessary to keep ideas current or dated content fresh... but the basics are fair game. Not everyone cares to see each director's deep personal take on the character... sometimes they just want to see the character they grew to love appear on screen as they were intended. There's plenty of content that can reflect the filmmaker's private vision around that character, right?

Look... I know that some things in comics work better than others on screen... but IMHO, to say that what works in comics won't work on film as a blanket statement seems a rather short-sighted stand from a clever fellow like yourself..
Greg Follender #14: Greg Follender - added 05/15/2008, 02:47 PM
You didn't like it, eh Fecal?

Hmm... to each his own, I suppose;)

I understand it not being your cup of tea... you certainly aren't alone in your opinion, that's for sure.
I kinda dug it though... guess it just hit a nerve with me.

Did you at least like the look of the film?
bluemeanie #15: bluemeanie - added 05/15/2008, 03:31 PM
I don’t think you’re comprehending what I am saying at all. You’re looking at the statement as, “Film adaptations should not be like the graphic novels or comic book at all!”, a very defensive interpretation of what I wrote. I am not saying that, nor have I insinuated that. What I am saying is that film and literature are two entirely different mediums. Sure, you can translate one medium to another, but something is ALWAYS going to get lost. In the case of “V for Vendetta”, what was lost was – FOR ME – the right tone. If the tone of the film is the same as the tone of the graphic novel, entirely, then I would absolutely have a problem with the graphic novel too.

It always amazes me that I get sucked into debates over mediocre films. Never amazing pieces of cinema. Never the worst of the worst. It’s always the mediocre ones, like “V for Vendetta”. Judging it on a scale of merit, the film is disappointing on far more levels than the one you bolster with such high disdain. When is someone going to engage in a debate about a film that is actually worthy of such debate? Maybe one day.
Greg Follender #16: Greg Follender - added 05/16/2008, 12:26 AM
Hmmm... perhaps I misinterpreted your comments... or perhaps you didn't quite clearly express what it was that you were trying to say, inviting misinterpretation. It isn't important really... we've both made ourselves fairly clear at this point.

The tone of the graphic novel is a bit different from the film... a bit darker and more lugubrious in it's pacing... with more complex characters and the type of rich political satire that is only really possible in an extensive written format. It also drags on a fair bit too long before getting where it's going.

They cut out another major protagonist as well in order to focus better on Evey.
I'm not sure what you would think about it really... you'd probably put it down after a few chapters because of it's scathing political rhetoric if your reaction to the film is any indication...

As for your comments regarding why you get sucked into debates over mediocre films... well... i don't consider this film mediocre, sir. It isn't a GREAT film, by any means... but it certainly stands head and shoulders over much of the other film fare that passes for entertainment these days. I found it engaging and compelling... and more than worthy of spirited debate. But I suppose they can't all be film classics like your highly touted "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay", eh?

It seems sad that the rest of us lowly peons haven't the lofty capacity for film appreciation that you do, Mr. Meanie... I, for one, will certainly try my best in the future to refrain from expressing any of my inferior contrary opinions within your review strands. I hope that the next time we engage in conversation somewhere on this site, it will be over a film subject you deem worthy enough of debate.

In the meantime, I suppose I'll keep my mouth shut...
bluemeanie #17: bluemeanie - added 05/16/2008, 11:12 AM
My God. Are there really that many people on this site operating with the mentality of a 6-year-old? Any time I try and make any sort of response to anything, I am automatically accused of a 'superiority complex'. Just because our opinions differ and I believe in my opinion, doesn't mean I feel superior or all knowing. It's MY opinion; of course I think it's more accurate than yours; otherwise, it wouldn't be an opinion.

And comparing "V for Vendetta" to "Harold and Kumar" is like comparing "The English Patient" to "The Naked Gun". Two different genres. Two different levels of enjoyment. If you can't understand that, then...well...nevermind...don't want to appear 'uppity'...

And I have no problem debating anyone. But all you keep doing is re-hashing the same reasons for why you liked "V for Vendetta". I get it. You like the film. You have expressed both your reasonings for liking it and your disagreement over my reasons for disliking it. Over and over. I get it. All I can do, in response, is continue to repeat myself. Why? Because we're talking about an OPINION. If you want to debate technical merit -- fine. If you want to debate the quality of the performances -- fine. But, all you want to do is sit around and talk about the same thing, over and over again. I won't do that. I have better things to do with my time. And -- yes -- THAT was an uppity remark.

Greg Follender #18: Greg Follender - added 05/16/2008, 04:15 PM
You claim to understand and respect other's opinions... yet out of the other side of your mouth you insult me by comparing my mentality to that of a 6-year old... very classy;)

Perhaps the reason that you find yourself repeatedly getting accused of being high handed is because of your verbal delivery... which sometimes comes off as insufferably arrogant. Something to think about anyway...
Most folks don't respond well to having either their intelligence or taste insulted... it could be just me, I suppose... but then again you've had this sort of reaction before, correct? I've tried to be as polite as possible...

As far as repeating myself... I only recall agreeing with a prior poster about the anti-american rhetoric in the film... and then clarifying that response to you in a following post. Everything else was in reaction to what you yourself stated in your rebuttal. I apologize if that seems like over-repetition to you... but I only wanted to be clear. My last large post dealt only with the issue of comic properties converted to film and your prior comments, not V for V directly. Most assuredly, that is not repetition...

We can of course agree to disagree... and I was hoping that you might take that road instead of resorting to insult. I've only tried to be thorough in my explanations... it was never my intention to try and sway your opinion. I just thought that perhaps you'd be a bit more objective if you heard another perspective... silly me.

Regarding my comparison comments about 'Harold and Kumar"... those were just words of jest and apparently a vain attempt at levity... (although I was impressed by your valorous attempt to polish that turd) but I must now admit that after reading your review of that film, I'm surprised at myself for being so shocked by your last response.

I guess perhaps I was wrong about you after all... my bad.
bluemeanie #19: bluemeanie - added 05/16/2008, 06:30 PM
And 'round and 'round we go...

If verbal delivery, sir, is the sign of arrogance then it is you who has been on the assault. If people have a problem with my 'verbal delivery', too bad for them, it would seem. None of my print readers seem to have a problem with it whatsoever. And the only time it becomes a problem is when I am disagreeing with some one elses opinion and they get defensive and feel like they need to trump themselves and go all 'wordy' on my 'superior' ass(go figure). 'If you can't handle the heat (or, in my case, a luke warm steam), then get out of the kitchen'.

Take the high road? Excuse me, Miss Manners. Get over yourself. I'm not having a debate with Prince Charles here.

I guess perhaps I was wrong about you after all... my bad.

I repeat -- get over yourself. My participation in this ridiculous diatribe is now officially ended.

Ginose #20: Ginose - added 05/16/2008, 09:22 PM
Gosh, that was cute.
Greg Follender #21: Greg Follender - added 05/16/2008, 11:50 PM
Do ever even read what you write after you finish a post?

Why can't you just admit that you might have overstepped the line of polite discourse with your insult of my mentality?
I could have agreed to disagree with you and called it even... but now it's suddenly ME who's being arrogant simply because I have a relatively broad vernacular range? It seems to me that perhaps you are the one who "can't handle the heat", Mr. Tough Guy;)

You could have avoided all this with a simple post more thoroughly explaining your opinions minus the condescending attitude, you know!

I'm hardly Miss Manners (or Prince Charles for that matter... ouchie), sir... but you ,my fine friend, are responding to simple debate like a petulant child...
Go ahead, take your toys and go home...

Man, I just wanted a bit of discourse without all this drama... instead I got into verbal sparring match with a drama queen;)
(That's just a JOKE, by the way... don't get all steamed on me, Meanie! I figured I was due at least a playful insult or two after all this...)

I apologize to the rest of the strand for this bit of distraction... I guess I shouldn't have tried so hard to make myself clear to the reviewer at your expense.
Lesson learned, I suppose.

This site is a great resource and I'd hate to mar it's worth with this unintentional misfire...

Whoops!
It's all good folks, carry on!
bluemeanie #22: bluemeanie - added 05/17/2008, 05:52 PM
I will say this -- it is nice to finally engage in some back-and-forth with someone who isn't firing back with blanks. Imagine what you happen if we combined our forces for pure evil...???
Greg Follender #23: Greg Follender - added 05/18/2008, 12:46 AM
Hah... you're alright, man...

Evil, you say?
My God... the terrible havoc we might wreak upon an unsuspecting world...

"The horror... the horror..."
Lucid Dreams #24: Lucid Dreams - added 09/11/2010, 02:46 PM
I find it funny that all the action scenes were on the trailer. This was alright, nothing really special. 6/10
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