Thursday, March 16, 2006

V for Vendetta

Director: James McTeigue
Screenplay by Andy and Larry Wachowski from the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
Warner Bros.

OK, so this series of graphic novels began in 1982, thereby liberating the source material from being inherently anti-Bush. And while there's nothing wrong with being anti-Bush in the first place, this film arrives after we've seen scores of films from Fahrenheit 9/11 to Bush's Brain to Syriana tackle the "there's something wrong with the world" mantra. Also, much like last year's Munich, it also gets into the heart of terrorism (or violence, or vengeance) and whether it is the proper thing to do if you want change. I've read things like "one of the most subversive studio films in a long time" or "ever" but of course, that doesn't mean that the movie is entertaining. And that's why we would want to see this, right?

It's the near future (in the graphic novel it was 1998, which let me condescend to you here for a minute and make you realize that 1998 is no longer the, it's 2020), the United States is now being referred to as the "former" United States, England is the supreme power again, and they've completely unified church and state. They are led by Adam Sutler (John Hurt), who rules with a fascist fist. It's a white man's world...a white straight man's world. So, revolutionary V (Hugo Weaving) out and about on a November night, saves Evey (Natalie Portman) from certain sexual assault on his way to blowing up a building. V has only just begun, as he takes down corrupt media types and politicians, and Evey will be guilty by association. For the next year, Sutler will bear down hard, using all of his (beyond the law) resources to track the mystery man and Evey down. In the middle of this is investigator Finch (Stephen Rea), who has been a loyal government worker but is about to have his faith shaken.

It's A Tale of Two Cities meets Pink Floyd: The Wall. Politics aside, this movie isn't very well done. It's not terrible, or bad, but it just doesn't have any momentum build. It takes long detours that don't advance the story. McTeigue, directing his first feature, doesn't live up to the presented material. This subject matter would seem ripe for inspiration for a man behind the camera, but most of it is very straightforward "I don't want to screw this up" type of work. Your enjoyment of this may entirely depend on whether you feel the current administrations in America and England haven't gotten enough bashing lately. For action fans just looking for something real badass--you're out of luck.


At 3/16/2006 06:12:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Yeah, because Britain is moving towards a church and state merging. Because the church is so powerful there. Of course...

At 3/16/2006 11:57:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I also keep reading these comparisons to "Clockwork Orange," and I really don't see that in the previews. And since that's one of your favorite films, and you didn't mention it, I'm assuming that's not an accurate account. I plan on seeing this tomorrow; it's definately the most curious I've been about a film so far this year.

At 3/17/2006 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Wow...Clockwork Orange. That's completely inaccurate. That's a lazy critical view. If it's England, and it's violence, it must be a lot like Clockwork.

Thinking more and more about it, I can't even think of one major detail or theme in which this movie could be compared to that one. I will say that there's a scene where I could swear I could see Malcolm McDowell in a crowd. But that's it.


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