V For Vendetta is a thoroughly entertaining, but fans of the original comic book may be disgruntled.
Whether it’s the loyalists’ feeling of discontent over the treatment of the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, or the politically-charged themes that are raised, it’s quite an understatement to say that V For Vendetta is bound to be one very talked about movie.
In a bleak, dystopian future where England is ruled under an iron fist, a masked man known only as V steps out of the shadows to fight for the freedom of the people, but more specifically for the downfall of the totalitarian government. As we learn more about our mysterious protagonist’s past, we see that V’s goal is not merely anarchy in the UK, but an agenda of vengeance—an elaborate vendetta, if you will.
Not taking into account the source material, V For Vendetta is an immensely entertaining movie. The ideology posed is thought-provoking, and bound to ruffle a few feathers. After all, if taken the wrong way, V can very easily be misconstrued as something of a pro-terrorist film, which is a shame, because this kind of controversy only distracts from the brilliant questions and ideas about the price of freedom that are put forward. The script by the popular Wachowski brothers is certainly less convoluted than the last two Matrix sequels, and is a great mix of action and quieter moments.
First time director James McTeigue doesn’t really display anything particularly outstanding, aside from wonderfully brutal action sequences. V’s final knife fight would have been gorgeous, if not for the blades’ ‘shadowy’ special-effects, which felt like McTeigue was just aping the Wachowskis’ already much-copied style.
Hugo Weaving (The Lord of The Rings) is marvelous as the charismatic, but eccentric, V, completely stealing the show. Natalie Portman (Closer) does a by-the-numbers job for most of the movie as Evey Hammond, V’s unwilling accomplice, but shines in one particular sequence. And it’s that sequence that is sure to receive praise from both fans of the book and the general movie going audience alike. Taken almost exactly from the comics, it chronicles a pivotal time for Evey; it’s grippingly emotional and Portman simply astounds with her performance.
That, however, is about the extent of which the movie stays true to its source material. Much of the comic has been done away with or completely changed, and fans will get the feeling that the film barely even scratches the surface of the complex work that was Moore’s original tale.
Part politically charged philosophical platform, part Hollywood action flick, if you’re coming into this cold, you’re going to really enjoy V For Vendetta. Fans, however, might want to brace themselves for a complete overhaul of the story they’ve come to treasure.