a critiQal film review V For Vendetta (2006)

Plot: In a future totalitarian Britain, Evey (Portman) is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man known only as ā€œVā€ (Weaving), who ignites a revolution. As Evey uncovers the truth about Vā€™s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself ā€“ and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.

Reviewed
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  • ...with Portman and Weaving giving it their all, the film is able to survive a couple of rather wordy speeches and keep going strong

After the impressive The Matrix (1999) series, the Wachowski brothers became directors to watch. Now, as screenwriters, they’ve unleashed a new film on the public: V for Vendetta. With a decent cast that includes Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, it looked to be worth seeing. But, after so long working with The Matrix (1999), would the Wachowski brothers be able to adapt a comic to present a different – yet equally powerful – vision of the future, or was The Matrix (1999) their one hurrah?

Natalie Portman has become a huge star as of late. After her amazing feature film debut in The Professional (1994), all eyes were upon her…until she jumped wholeheartedly into the realm of chick flicks. Recently, she has returned to the view of action fans in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), and now in V For Vendetta.

Shaving her head and sinking her teeth into the role in V for Vendetta, she reminds viewers why she won so much acclaim for The Professional (1994). When she wants to, she can command the viewer’s attention, yet seem oblivious to it. She convincingly manages to turn from complete and utter innocent to freedom fighter in the film, and does so with a grace and style far exceeding her years. She is the main character, and rightly so, as she owns each and every scene she’s in.

Hugo Weaving, fresh off of his impressive mainstream introductions in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Matrix (1999) trilogies, hides his face in V for Vendetta behind a rather evil-looking Guy Fawkes mask…yet manages to convey all the acting prowess that helped make both trilogies such worldwide sensations. He’s an impressive actor, as most would flounder behind an expressionless mask. But Hugh manages to step up his game, creating a worthwhile and intriguing persona without a face. This level of acting shows that Hugo can compete with the best of ’em, and he is definitely one to watch, as his career will undoubtedly continue to skyrocket.

The Wachowski brothers know how to make movies worth watching. While their The Matrix (1999) films may have run out of steam before the conclusion, the Wachowski brothers are able to craft stories with depth and originality that few others can match. V for Vendetta is no exception. As in The Matrix (1999), V for Vendetta presents the viewer with another bleak depiction of the future. With America reduced to beggars and Britain under totalitarian regime, hope seems all but lost. Then a hero and a mentor enters the picture, and hope flares anew. It’s a great formula, as it gives the viewer the bad and lets them cope with that a bit, before bring a ray of light into the scene – making that light seem much brighter, and much more welcoming.

Unfortunately, the brothers are rather wordy, and V for Vendetta loses a bit of it’s punch as V lectures on and on, mostly about politics. Thankfully, the intensity of the film is such that it is able to survive a couple of speeches and keep going.

V for Vendetta, with it’s wordiness and rather bleak future, could have come out rather poorly if it were not for the amazing performances of it’s two main stars.

With Portman and Weaving giving it their all, V for Vendetta marks an impressive directorial debut for James McTeigue…and hope that The Wachowski brothers aren’t used up quite yet.

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