The Wachowski Brothers Make a Good Movie
V For Vendetta doesn’t reinvent the cinematic wheel. It just tries to be a good movie, which is a good thing. People who try to top themselves usually end up trying too hard. It’s hardly the Wachowski Brothers’ best movie. That would be Bound. But V is an entertaining and meaningful saga.
Beginning with our antihero suiting up, you immediately get pumped by all the swooshing noises of his cape and the clanking of his knives. All the theatrical speeches are poetic (mainly because they come from poems or elegant prose) and V has a soothing voice that makes his blank, masked expression even more fascinating.
His moves are quick and effective. The action is less about balletic choreography than the visceral speed of a skilled attack. In fact, the most interesting assassination he performs is a civil conversation.
The philosophical content is well played. Just asking about the difference between what you think and what you’re expected to think provokes thought for the duration of the scene. The power of symbols made its mark on me, one who usually rejects symbols for fogging up the point. Even the quotes from Faust and Shakespeare are well used.
The political commentary is biting. I don’t think it’s overbearing at all. It’s what the movie is about. If they made a movie about overthrowing a government and didn’t load it with political commentary, I’d be disappointed. Look in the background for a Coalition of the Willing flag. Jon Stewart would be proud. The Benny Hill spoof is hilarious and Catholics will be offended too.
What’s overbearing is the plot. By the middle of the movie, the momentum wanes and I felt myself pulling out of the story. It got to a point where so many characters were explaining the plot, I felt like, “Hey, I get it. I know what’s going on. Let’s move forward.” It’s the Wachowski’s greatest weakness, like the plug pulling scene in The Matrix where Cypher talks for five minutes about a double cross we’ve already understood for the last two reels.
Hugo Weaving gives an awesome performance. Under that mask, you feel exactly what he’s emoting just with his gestures. There’s never a Power Rangers type of head bobbing. It’s all calculated and purposeful. The best parts of the film are the character moments, like his passion for The Count of Monte Cristo or cooking breakfast. More of that in place of the exposition in the middle would have served the film better.
I don’t think knife time any worthwhile successor to bullet time. For one thing, even the fastest knife moves are within human vision. That just felt like they were being too cute. But even with flaws, V for Vendetta is just a good movie.