Comic Book Kingdom
February 1, 2007
V for Vendetta is a 2006 action-thriller film set in London, England in a dystopian near future. The film follows the mysterious V, a freedom fighter seeking to effect sociopolitical change while simultaneously pursuing his own violent personal vendetta. The film is an adaptation of the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. V for Vendetta was directed by James McTeigue and produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers, who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond, Hugo Weaving as V, Stephen Rea as Inspector Finch, and John Hurt as Chancellor Sutler.
The film's release was originally scheduled for Friday, November 4, 2005 (a day before the 400th Guy Fawkes Night), but was delayed; it opened on March 17, 2006, and was generally well-received by critics and audiences alike. Alan Moore, facing his disappointment in both From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, refused to view the film and subsequently distanced himself from it. The filmmakers removed some of the anarchist themes and drug references present in the original story and also updated the political message to be more relevant to a 2006 audience. Due to the politically sensitive content of the film, V for Vendetta attracted much attention from groups on both sides of the political spectrum and has received both great praise and harsh criticism in turn.
The cast and film-makers attended several press conferences that allowed them to address issues surrounding the film, including its authenticity, Alan Moore's reaction to it and its intended political message. The responses given at the conferences made it clear that the film was intended to be a departure from some of Moore's original themes. In the words of Hugo Weaving: "Alan Moore was writing about something which happened some time ago. It was a response to living in Thatcherite England… This is a response to the world in which we live today. So I think that the film and the graphic novel are two separate entities." Regarding the controversial political content in the film the filmmakers have said that the film is intended more to raise questions and add to a dialogue already present in society, rather than provide answers or tell viewers what to think".
The film takes extensive imagery from the infamous 1605 Gunpowder Plot, where a group of Catholic conspirators plotted to destroy the Houses of Parliament in order to spark a revolution in England. The film was originally scheduled for release on the weekend of November 5, 2005, the 400th anniversary of the Plot, with the tag line "Remember, remember the 5th of November", taken from a traditional British rhyme memorialising the event. However, the marketing angle lost much of its value when the release date was pushed back to March 17, 2006. Many have speculated that the delay was due to the London tube bombings on July 7 and 21. The film-makers have denied this, saying that the delays were from the need for more time in order to finish the visual effects production. V for Vendetta had its first major premiere on February 13 at the Berlin Film Festival. It opened for general release on March 17, 2006 in 3,365 theatres in the United States, the United Kingdom and six other countries.