V For Vendetta
Cast: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Fry
Director: James Mc Teigue
Showing at: E-Square, Inox, Gold Adlabs
PART Orwellian, part every futuristic dystopian nightmare, V For Vendetta takes you forward into a time when the might of the US has crumbled, and England has been taken over by a totalitarian regime.
Masses of finger men, granted powers beyond their stunted imagination, prey upon the citizens expected to live by the rules set out by a bunch of ruthless men, who quell even the hint of a hint of rebellion by extreme, terminal violence.
V is a masked figure who wants to restore England to its old glory and freedom. Like that 17th century patriot Guy Fawkes, and every protester after him, V (Weaving) wants to blow up famous landmarks.
And rescue people like Evey (Portman) from a fate worse than death : after a period of brain-washing, and torture, she comes to embrace V’s point of view.
Produced by the Wachowski Brothers who made the Matrix movies, V For Vendetta plays out like a crackerjack thriller-with-a-brain.
The scenarists have done a superb job of creating an England where everything is dark and forbidden. Gay people are dragged out of bed and shot.
Keeping a copy of the Koran, even as a curio, invites an immediate death sentence. So does a sense of humour.
Asks Evey of her Koran-keeping friend (Fry) who has minutes to live, “Are you Muslim?”. His reply: “No, I am in TV”, is both funny and poignant.
Vendetta, based on a cult graphic novel, does get a bit pretentious when the masked avenger begins spouting speeches, but for the most part McTeigue keeps it nimble and swift. Matrix bad guy Hugo Weaving, who stays hidden behind his mask all through, is brilliant.
Apart from saving England, he also gets to do the slow dance with Ms Portman, who looks as becoming in her shaved head, post-torture, as she does in her ringlets. And say the following matchless line, as he squares up with a dozen goons in a great Matrix -like sequence of whizzing bullets and blazing guns, “Beneath this mask is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof.”
Where else would you get to see the venerable Parliament building in London go up in spectacular flames?