By Garrick Hollenbeck
April 11, 2006
"V" for vigilante fun
Killing government officials, blowing up national monuments and encouraging civilians to start chaos are not your typical heroic actions. Generally, anyone who did these things would be looked down upon by everyone in the country. Instead “V for Vendetta” uses these actions to start chaos, which is exactly what makes “V”, the mask wearing terrorist, a hero to the people living in an oppressive country.
He uses his terrorist ways to influence an entire country’s future and bring free thought and actions to those in it.
Set in the near future, Britain has been radically altered by a totalitarian government that takes over when the people are most vulnerable and looking for peace and justice. We follow “V” (Hugo Weaving) on his quest to open the peoples’ collective eyes to the tyranny they face, overthrow the government and get his vengeance on the people responsible for his own pain and suffering.
Along the way, V meets Evey (Natalie Portman), a very typical young woman in Britain who works for a television show. She is the first person V unveils his masterful plot to on November 5.
From there, V begins one year of work and preparation for his final showdown on the 5th of that next year in which he plans on blowing up the Parliament in a final act of defiance to set the country he loves free. During that time, V and Evey become closer and Evey slowly uncovers his past, which has led him to this life of vengeance seeking.
The movie was created by the Wachowski Brothers (famed creators of the Matrix trilogy) and based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore. It’s visually stunning, much like “The Matrix.” Many of the same techniques of filming are used, including the “bullet time” filming that has been copied frequently in the past few years. Yet, even though the special effects have been copied to death in recent years, there is nothing dull or familiar about the set pieces and cinematography.
This film has a feel all of its own, and director James McTeigue does a phenomenal job of using the sets of futuristic London to further the story without stealing the show from V or Evey.
Hugo Weaving does a masterful job of bringing V to life, despite never being able to use visible facial expressions throughout the movie. V is a thoughtful and educated vigilante who is easy to connect with – once you get over the initial shock of having a character wearing a grinning mask the entire movie. His speech is of such poetic prose that V’s artful experience will run through in your mind for days.
The political implications of this film, as well as the parallelisms, attempts to draw between the oppressive government in the film and the current U.S. administration. It may rile some and deter others from fully enjoying the beauty of the film. But if you can set political feelings aside and let yourself be drawn into a world where a country desperately needs a hero like V, you will be moved.
The simple beauty of V’s orchestra of destruction could be the salvation of everyone involved.