V for Vendetta (2005)

If you’re expecting an average comic book adaptation from “V for Vendetta”, then you’re out of luck. McTeigue’s film is both an excellent action film, and a brutally intelligent political thriller fixed to the modern socio-economic and political currents with biting satire, and an almost demented subtle commentary that only those in touch with the current political events can and will catch on towards; suffice it to say “V for Vendetta” is far from your typical superhero actioner. Set in a semi-Orwellian society, the Wachowski’s altered the eighties era story Moore set to the political current in his home country to coincide with America’s direction and its current tide of terrorism; Moore’s hero V is a pure terrorist, by many definitions, but this hero is also a freedom fighter.

He’s a man who watches his society filled with sanitation, censorship, and a viciously totalitarian leader who vows to kill everyone and anyone different from his perception of normal. Thus homosexuals and minorities are shipped off to concentration camps and murdered with a whisper. “V for Vendetta” is an utterly ambitious and grandiose action thriller that fifty percent pure intelligence, and fifty percent sleek action with a main character who is so unsettling he makes the audience uneasy. V is a hero, there’s no doubt about that, but he’s also extremely dangerous, even to his accomplice Evey, and you always get a sense of unease when he’s on-screen, mostly due to his mask of Guy Fawkes, but partially due to the fact that he’s never revealed in terms of facial features and or origin.

The writers thankfully keep V more as an allegory for ideologies and rebellion, and only show his mask and the morbid slits of his eyes. Not many actors are humble enough to take a role that doesn’t require their face to be shown these days. You have to really credit Hugo Weaving for pulling in a strong performance, helping to carry the film over his back, and never really reveal his face. That’s because V is an excellent character, and he approaches his journey with both the madness reflective of the Phantom of the Opera, and the swashbuckling style of contemporaries like The Scarlet Pimpernel. But most of all, the film bears a demented quality present through the political overtones of the world V lives in and the world we live in.

The freedom fighters are called the terrorists, the terrorists are their government, and there’s even a Bill O’Reilly sort of Anarchist everyone listens to on the television. “A mere blowing up of a building can change the world,” V explains. “Every time the world changes it changes for the worst,” Evey replies. Subtle shades of the post-9/11 world that’s explored through V. McTeigue’s wonderful direction is complimented by the talents of its all-star cast of people like John Hurt, Stephen Rea, and Natalie Portman who holds her own well against the character of V and never fails to be an interesting character. Though it is basically another comic book adaptation, it isn’t your typical adaptation as it bears a story, characterization, and intellect choosing to examine political currents both in its stories context and in our current context. With excellent performances, and sleek direction “V for Vendetta” is worth a viewing.