V for Vendetta

A DVD review from Comic Book Guy.

V for Vendetta.

Having worked in a comic book store (in the 80’s, when V was originally published), I have a soft spot for any comic adaptation that makes it to the big screen. Some, like V, translate well. Even if you missed the comics and the film, you know this story well: Oppressive totalitarian regime targets Muslims, homosexuals and other “undesirables” for elimination in the name of unity and faith. Said regime sacrifices its own to consolidate its powerbase. No, it’s not the Bush Administration—this is fiction. Set in the not too distant future, one man (?) sets about to undo a corrupt totalitarian state. With this backdrop, you’d expect the film has a lot to work with—and it does: individual vs. collective rights, truth and propaganda, the loss of freedom in the name of state security; terrorism; religious and cultural pluralism; the nature of freedom and the power of ideas. The list could go on and on (and it does at an sluggardly 2 and half hours). Despite this wealth of material, the movie only scratches the surface. Maybe it’s too much for a movie based on a comic book. This is not the Fantastic Four but somehow, it lacks the gravity you’d expect from the material. Maybe it’s the guy in the mask. Maybe it’s because it’s based on a comic book.

The combat sequence special effects would be awesome if the Wachowski brothers hadn’t already Matrixed us to death. Solid acting (except for the guy in the mask—and I’ll cut him some slack). Natalie Portman (Black Swan) is great. John Hurt relives his days from 1984.

Interesting, yes; but since the end of the cold war, Orwellian fare leaves me, well, cold. Even so, worth seeing, primarily because of what drives the action: principles worth fighting for. Judgment: B.

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