Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Frank Review of "V For Vendetta" (2005)

The Short Version? Nutty super-hero & cute chick vs. totalitarian government
What Is It? Action/Political Intrigue
Who's In It? Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt
Should I See It? Maybe.

I caught "V For Vendetta" with some friends when it was first released. I'm not a huge fan of its author, Alan Moore, and changes were certainly made. All told, I think it was about as good as could be expected given the source material. Hugo "Agent Smith" Weaving was far more riveting as "Crazy Guy In Inexpressive Mask" than anyone who's ever played Jason Vorhees. Natalie Portman's English accent was vastly superior to the American accent of her genetic duplicate, Keira Knightly. John Hurt, supposedly ironic as the fascist leader given his role in the film adaptation of "1984," actually turned in the single worst performance of his career. Given the ink slung over the parallels between the movie's vision of Britain's future and Post-9/11 America (the original book riffed on Thatcher's government and pre-Glasnost relations with the U.S.S.R.,) one would think the de facto Emperor of England would be more charismatic in a Bush vein. Instead, he had all the appeal of Hitler, right before he ran off with Eva to the bunker for a Luger breath mint.

What I really liked was the torture sequence, which lifted Moore's monologue for the heroic lesbian prisoner wholesale. It played very well, and its straightforward nature puts shame to Bryan Singer's more subversive, yet mostly toothless, homosexual metaphors in the X-Men movies (and likely "Superman Returns" as well.) The final knife fight was also bitchin', and likely guest directed by Los Bros Wachowski in a flavor missing from the "Matrix" sequels.

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