The Observotron

I am the omnipotent machine of observation and opinion spewing. All I do and say is right.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Review: V stars for V for Vendetta!

In the near future, most of America has been wiped out by a virus, and Britain is ruled by a totalitarian government that the people have traded their freedom to in exchange for security. We are introduced to the masked Vigilante, V as he rescues a young woman named Evey from corrupt policemen just before he takes her to the rooftops for a good view of him blowing up the Old Bailey. The film then follows the events of the next year during which V carries out his revenge against his past enemies, wins over Evey as a follower, and is tracked by a detective (Stephen Rea) who questions his allegiance to the corrupt government for whom he works. The year is to be concluded with V fulfilling his vow to make another explosive statement against the dictatorship. If you want derivative information like the fact that this is an adaptation written by the Wachowski Brothers of the 1988 graphic novel by Alan Moore or the fact that Moore has dissociated himself from the film or even anything about the significance of the Guy Fawkes mask that V wears then read just about any other V review. You were lucky to get a plot synopsis out of me.

The real strength of this movie is in the character of V himself, who is given life by Hugo Weaving. One might expect a man always concealed in a mask and black cape to be one of few words, but it is quite the opposite here. The most intriguing element is the contradiction between his mysterious visage and his warm and charming manner. He prepares Evey an egg breakfast, shares with her his favorite movie, and answers all of her questions with candor, but all without ever showing us a glimpse of his true appearance. He gets so close while remaining so distant. Seeing a fighter do what he does when he isn’t fighting makes us care more about him when he is fighting.

There have been a lot of people turned off by the terrorism aspect of this film. To those that can only see in black and white and view any violence against a government as sympathizing with Osama Bin Laden, I can only say one thing: V is not a terrorist. According to the definition from terrorism is “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.” Does V commit unlawful and violent acts? Yes. Does he do so in order to coerce or intimidate? No. He does not wish to gain support through fear but quite the opposite. He wants to give the people something to rally behind to break out of their fear of the government. He presents his view to the people and asks them to join him if they agree. V makes no threats against civilians and he never makes any demands of the government. For those of you I have enraged please send your complaints to

Those expecting wall-to-wall action will be disappointed, as the fight sequences serve more as bookends rather than the main course of the film. When there is action though, it is good action and Wachowski-holics will get a nice Matrix-esque sequence at the climax of the film. Now that I have gratuitously mixed my metaphors and coined two terms in one sentence, all that’s left to do is bash Natalie Portman.

Portman goes through the motions as Evey and the relationship between her and V suffers for not having cast a more powerful actress in the role. In her defense she did a great job of convincing me that she was bald. Fans of Natalie, I would be more than happy to debate you on her acting skills. Please send your arguments to

Despite Portman’s taint, V for Vendetta is a thought-provoking, engaging, and entertaining film.

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