V for Vendetta
Joel Silver, Grant Hill, Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski for Virtual Studios, Silver Pictures, DC Comics (Vertigo), Anarchos Productions/Warner Brothers
directed by James McTeige
starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Roger Allam, Ben Miles, Sinéad Cusack, Natasha Wightman, John Standing, Eddie Marsan, Clive Ashborn, Emma Field-Rayner, Ian Burfield, Mark Phoenix, Alister Mazzotti, Billie Cook, Guy Henry, Cosima Shaw, Megan Gay, Roderic Culver, Tara Hacking, Andy Rashleigh, Chad Stahelski, Antje Rau, Amelda Brown, Richard Campbell, Patricia Gannon, Mark Longhurst, Simon Holmes, Charles Cork, John Ringham, Oliver Bradshaw, Jack Schouten, Caoimhe Murdock, Juliet Howland, Brin Rosser, Raife Patrick Burchell, Joseph Rye, Adrian Finighan, Malcolm Sinclair, Radley Steve Ford, Madeleine Rakic-Platt, Carsten Hayes, Derek Hutchinson, Martin Savage, Grant Burgin, Gregory Donaldson, Imogen Poots, Jason Griffiths, Laura Greenwood, Kyra Meyer, Paul Anthony-Barber, Anna Farnsworth, Mary Stockley, Simon Newby
screenplay by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore (writer), David Lloyd (artist), music by Dario Marianelli
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England, the not-too-far future: Evey (Natalie Portman) is saved from a
gangrape by V (Hugo Weaving), a terrorist in a Guy Fawkes-mask, who then
even has the courtesy to let her see his work for the night: the blowing
up of alondon gouvernment building ... Bad news about this is, now
everybody thinks Evey is in league with V, and the totalitarian British
gouvernment, led by asshole Chanellor Adam Suttler (John Hurt),
desperately wants V dead and everybody who helps him too ... and soon
enough they have picked up Evey's trail.
However, before they can capture her, Evey saves V from a cop as a sort
of thank-you, right after V has killed a rightwing TV-presenter. But
unfortunately the cop knocks her out before going down himself, and
suddenly V sees no other choice than to take her with him and imprison her
in his own luxury secret hiding place, just so the police can't capture
her and do something much worse to her, like torture or stuff ...
Evey soon feels drawn to V, even though she doesn's even know what he
looks like under his mask ... but she just can't accept that he keeps on
killing people, all the killings being in equal parts personal vendetta
and cleansing the country of its worst political figures, who were all
involved in a scheme to develop biological weapons and spreading them, and
then put the blame on the liberals, which eventually turned Great Britain
into a totalitarian state.
At the first possibility V gives her, Evey manages to escape from V's
clutches and hides with her friend, TV-comedian Deitrich (Stephen Fry) ...
but unfortunately, Deitrich has filled his latest program with
anti-gouvernment jokes, so one night he is pulled from his home and
executed after the authorities find a Quran with his belongings (not that
he ever was a Muslim, just a collector ...).
Evey tries to escape on her own, but soon enough is caught by the
authorities, thrown into the slammer and tortured to give away the
whereabouts of V. But she refuses to talk ... and when she is threatened
with death, she rather chooses this than become a stool pigeon - which is
when her oppressor turns out not to be the authorities but V, who has just
made the whole prison-situation up to toughen her up ...
Evey is appalled, and leaves V immediately, with him not trying to hold
her back, but she promises not to give him away and visit him once more
before his big finale, the 5th of November - known in England also as Guy
Fawkes Day, which was when Guy Fawkes burned down the parliament ...
and V plans to do the same.
Fast forward to the 5th of November: V has meanwhile managed to play
the Chancellor and his chief advisor Creedy (Tim Pigott-Smith) against
each other - mainly because Creedy is such a powerhungry asshole he will
even use the help of terrorists to get where he wants to - and has managed
to make Creedy hand over the Chancellor to him. At the same time he has
made it a fashion trend in London to wear Guy Fawkes masks to undermine
the efforts of the police to capture him, and he has created civic unrest.
November the 5th is also the day Evey returns to him, as promised, and he
puts it in her hands to drive a subway loaded with explosives beneath the
gouvernment to blow it up, while he has his final showdown with the
Chancellor and Creedy, a showdown none of them survives.
Evey on the other hand not only manages to get the explosives to the
right spot just in time, she even manages to convince Finch (Stephen Rea),
the police inspector who was after her and V for quite some time, that
what she's doing is right and that England needs a new beginning ... and
the end sees the parliament blown to Kingdom Come, with everybody being in
high hopes that something better will follow ...
V for Vendetta the graphic novel by Alan Moore (writer) - who
had his name removed from the film's credits - and David Lloyd (artist) is
brilliant, a complex story that works out the thin line between heroism
and terrorism and a political satire disguised as an action comic. The
film has to be credited in at times following the comic faithfully ... but
at some times following the comic too faithfully - which results in
packing way too many subplots into two hours worth of celluloid - and at
other times just simplifying the comic's complex world to be more in tone
with mainstream audience expectations.
The result is not all bad, at times V for Vendetta (the film)
remains a razorsharp satire ... but it would have worked way better if one
had cut the film by half an hour, thrown away a few of the less important
subplots and concentrated on the main story. The film yould probably still
not have been as good as the comic, but it would have been a better film.