Saturday, 21 April 2012

V for Vendetta (2006)

Watched this for the first time last night. I was pretty apprehensive, after certain parts of the internet’s love affair with the film//source material and the main character. I wasn't left disappointed, but it was a bit muddled at times.

At face value, it works really well as a film. The acting is great throughout: Hugo Weaving pulls off the silver tongue of the title character very well, even if the script does make him sound like one of those slightly autistic kids who tries to act all gentlemanly and is overly verbose for no good reason. I might just be projecting what that goddamn mask means to me when I see it now onto the character a bit there though. I was pleasantly surprised to see Stephen Fry appear, as I had no idea he was in it, and I really liked his character. Although you can hardly praise his acting as he is essentially playing himself in an alternate universe. Natalie Portman does seem a bit stale throughout though, and it's hard to tell at times where that ends with the character and begins with the actress.

The imagery and themes of the film are something that I take a bit of an issue with. I thoroughly enjoyed the film but a lot of the design seems a bit heavy handed, something I reckon is a hangover from the source material. The Nazi theme that runs throughout the design of the ruling party and its associates is just too in your face. It's easy enough to point out that these are the bad guys with the fact that they install nationwide curfews and feed the media constant lies without dressing up main characters like storm troopers and calling the elected-as-a-saviour-in-a-time-of-crisis national leader "Chancellor".

On the flip side, there was very little attention paid to the fact that V himself, with all his good intentions, a terrorist in the worst way. He sets up buildings full of innocent people to die (the TV studio) and uses barbaric, cult-like brainwashing to convince Evey to assist him. The movement isn't fuelled by a dissatisfaction with the state of the government but, oddly enough, a personal vendetta, everything else is just a pawn in his game to kill those who hurt him. It's all glossed over with one line about "equal and opposite reactions", and not referred to in dialogue again particularly, sure it's implied, but not strongly enough I think. What I took away from the film was that both sides in this are pretty terrible in their own ways, but I think I only got that because I'd heard over and over again how powerful the political message in the film is.

I did enjoy it though, a lot of the little touches were really telling of the fact that a lot of work had gone into the production, specifically with bringing it up to date from the source (published in '89, I think). Just little things like avian flu popping up on the news as one of the big scares.

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