Vigorously venturesome with vociferous virtues that verge on being venerable but which verily fall a little short.
V for Vendetta is, in many respects, one of the great films of the 2000’s. However as many things as it does very well, there’s seemingly always something else following it up which I’m not so keen on. Hugo Weaving’s V is fantastic; both his performance and the character himself. He leaps off the screen and is incredibly memorable as a sort of filmic, Count of Monte Cristo–esque dark angel. In addition to him the movie and cast make multiple brave choices in subject matter and performance; perhaps the most obvious being placing a terrorist/freedom fighter, who is targeting a form of Britain, as the film’s hero.
There is a good sense of fun here; V brings a lot of welcome humour to the screen, and there are several little knowing nods to the audience such as John Hurt having played Winston Smith in 1984 now playing a version of Big Brother. This lightness is very much offset by the many sensitive cultural issues which are brought up. Seeing news reports of terrorist attacks in London and deaths at schools is of course all so very sobering, and it’s a credit to the movie that it never comes too close to home as to make the rest of the movie seem flippant. It’s very well balanced, with tragic subjects and exciting action scenes, social commentary and slapstick humour sitting comfortably alongside one another.
There are a couple of romance subplots here; one is vital to the story and themes of the piece, the other is surprisingly throw away and just feels like it’s there because big budget movies normally have romantic plots. It’s disappointing to say the least after witnessing all the daring choices which the film makes. There are also times when Evey (Portman) comes across as very two dimensionally written. I’m aware that this mostly comes from the book, but I by no means accept that as an excuse. Things can be altered from the original source in order to better a character. Also, the combination of Portman’s accent and Evey’s childlike questioning results in her far too often sounding ridiculously naive and that somewhat grates. She gets better as the character matures, but it’s really a little bit too little too late by the time it’s fixed. This isn’t an attack on Portman who doesn’t do a bad job, more an unfortunate combination of her voice and the writing of her character.
So, whilst in my eyes V for Vendetta is not flawless with its bad character writing and the occasional disappointing lapse into formulaic plotting, it is still a pretty special film which you really ought to see if you haven’t already. There are plenty of memorable scenes, two in particular being real highlights, and V himself is a wonderfully vibrant character. If for no other reason, and there are many others I assure you, this film should be celebrated just simply because it was allowed to be made at all. In a world where I flick onto the news and read about countries still imposing restrictions and bans on their populaces, it’s a welcome reminder of how lucky I am to be able to sit down, in England, and watch such a film.
What is the film’s greatest strength? There’s a lot to like here but I’ll go with Hugo Weaving’s V.
Its greatest weakness? The writing of Portman’s character.
Would I see it again? Yes, it’s not perfect but it’s worth multiple watches.
Slash out your thoughts in the comment box below!
Excellent review, that scene when Evey reads the letter gets me everytime.
Cheers man! That scene is a good one, and is of course the romantic subplot that I mention in the review which I think works.
That’s a lot of Vs my friend 🙂
Did someone say V? ;P
Great review. I loved this film, but agree on the whole that it’s far from perfect. Possibly one of the reasons why I liked it so much!
Haha that’s exactly what I thought when I saw your name pop up!
Thank you, that’s fair enough, there’s a lot to love about this film!
It took an absolute age to write I can tell you that!
I bet!! One time I tried to write a review with no Es and I gave up after about an hour….
And one sentence…
Haha no wonder you gave up, that sounds like hell!
Great review. This is one of my favorite movies of all time.
Cheers, I can completely understand why! It’s not as high for me, but I do enjoy it… I just wish I could like Portman’s character more.
I thought it was fairly good when I saw it, but the film is about terrorism, which makes it uncomfortable. It also has heaps of allegory and symbolism that doesn’t really come through that well in the film.
Uncomfortable at times, but I applaud that it creates that!
You mean from the book> I haven’t read that one, I figure it must be worth a read after having read Watchmen though!
Have to agree with you on this one. Some terrific stuff on show but it certainly has its flaws. Great review, Rumsey – in fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s a veritable veneer of voxpopping! 😀
Cheers Chris! Voxpopping? Why you flatter me!
I agree. Definitely not a flawless one, but nonetheless one of my favorite films. I was OBSESSED with it when it came out. I was like 15.
I know a lot of people who rank this as one of their favourite films and who are obsessed with it! I can see why but I don’t quite love it myself.
That’s fine, at least you quite like it. I’m not the biggest fan of Portman’s accent, though
Yeah it’s unfortunate that her accent is so childlike and slightly off.
Great write-up, Rumsey. I love this film, but I agree there are areas where it could’ve been better. I think it has to be up there as a candidate though for the best comic-book/graphic novel movie adaptation.
Cheers! Hmm yes I guess it would be amongst the best, although I am not too knowledgeable when it comes to comic books really. Still, I would place Persepolis pretty high on that adaptation list.
I didn’t think of that one! You’ve outclassed me, Mr Rumsey! And for the last time!
Haha we shall see!
Nice review. This was one of those movies that I had not seen but had heard many people praising. I finally watched it a couple of years ago an I gotta say I was disappointed. I don’t remember what I scored it but it didn’t really work for me.
I know what you mean, it doesn’t quite hit all of its notes as it should for me too. I do however like a lot of things about it, particularly the musical moments!
This film continues to blow me away even after multiple viewings. I agree about Portman but I find her overall maturity works really well in the end