In a fascist Great Britain, the freedom fighter known simply as “V” (Hugo Weaving) plans to bring down the oppressive High Chancellor (John Hurt) and return the power to the people. But when Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) unexpectedly gets involved, V must determine if she is an asset, or a liability.
Several years ago, I started an annual tradition of watching V for Vendetta on November 5th. It is based off of a graphic novel of the same name, written by Alan Moore in the 1980s. The graphic novel is amazing (if you haven’t read it, check it out), but the movie updates V for Vendetta‘s themes for a more modern audience, but the central message remains the same. Very rarely do I think movie adaptations are better than their source material. But in this case, V for Vendetta delivers everything the graphic novel does and more.
Action sequences don’t happen very frequently in this movie, but when they do, they are intense. If you liked the action from The Matrix trilogy, the Wachowski brother’s project directly before working this film, then you will enjoy it here as well. The last fight between V and Creedy’s soldiers took a page out of those films. It even has got “bullet time,” this time with knives included!
Despite never seeing his face, Hugo Weaving does fantastic as V. He strongly delivers his lines, particularly on the more serious ones. And his monologue? Perfectly executed. Natalie Portman does quite well as Evey. Some of her best scenes are when she gets kidnapped and her captors interrogate her. To see her transform as her character transform is remarkable.
One of my favorite things about V for Vendetta is its pacing and how the characters are developed throughout the film, particularly V. We aren’t given all his history at once. Instead we are given bits and pieces that are finally brought together in narrated journal entries. Same goes for the rise of the of the High Chancellor. It is an excellent method to not dump all the information at once, but still keep the audience engaged.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into them, but V for Vendetta has several thought provoking ideas that are worth your attention. Some of which include what the relationship between a government and its people should be, and the power of an idea. Definitely what makes this movie one for me is its ability to present its messages in an entertaining way without becoming preachy.
The filmmakers did everything right in V for Vendetta: intense action sequences, good characterization, great story pacing, and it does an outstanding job of getting its message across. This is a very in-depth movie, but also can be viewed just for entertainment. Watching it every year is a tradition I plan on keeping for a long time.