V for Vendetta

Release Date: March 17, 2006
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Movie of the Day for Saturday, August 20, 2005
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On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
2/47 Amanda Jones A couple of eye-rolling moments, but otherwise fantastic with an even better score.
6/159 David Mumpower Anarchy never sounded so eloquent. V is the most gripping movie icon since The Bride. Warning for Alan Moore fans: resembles the novel in name and tone only.
11/52 Les Winan Who would have thought a guy in a mask could be expressive? Timely social commentary mixed with outstanding filmmaking.
15/76 Dan Krovich Mixes politics and action well.
27/65 Kim Hollis I can understand why Alan Moore isn't happy with the adaptation of his work, but the movie is terrific in its own right nonetheless.
31/68 Michael Bentley A solid movie that refreshingly makes you think - something that is usually missing from big budget fare.

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In the past, the attempted translation of Alan Moore-created characters from book to big screen has been somewhat less than satisfactory. Although From Hell wasn't exactly *awful*, it's not fondly remembered, either. Most comments that came from fans of the graphic novel were negative as well. Next up came League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a troubled production from start to finish. The movie was a mess, the set was contentious, and no real comic book fan could in good conscience endorse the final product. Then came Constantine, based on a character Moore originally created during a run of Swamp Thing. That movie at least got some decent reviews from graphic novel devotees, though it didn't really set the world on fire.

The next effort, however, seems to have a pretty good chance of getting things right. The screenplay is being handled by the Wachowski brothers, whom you *might* just recognize as the guys behind The Matrix. The pair had long been looking to translate the 1982-83 comic series to the big screen, and finally determined that the man to put behind the camera was a guy whom they had trusted as first assistant director on the three Matrix films- James McTeigue. Natalie Portman will portray one of the two primary characters, with Hugo Weaving as the man behind the Guy Fawkes mask.

Guy Fawkes is incredibly significant to the background story of the film, too, which might be less significant for people in North America than it will be for those who hail from Great Britain. Fawkes lived in tense religious times, where those who happened to practice Catholicism were heavily persecuted for their beliefs. In 1605, Fawkes was one of several Roman Catholic conspirators who attempted to assassinate King James I and all the members of Parliament while they were assembled at the House of Lords for the opening session of Parliament that year. Fawkes and his accomplices planted barrels of gunpowder in the cellars of the building, planning to send things up in grand, explosive fashion. The plot was uncovered before it could be carried out, and the celebration of the Guy Fawkes failure is now celebrated each year in England.

The story in V for Vendetta begins on a Guy Fawkes day in an England that is a vision of dystopia. A worldwide war has occurred, and nuclear holocaust was the result. Ignoring for the moment that it's highly unlikely there would be any survivors of such an event (Moore admits as much in his introduction to the graphic novel), society is controlled by a very few men who use their law enforcement capabilities to keep the world under their thumb. Cameras are everywhere, and people except this as just a simple reality. There are also listening devices placed in many places, particularly the homes of government employees. And the denizens of this Brave New England are all lulled to complacency by the constant droning of one Voice, which makes its way by telling them everything is super-duper.

But is it? This whitewashed society exists thanks to people who have been willing to commit genocide to preserve the Caucasian race. There are no Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, or homosexuals in this world. After the war ended, anyone of different skin color, sexual orientation or political belief was arrested and placed in concentration camps. None of them appear to have survived the process.

One person who believes the state of England is very wrong is a man who becomes known only as "V". After blowing up Parliament on Guy Fawkes Day, he sets out to systematically dismantle the political leadership that is oppressing the world and leading his fellow countrymen to a freedom they don't even know exists. From there, we see the story told from varying angles, including V's point of view, his protégé Evey, and certain political and law enforcement personnel. The story is extremely bleak and dark, and in fact is fairly similar to The Matrix in tone if not theme. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for V for Vendetta
Main Cast Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea
Supporting Cast Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinead Cusack
Director James McTeigue
Screenwriter Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Distributor Warner Bros.
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site VForVendetta.com
Rating R
Screen Count 3,365
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