V for Vendetta is the visual equivalent of a political jamboree: The politics aren’t interesting, but the food is tasty.
Hugo Weaving stars opposite Natalie Portman as a masked vigilante storming the streets of fear-induced London spreading the word of a dead radical, Guy Fawkes, a vigilante of his time who attempted to blow up houses of Parliament. The masked vigilante is V, a passionate rebel who intends to finish Guy Fawkes’ explosive campaign and, in doing so, show the world that government should be afraid of the people. Portman plays Evey, who was just an ordinary civilian until V entered the picture. V attempts to recruit Evey, who at first is reluctant to join the cause, but in time finds that the world does in fact need someone like V to set it straight.
V for Vendetta was adapted from the cult graphic novel, which Alan Moore wrote, by the Wachowski brothers. It is a piercing and pushy film with stern viewpoints; and it just so happens to be entertaining. The movie marks the directing debut of James McTeigue, who has worked as an assistant director for the Matrix films. For a first effort, McTeigue has done a commendable job. His methods are showy but not intrusive enough to make the viewer uncomfortable.
The screenplay by the reclusive Wachowski brothers, on the other hand, is edgy and confident, but is sometimes a little too quick to pat itself on the back. Nothing is more irritating than a screenplay that is trying to prove to the viewer how insightful it is; V sometimes crosses that line.
While holding down the fort with enough action and a great pace, there just isn’t anything very surprising about V for Vendetta. Audiences already go into the film knowing what the film is and how it will play out. As an action film, it’s successful because it’s fun and interesting enough to keep all eyes focused on the screen instead of on a watch. As for its political statements, it offers nothing new (wait, dictators are bad?).
Although the insights are limited, V for Vendetta still manages to pack a punch. And considering it’s a March release, that’s all anyone should ask of it.
Danny Gordon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.