Thursday, March 23, 2006

Movie Review: V for Vendetta

"An artist uses lies to tell the truth."

Back in the early eighties Alan Moore created a comic book which now ranks among the classics of the genre. I must confess I haven't read it...yet. While undoubtedly a bit of a nutter, Moore's contribution to the industry is immense - The Killing Joke, Captain Britain, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Ballad of Halo Jones, Watchmen and, of course, V for Vendetta - just a small sample of his immense bibliography. However, if you're looking for his name on the credits of this movie adaptation, you won't find it. Why? Well, Moore is best described as but one in a long line of grumpy old men who are, undoubtedly, a British institution. Whereas most of us would give our right arms to work for Marvel or DC, Moore has vowed to never work with either again - nice to have that kind of luxury. He also refuses to be credited on any movie adaptations of his work, and refuses any money from them. I said...a bit of a nutter, really.

I must confess that I haven't actually read a vast amount of his work...I have the collection of his run on Captain Britain (one of my all-time favourite heroes) and I loved his run on WildCATs. The "classics" however, Killing Joke, Watchmen and V for Vendetta, seem to be fated to be permanently on my "must read" list. Ah well....

So, I can't comment on how faithful an adaptation of the source material this is, all I can do is judge it on its own merits. How does it fair? Well....pretty damn well. Actually, that's an understatement. I think V very well may end up being my movie of the year.

I really don't want to spoil the plot for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, I think the less you know going in, the more impact the film will have on you. Suffice it to say that in the current climate I admire anyone who makes a film where the central character is a terrorist who blows up landmarks in central London...and manages to win us over to his side.

Vendetta is incredibly relevant to the current post 9-11 world we live in. One of the central, and most challenging, question it asks us is, "If our own government were responsible for the worst terrorist attack ever perpetrated on home soil, would we want to know?" I've made no secret of my opinion of who was truly behind 9-11 (and most likely behind 7-7 too) and, personally, I think the world has already answered this question with a resounding, "NO." Casting John Hurt in the role of the Big Brother like Chancellor was a masterstroke, creating in one's mind a direct connection with Orwell's 1984.

Weaving is also masterful as the titular V, and considering he wears a full, static face mask throughout, manages to convey such emotion, such pain, such passion...he deserves an Oscar. Portman is equally perfect (possibly in every way!), and though I've heard grumblings about her accent, it's actually very good and never distracts us from her performance. Stephen Rae and Stephen Fry are also superb in supporting roles.

The visuals are stunning, the script is a masterpiece, the performances are perfect. This film is both thrilling, and chilling too. It resonates so perfectly with our current age. The main complaint/criticism I've seen of this movie is that it actually require you to think. Well, that's no bad thing. This is an ambitious film which leaves you with many questions.

In short, go and see this, it's as close to perfect as films get.

Rating: 10/10

1 comment:

patrick said...

watched V for Vendetta recently, loved it. eye-candy effects, amazing how much character they developed into a mask, then again, maybe he was more than a mask...