Imagine an alternate future where the government listens to our private conversations, lies to us through the media, poisons us in the name of science, and hates homosexuals. Almost too eerie to even imagine, huh? Now picture this America-esque future set in the UK with tea time and fancy accents. Mind-altering, isn't it?
'V' For Vendetta is based on a DC Comic that, when transferred to film, plays like almost all comics-to-film as Batman Lite. 'V' isn't a bad movie, but it will seem horrendous if you are a fan of the comic. Natalie Portman plays Evey - a woman who doesn't really know what she wants aside from eating, shitting and surviving - kinda like all of Portman's characters. However, Portman's accent has come a long way since Star Wars. Hugo Weaving (Mr. Smith in the Matrix trilogy) plays the masked V who saves Evey one night when she's out past curfew and some cops try to have their way with her. From there, V invites the curly-haired, doe-eyed Evey to join him in ringside seats as his first act of terrorism plays out. The next day Evey returns to her ho-hum life, schlepping for the yuppies of British television. V shows up with bombs strapped to his torso and forces his own DVD (what, they don't have anything smaller in the future?) on the air. Like a deranged puppet, he informs the television viewers that in one year - November the Fifth - they are to band together against their evil government as V blows up the Parliament Building. You can tell the people are into it - they're so bored with reruns and early curfew that they'll even follow a crazed giant puppet in bad wig and steel mask. Making his getaway, V is caught by an ambitious policeman, and that's when Evey and her mace intervene. The bobby knocks her out, but V carries Evey off to his psycho lair, complete with jukebox that plays the current Top 40s. He tells Evey over breakfast that she can't leave his home for a year - they'll be looking for her. Like Beauty and The Beast, Evey throws herself about in angst, then falls for the eccentric terrorist. But these two won't need a singing teapot to get their blood boiling!
The badly-burned, government-experiment-gone-awry, V, goes on a killing rampage of Britain's top evil-doers. His calling card: an extinct rose and a pile of colorful vomit. Hot on V's tracks, is detective Stephen Rea (interestingly, the puker from The Crying Game.) Evey relates to V with her tale of political activist parents and poisoned brother - all dead thanks to the Nazi-esque goverment. Evey escapes V only to be captured by the true bad guys. In a very basic torture-montage, we watch Evey whimper as they shave her head, bawl as she's sprayed down in the shower, and head-dunked in water as faceless government officials repeatedly ask, "Where is he?" I keep thinking of Natalie Portman's breakout role of Anne Frank on Broadway - which may be a big reason they cast her as this character. Her torture doesn't seem so bad until they throw a dish of what appears to be dogfood into her cell and a rat appears to eat some of it. Rats and dogfood?! This poor bald girl! Evey finds a rolled up letter written on really stiff toilet paper by a dead lesbian and the movie gets totally L-A-M-E! It's too late in the game to give us new characters to form attachments to through flashbacks, but it is a nice distraction from the rats and dogfood. (I'm going to give away a crazy-ass surprise - don't read if you really wanna see this 2 hour and 20 minute blah-fest!) Evey kinda-sorta escapes only to stumble into V's living room - mere feet from her cell! V stands over his jukebox playing "Cry Me A River" (the nerve of some guys) and looking, well... Perplexed? I don't know, he's still wearing that damn mask. Evey is pissed, and rightfully so. V says he wanted to take away her fear and it seems he has. Angry Evey leaves V and makes a new life for herself with cinderblock bookcases and no hair, drawing a fine line between "fearless" and "starving college kid." She returns much later, as V requested, and stands over his jukebox - a popular stance among the fearless and disfigured. V stumbles upon her, seemingly surprised (maybe wondering how Sinead O'Connor got into his Batcave) and babbles, "You look well!"
It helps that she's not wearing a bra. Evey thanks him for taking away her fear (and hair?) And then she helps him blow more stuff up.
Read the comic, spare yourself the film. The theme is already quite exhausted: "People should not be afraid of their government - governments should be afraid of their people." The media is trying to control us with fear. Hitler was bad. DUH! Between Michael Moore and Spielberg's Schindler's List, I think these themes are quite exhausted. I appreciate a nice political what-if film, especially as our country suffocates on the urge to impeach our own little Hitler, but it's tough to take anyone seriously when they live in a freaky mask and wig, watching Count of Monte Cristo over and over. In England 'V' might stand for Vendetta, but over here 'W' is still Wrong.
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