(For SI Blog readers Boopalan, VJ Cool, KD and others)
No, we wouldn’t go so far as trashing V for Vendetta.
A watchable movie with some interesting dialogs, V for Vendetta (a 2006 film based on the eponymous DC Comics series) raised our hopes a few minutes into the movie that it could well be a classic but, alas, it ended up as no such thing.
What is V for Vendetta about?
Is it, as the title suggests, about personal revenge for brutal treatment in a prison? A screed against totalitarianism? Or a sarcastic rant against America and some of its Western European allies like UK over recent acts like rendition, treatment of Muslims, homosexuals, curtailment of civil liberties and the connivance of a conservative, lying media in cahoots with the government?
We’re not certain and we bet y’all that neither are the film’s makers!
The setting is London, a few decades hence. The country has supposedly been turned into a totalitarian Orwellian state with nightly curfews supposedly for the ‘safety of the people.’
When a young woman Evey working for a large TV network (no, not as anchorwoman but rather in a lowly position) dares to break the curfew and heads out one night she’s quickly accosted by the Fingermen, dreaded state security personnel, who try to rape her. But before the assault can be perpetrated she’s rescued by a masked vigilante V. A favor she returns soon enough but in the bargain ends up losing her freedom.
Soon, V is not only killing other key members associated with Adolf Sutler’s government but by hijacking the public broadcast system and delivering a strong anti-government message aims to destroy the edifice of lies and criminality on which the government is based.
After all, V’s belief, as enunciated in the film, is:
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
Ha ha, that’s easier said than done. Even in democratic governments, such pious sentiments are mere shibboleths. What then to say of a totalitarian government, which will only gather its firepower in response.
And so the silver blade of V’s knives keep flashing and flying until a fiery finale that seemed more like Diwali firecrackers going off rather than a symbolic moment of grand import and a historic time of deliverance for the oppressed masses.
The action scenes are well executed and the movie is certainly not dull or boring.
Sure, we had a few issues with the movie.
Except as a response to V’s attacks and the curfews, we seldom come face to face with the chilling day-to-day effects of the totalitarian regime in the present but only hear (and see in flashback later) about grave misdeeds in the past.
Orwell conveyed more fear in plain text than V for Vendetta depicts in images.
Second, we did not think the relationship between V and Evey was built on a strong, cohesive foundation.
Third, Hugo Weaving acts with a fair degree of panache as the Guy Fawkes masked vigilante V but, alas, the same cannot be said of his principal co-star.
After having seen a bunch of her movies, we’re now concluding that a Harvard education, a Jewish heritage and smartness don’t guarantee good acting chops.
Of course, we’re referring to Natalie Portman, the undeserving recipient of the Best Actress Oscar this year for her overhyped performance in Black Swan, who plays Evey.
Oh, well, nobody ever said life was fair!
While it’s no classic, V for Vendetta is no T for Time Waste either. Watch it but don’t set your expectations too high.
V for Vendetta is available in DVD at Blockbuster (99-cents a day) or Netflix in the U.S.