"V for Vendetta,” the latest offering from the Wachowski brothers, depicts a dystopian British society on the brink of a revolution. The film provides a good balance between drama, science fiction and action.
Hugo Weaving plays V, a mysterious masked vigilante with a vengeful agenda with the spirit and attire of the historical Guy Fawkes. On the night he begins a yearlong plan to incite civil upheaval, he rescues a young woman named Evey from some dirty cops. Evey, boldly played by Natalie Portman, joins V to watch as bombs and fireworks he set detonate in the city. Authorities link Evey with V’s plot because of her family’s past, and she is forced into hiding with him.
As he carries out each step to undermine the government’s control, police investigator Finch (Stephen Rea) helps uncover V’s motivation is not merely political, but personal revenge as well. Evey consistently questions V’s actions, but she eventually becomes an integral part of them. The shocking and action-packed climax shows that each character’s involvement is no coincidence.
Portman gives a dynamic performance as Evey. She delicately portrays the contrasting feelings she has for V throughout the film, as well as her transition from victim to accomplice to soldier. Her British accent is questionable at times, but not enough to be distracting.
The audience never sees V’s face. Weaving does what he can as the voice behind the mask to ensure V’s madness appears justified. Some of V’s ramblings about revolution, poetry and using words that start with the letter “v” are unintelligible and overdone. His creepy costume is offset by his smooth skills with the knives that are his weapons of choice.
Screenwriters Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, known for writing and directing the Matrix trilogy, seem to have tailored this comic book story from the 1980s into a commentary on the state of world events today. V is dubbed a terrorist against a totalitarian government. He blows up buildings and assassinates who he deems to be evil leaders as he works toward starting a revolution. The Wachowskis blatantly show the government’s use of spin and the media to control people, mimicking familiar real-life personalities. V’s logo is even strikingly similar to the anarchy “A.”
It’s worth the trip to the big screen, but be wary that you might leave the theater with your fist raised and thoughts of revolution stirring inside you.