V for Vendetta
After hearing so much negative buzz about this movie for its supposed glorification of terrorism, I must admit to being slightly bewildered by this attitude toward the film now that I have seen it for myself. I don't recall that the hero of the movie, V (Hugo Weaving), ever targets civilians, and furthermore he fights against a ruthless Nazi-like dictatorship set in the future. The viewer does not want the citizens of this future England to remain enslaved to their government, so V is an exceptionally easy character for whom to root in his struggle to restore freedom throughout the galaxy... or just England for the time being. This was easily one of the best movies I have seen in a while, with its amazing but understated special effects, consistently engaging plot, wonderful acting on all counts, and exceptionally well-written dialogue. While the movie was just over 2 hours long, I was keenly interested in everything that happened for literally every second, which honestly, is really quite rare. There were no stretches of drawn-out dialogue, overextended fight scenes, or elongated musical montages to fill up time. And I still can't think of any huge plot holes.
Evey (Natalie Portman), lives in a dismal future, wherein wars and plagues have killed millions of people worldwide, causing the total collapse of the United States and plunging England into a society that is entirely dominated and controlled by its government. Where the citizens once lived in fear for their lives over a widespread and devastating plague, they now live in fear of their government, which censors everything and seeks to control every aspect of their lives. Evey works for British Telecasting Company (formerly the BBC I assume), and as she is out late one night past curfew, she is attacked and nearly raped by a gang of civilian police. Shockingly, at the last possible second, the masked V shows up and saves her, putting on an impressive display of non-lethal combat. After speaking nonsensically for a minute or two and then having to assure Evey that he is not, in fact, a crazy person, he takes her up to a rooftop where she can watch him blow up an empty government landmark.
While Chancellor Sutler tries to spin the explosion into a "planned emergency demolition," V sets out on a campaign to fire the people up so that they will throw off their repressive government and take back the freedoms they had willingly given up out of fear. V promises that in one year, on the 5th of November, he will blow up the Parliament building, and asks his fellow countrymen to join him outside for the event. During the course of the year, V seeks vengeance upon certain government officials who had tormented him years earlier, while Chief Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea) attempts to unmask the villain/hero before he can deliver on his destructive promise.
What I liked about this movie was that it conveyed a lot of idealistic thoughts on freedom over oppression, as well as the basic comic book fight between good vs evil. Despite a rather awkward introduction to V at the beginning, and once I managed to get over the fact that the mask's lips don't move when V talks, I found his character to be almost ridiculously intriguing. We learn that he has a horrible disfigurement which motivates him to hide behind the Guy Fawkes mask, as well as a haunted past that ultimately drives him to fight against the evils in the world, both tangible and intangible. The acting was simply incredible in this film, and it's amazing the difference between Natalie Portman as Evey and Natalie Portman as Padme/Amidala in Star Wars. The effects were also quite nifty, but not overdone or constantly made to be the entire focus of a scene, which in effect gave the movie a much more realistic feel to it despite some unrealistic acrobatics here and there. There's also a great display of some hilarious British comedy that drastically lightened the mood but also served as a poignant example of the government's stifling oppression.
V for Vendetta was still a fairly dark film, and there are elements of the plot that are shockingly disturbing, one of which is the question of how long it must have taken the filmmakers to set up an elaborate domino design without accidentally knocking them over before it was completed. But aside from that, it's an incredibly interesting story that was beautifully executed. I can't recommend this movie enough, especially for comic book fans, but also for anyone who enjoys deep and elaborate action movies with real meaning behind them. It was exciting and interesting during every second, and you can bet that I'll be in theaters to watch it again this weekend.