I’m still absorbing this movie. It’s been a couple days since I’ve seen it, but it’s still sinking in. It was beautiful, stylish, intellectual, satirical and angry. It was hardly the action flick that the previews and advertising leads you to believe, but how many would go see it if it was billed as a political commentary? Yeah. I noticed something similar about the marketing of Jarhead. That movie was about how boring war is, but that message doesn’t necessarily translate well into ticket sales, so it’s marketed as a “Yee-haw! Let’s blow shit up!” movie.
V for Vendetta is set in England in 2015, after a “terrorist attack” that led to the rise of ultra-conservatism and totalitarianism. The new fascist government bolsters itself by keeping its citizens in a state of constant paranoia. The masked character “V” (Hugo Weaving) starts a campaign of violence against the government to inspire the people to rise up and defend their rights. At the same time, his chance meeting with Evey (Natalie Portman) leads to liberation on a more personal level for both of them.
Weaving was brilliant as V. He’s always been fun to watch, as Mr. Smith in “that other Wachowski brothers film,” The Matrix, and Elrond in The Lord of the Rings. As V, he conveyed power and passion through his voice and physicality, despite being hidden behind a rigid Guy Fawkes mask for the entire film. Natalie Portman showed that when freed from the crippling chains of a Star Wars script, she can, in fact, act. Her performance was emotional and often heartbreaking.
Throughout V for Vendetta, the audience was mostly silent. I had a hard time judging the mood of the audience. At the end, people mostly just got up and quietly walked out. I really hope people “get” what this movie is saying. To me, it clearly mirrors what’s been happening in America in the last few years, and it’s a warning about what will happen if we let go of our individual freedoms, for whatever reason.
I need to see it again.