V for Vendetta (2005)
Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by: The Wachowski Brothers, based on the comic written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd
Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Piggott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Roger Allam, Sinéad Cusack, Natasha Wightman, Billie Cook
I don't usually like movies based on comic books. I don't usually like comic books (which is perhaps why I insist on calling them 'comic books' rather than 'graphic novels'. The term 'graphic novel' is a pile of horseshit). I read V for Vendetta around the time the movie came out, and quite enjoyed it. It was so good, in fact, that though the film is inferior, it's still manages to be good in it's own right.
It's about a young woman living in a totalitarian society, who teams with this masked anarchist who calls himself 'V' and apparently really digs Guy Fawkes. He is trying to destroy said totalitarian society, as well as off a bunch of people he has a beef with.
That was a terrible description of the movie, but I'm sure you can find a better one somewhere. Checking out Xenon's review is probably not a bad idea (there's probably a link to his blog around here somewhere. EDIT: his blog either moved or disappeared so nevermind that). It makes a hell of a lot more sense than this is going to.
V actually has a lot in common with the masked killers of many a bad slasher pic. He wears a mask, he kills a group of people, he has a mysterious past and apparently had his face burned off. He wears a black cape and slashes people with knives.
Sure, he's a tad cooler than most of those guys (he has a whole Phantom of the Opera thing going on). Not as cool as he thinks he is, of course. He thinks he's really cool, you can just tell.
And Hugo Weaving was very good. He has a lovely voice. He almost pulled it off. The number one problem I have with V (nevermind his lack of a personality) is that his face does not move. In the book, this is not a problem. Nobody's face moves in the book. But it really bothered me here. Hugo Weaving had to work really hard to convince me he was talking. He moved his hands around and bobbed his head up and down way too much. It was pretty freakish. I think putting a half-mask on him would have been a good idea, but artistically I guess it just wouldn't have done.
Anyway, I didn't think that Natalie Portman was half as sexy as everyone made her out to be (I never do). People went on about how she proved that shaving your head can be sexy. She looked awful, and she was supposed to. Whoever thought she was really hot crawling on the floor and wearing a bag is a real fuckin' perv.
She was pretty good though.
Okay, what else? The visuals were gorgeous. The script was very good (again, the book was so good they were hard pressed to fuck it up). They adapted it to modern issues remarkably well. And it was really heavy on dialogue - V gets some pretty good dialogue... Everything is sick and disturbing enough. The action scenes (like V killing twenty people in a room because he's so cool) were unnecessary. They just reminded me of the slasher thing.
And John Hurt looked like a Bond villain. I kept thinking Bong villain, with his big TV and his room full of minions. The first movie I saw him in was Alien, too, which made for a few good laughs inside my head.
Yeah, it was pretty cool. And the big finale where they blow up Parliament is weirdly satisfying. I don't have anything against Parliament, but for whatever reason watching that building explode was a feel good experience. It really made my day.