V for Vendetta (2005) Movie Review

details
Title: V for Vendetta.
Universe: Stand-Alone.
Rated: R.
Director: James McTeigue.
Screenplay: Lilly Wachowski & Lana Wachowski.
Release Date: 2005.
Runtime: 132 min.
Genre(s): Action, Drama, Science-Fiction.
Cast: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves, and many more!
Budget: $54,000,000.
Opening Weekend: $25,642,340.
Gross USA: $70,511,035.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10).

thoughts

The government is an entity that is created by humankind to ensure the management of societal needs and resources. To live without one is a reality that has often led to chaos and it is to spare ourselves from this madness that we sacrifice a piece, if not the totality, of our freedom to put forth a government that can assure the safety and progress of its people in the most appropriate way. Unfortunately, it is near impossible to satisfy all without at least one individual presenting a certain form of opposition. After all, there are many ways to reach one’s goals, even if it means putting aside some of our most fundamental rights. Under the oppression of a government that failed to show any form of honesty, Guy Fawkes had become a powerful symbol following his failed gunpowder plot and an inspiration for one fictional anti-hero who many have grown fond of: V.

What is V for Vendetta about? Set in 2032, the United Kingdom prevails under a fascist government where the High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) reigns at the head of the Norsefire Party. On the night of November 4th, a vigilante wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (Hugo Weaving) appears from the darkness of the alleys to save Every Hammond (Natalie Portman) from members of the Fingermen secret police force. As the clock hits midnight, they watch the first steps to his masterplan beautifully unravel before their eyes with the classic 1812 Overture playing in the background. The story thus follows this strange antihero who goes by the name of V as he looks to bring down the police state in which the British people have resigned to live under, and all with the unlikely help of Evey Hammond as she unconventionally discovers something profoundly crucial about herself and her beliefs.

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The movie offers viewers the opportunity to reflect on the intricate relationship that exists between the populace and their government. Ideologically, it reminds us that we are to never to live in fear of whoever sits in a position of power. The reciprocity that is idealized between both entities is what everyone strives for but the instant that there is any form of dissonance, any form of inequality, a rise for action is thus sought. In this story, V is on a mission for vengeance—that sure wasn’t too obvious, was it?—and his objective is entirely oriented towards taking down the oppressive government by opening the eyes of the population. Through his scheming, you are brought to understand that the government might seem untouchable on an individual level but through a collective effort, there’s nothing that a society cannot take down without a little bit of violence. This message isn’t however unanimously approved, unveils you worship libertarianism or anarchy, as violence isn’t always the answer to everything but for the sake of this movie, it is the ultimate means to achieve the desired ends.

Throughout the movie, there is also an important message revolving around ideologies and it is mostly vehiculated through the subplot revolving around Evey Hammond. Similar to what was conveyed by writer Alan Moore in the original graphic novel—check out my review for more on my thoughtsideas are far more powerful than we would believe. Through an idea, it is possible to move a whole population, but to kill an idea, it would take more than just bullets. Evey Hammond’s character starts off as innocent as they could come and slowly learns through adversity that she doesn’t just amount to flesh and bone but a vehicle for ideas to sow in the world if she can surpass the obstacles in her way, especially fear. Although I’m not a huge fan of Natalie Portman and believe that she doesn’t necessarily deliver a very versatile performance—I mean… She mostly cries and feigns ignorance throughout this movie—she does do enough to allow the movie to deliver its plot twists and grand finale with grandeur.

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Where this movie especially succeeds is in Hugo Weaving’s portrayal of V. This isn’t a character that is easy to translate in a live-action adaptation for one reason in particular: the mask. To wear it immediately takes away the habitual emotional depth that is often achieved through various characters as faces allow viewers to identify, relate, and feel the emotions that were meant to be conveyed. But guess what? V’s character still successfully delivers a broad spectrum of emotions throughout the movie. His mannerism allows his character to be charismatic while his plotting allows him to be both enigmatic and astute. However, his body language and his voice are what ultimately brings us to love his performance the most as they give us subtle clues as to his flawed and damaged self. After all, V is a character whose background remains one of the primary mystery of this movie but also explains why he sacrifices himself for a greater good. For, V understands that, despite what he was deprived of in his life, his self is the only thing that he has left to give for freedom.

The movie also delivers some solid cinematography accompanied with a resounding score meticulously chosen with a purpose for the story. While it is essentially a political thriller, there is also a decent dose of action sequences that are well-executed and offer some excitement amidst the ideological warfare. Amongst all the scenes, V’s monologue—how he explains his sobriquet with words starting with ‘V’ is absolutely amazing—and his final battle—which also remains loyal to the ‘V’ theme—remain some of the coolest sequences in my books. I won’t lie that the second half of the movie, following the huge plot twist around Evey Hammond’s, was a huge shift in direction and was overall a bit weaker in terms of storytelling. This is probably the main reason why the graphic novel will always surpass the movie for me but at least it tried to remain loyal to the source material.

V for Vendetta (2005) is a telltale cinematic piece that reminds all society of the death of freedom through the fear of governments and the emancipation of the population through the apotheosis of chaos.


EXHIBITA

V for Vendetta (2005) is based on the DC/Vertigo Comics graphic novel released in 1988 by writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd. However, a new TV series is in development.

Have you read V for Vendetta?
Have you seen V for Vendetta (2005)? Will you? What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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28 comments

    • Hahahaha I can totally understand that. 😛 As long as you understood what you read, then you got all the reasons to think you were hahaha

      My bad, there’s only a TV series that was announced but little information on it for the time being. I’m just glad that an almost 15 year old movie hasn’t yet been rebooted by Hollywood hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  • I watched the movie soon after it came out on dvd. After that I had no desire to read the GN. And then I read Watchmen and realized Moore and I would never agree on some basics. Like what constitutes a good story, hahahaha!

    I had no idea there was a reboot coming out. Doesn’t surprise me though. sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaahh quite unfortunate that you and Moore aren’t seeing eye to eye! I sort love most of his stuff so far. Can’t wait to review Watchmen soon, after I reread it, just to boil your blood a bit. 😛

      Well.. At least the “reboot” is a potential TV series. Sort of like the impending HUGE Lord of the Rings Amazon series that’s about to enter our lives. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Man, everything is getting turned into a tv series now. I thought GoT was doing fantasy fans a service by opening up that venue but now I’m not so sure 😦

        As for amazon, I’m more excited about the Wheel of Time to be honest.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I have to publicly admit I never saw this movie, but your review encouraged – no, compelled – me to watch it as soon as I can because the core theme is a fascinating one, not least because it feels in synch with many present-day issues. Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Better late than never, Maddalena! I hope you’ll enjoy it when you get the chance to. It indeed has some relevant and timely subjects to ponder on, even today. Of course, it’s extreme, but the whole purpose is to ponder on the ideas and what they mean rather than to reproduce what we see unfold here hahah Thank YOU for reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Yes, this is such a powerful story! I enjoy the movie a lot, though I must agree with you on Portman’s performance – not a strong one, unfortunately. But the comic book, and especially the Watchmen, are among my all-time favorites. I love the way Moore expounds on the topics of terrorism, anarchism, liberty and violence. Nothing is black or white – except the graphics 😉 I’m always taken with the final battle scene, it’s absolutely masterful in the way it showcases the power of ideas and the fluid, organic way a mass of people can work together – for good or bad. The ambiguity, ambivalence of that image always gets me 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m super glad to hear that you enjoyed this one too! I do prefer the graphic novel way, way more than the movie but I won’t lie that I’m always moved by the ideas and V in this movie. I’m completely with you on all fronts here. And Watchmen is a masterpiece. I look forward to rereading it and sharing a review for it soon. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m pretty sure I watched the movie but I can’t remember anything about it! 🤔 no idea how it ends or how the characters look 🤔 Maybe it’s time to rewatch it! 😂 Great review, dear Lashaan 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh well, my comment will basically be the same as Caroline’s (how original) 😂 I saw this movie many years ago, but I don’t think I really liked it, though maybe I was a bit too young to properly understand everything… Maybe I’ll need to rewatch it 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  • I actually have this recorded to finally watch, it’ll be interesting to compare it to the graphic novel and based on your review it seems worthwhile (it already scores points for having Natalie Portman in it), great write-up Lashaan – did you ever review Zack Snyder’s Watchmen (have you been watching the HBO series by the way)? Forgive me if you have and we’ve spoken about it, I do have occasional holes in my normally robust memory!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whaaaat! The Great and Mighty Chris Evans hasn’t seen one of the rare DC/Vertigo/WB movies set in his country????? 😀 You should definitely check it out, especially maybe after a reread of the graphic novel if you haven’t read it in a while!

      Absolutely. I saw the movie multiple times in the past year but I never got around to reviewing the movie or the graphic novel because I loved those two so much that I wasn’t sure if I could properly do them justice in a review but the plan is to review them both for December after a reread and rewatch hahaha

      I haven’t started the HBO series though. I’m waiting for it to complete its first season before binging it. Have you? Do you have a positive impression of it? So far I mostly hear positive things of since its release, but bad things about it from purists (I’m not sure but I think Alan Moore thinks of it as an abomination but then again, he was never a fan of any of the adaptations).

      Like

      • Haha, I know – I hadn’t read the graphic novel when the film came out and wanted to do that first before checking the film version…bit it just kind of fell by the wayside.

        Man, the HBO Watchmen is GOOD and it’s clear that the creators love, understand and have nothing but a deep respect for the source material. It’s intelligently done and there’s a lot to chew on, hope you enjoy it as I’m sure you will!

        Liked by 1 person

  • I actually saw this in theaters when it came out. I was terribly young and my dad wanted to see it. I wasn’t a fan, I didn’t get it and left the theater raving. Hahaha. I was never a Portman fan, but she is serviceable here. You make it sound so good though Lashaan! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is pretty cool though! It’s not a movie that’s easy to understand as a kid, sort of like reading 1984 very young. And yes, Portman is not my fave but I won’t lie that she has a couple of good movies under her belt, like Black Swan and Léon! Okay, that’s about all actually! 😂

      Like

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