Overlooked Film of the Week-#30
V For Vendetta
Remember, Remember the 5th of November. The Gunpowder Treason and plot. I know of no reason, why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes has become a folk hero in the history and culture of Great Britain. He is also the source of inspiration for our hero in "V For Vendetta," a film based upon a graphic novel by Alan Moore. The film depicts a sorrowful look at our future. The United States has been ravaged by a second civil war and an unknown plague and Great Britain has become a totalitarian state to protect its citizens. A British citizen named Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), is walking to a friends after curfew. She is detained by "fingermen," the new name for Britain's secret police force, who plan to rape her. She is saved by a mysterious man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. The man calls himself V, and blows up the Old Bailey before taking Evey home.
What Evey thought of as a nightmare actually turns into something worse. V begins to take over all of Britain's television stations and pretty much declares war on Britain's new political platform. A crazy altercation puts Evey in the care of V, whom he plans to make his culprit. All the while Detective Eric Finch (Stephen Rea) is hot on V's trail. Although both Evey and Finch both begin to realize that this government has more skeletons in its closet that they both could have expected and V wants everyone to learn the truth.
People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.
V is a hypnotic creation, a crazy anarchist brought to firm live by Hugo Weaving. I was amazed at how much emotion Weaving could generate from a character we never once see. Acting through a mask probably wasn't the easiest thing to do, but Weaving made it all matter and more. When we think of killing people and destroying monuments, we quickly jump to the thought of terrorism. As the film plays, we learn how V became the person he was, his actions are completely justifiable and I give the filmmakers credit for creating an antihero the audience could really cheer for.
Even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.
There is a reason why Natalie Portman recently won an Oscar, I think with the right script and direction, she's a terrific actress. First of all, Portman used an incredibly believable British accent for this film. Sometimes when American actors, even the very best of them, use accents they fail. But Portman created an accent that really worked. This is also some of the most brutally emotional acting Portman has ever done, and she dives into it gracefully. Consider a scene when Evey is captured by fingermen and brought to a prison. Her head is shaved and she is tortured for an unknown amount of time, however what keeps her alive is a story she read from a former resident. As Evey reads this persons story, she learns that even though the world has gone dark, there is still stuff to love. Its a moment that punches me right in the heart every time I watch the film, and Portman sells every minute of it.
The film is filled with big action which is all well-staged. There are plenty of moments which will force the audience to get up and cheer. Many fans of the original graphic novel have detested the film because its nothing like the graphic novel, well I never read all of the graphic novel. But I can attest that the novel and film are both very different. Yes, the film is more of a reaction to American politics rather than British, but the film works anyway. The parallels the film draws are clever and shocking, and its hard not to be affected by them. Other than Portman and Weaving, all the other acting is extravagant. Rae does fabulous work, and John Hurt's High Chancellor Adam Sutler is greasy, grimy villain and relishes every scene.
Despite big action and political overtones, the film also strives to create an emotional journey for its characters. All I can say is mission accomplished. I mentioned already a big scene above, but there is still plenty. We really learn what is at stake for the characters, we learn why everything that happens matters. We get a detailed look at how this future got so messed up, tangled in unlawful politics. Its a highly imaginative film and that's what I love about it.
I am an idea and ideas are bulletproof.
So on this November the 5th, if you are wondering what to watch, here's a film that blends comic book, action, politics and raw emotion all in one big film. I hope you love every minute of it as much as I did.