Adam Creighton's logo Adam Creighton

I'm Seeing (Subscribe)

Films, television, videos, or other visual media that's currently caught my eye ...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

V for Vendetta

I went to the V for Vendetta regional premiere last night, as part of the SXSW Festival.

I was really nervous about this treatment of Alan Moore's amazing 3 episode comic book series, started in 1981 -- mainly because of what "They" did in the movie treatment of his The Leage of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Not that that film was terrible, per se, but it missed the point of Moore's deep literary writing across his TLEG series, and turned it into a less-than-compelling "me-to" action/monster flick for 2003. I mean, "Alan Moore has led the field in intelligent, politically astute (if slightly paranoid), complex adult comic-book writing since the early 1980s" (

V for Vendetta, however not only didn't suck -- it was amazing.

What happens in V is that in a future London (as imagined in the early 80s) a fascist, totalitarian government reigns, and one person -- donning a Guy Fawkes mask and known only by the moniker "V" -- stands in opposition to the oppression.

What the film is about is so much more.

There will be those that will try to use it as an artistic stick with which to beat the current administration, but those doing so will be doing the material (and the administration) a disservice, and miss the bigger point. The film is not a political or activist film. It's a warning. Or a call to action (which, to me, is different than "activism" in its current incarnation).

It's a rally cry around concepts like what makes Guy Fawkes Night important. It's a warning about your accountability, my accountability, for not letting us become a totalitarian state.

In the original series, "V" is a terrorist, but one who is more about motivating and empowering people to change, rather than single handedly making that change. There is an emphasis on action in the film that's a bit disproportionate to the original series, but it may help it at the box office, and to me doesn't compromise the deeper stuff.

I enjoyed seeing the Brothers Wachowski do something with material other than The Matrix, and with something that's not a 3-film arc. And it's cool to see James McTeigue come to the forefront as a director for the first time, and deliver so solidly.

The cast and acting is phenomenal, with Natalie Portman (Evey) delivering a compelling (and I suspect emotionally demanding) performance. Stephen Rea (Finch) and Stephen Fry (Deitrich) are top-notch.

And Hugo Weaving ("V")? I'm going to go with "masterful" on this one. To pull off the twisted and complex character that is "V", and be engaging -- through a non-moving mask -- is one of the real treats of the film. Man -- Elrond, Agent Smith, and now "V"? Good for him!

The effects and editing are incredibly tight, and they actually pulled off some of the comic book signature moments perfectly -- not an easy thing to do.

There are a couple of minor glitches, but they don't detract from the whole film. There's a jarring continuity/edit problem at one particularly important dramatic moment, and there was one part of the climax I thought had a timing mismatch between two of the elements. Again, not enough to break the film.

So, to summarize -- The film didn't suck, it was really good, and is (arguably) actually important.

"Remember, remember, the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know of no reason,

why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Leave Comments

<< Home

Adam Creighton: Headshot

Powered by Blogger