Sunday, November 6, 2011

V for Vendetta


V for Vendetta is one of the most critically acclaimed comic mini-series in history and has gone on to be one of the best selling graphic novels of all time as well. Alan Moore is a visionary and widely considered to be one of the finest writers in the comic industry, contributing such works as Watchmen and Swamp Thing. His writing skills are matched only by the like of Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison. Don't let the movie title fool you, this movie was not written by Moore and a sizable portion of the story has been changed and reconfigured to fit a "Hollywood" retelling of the story. This has it pluses and minuses, and luckily great casting overshadows some of the deficiencies that come up in the plot of the movie.

The plot concerns itself with a fictional future where England has become a police state in the wake of an ever growing global conflict that is not fully explained with the movie but states that the American conflict grew too large to handle. Evey is our main character, played by Natalie Portman, and serves as a lens into the dark world of the movie. V is played by Hugo Weaving and he is our "hero" of the story and I use that term very loosely. V is trying to bring about revolution within the country of England and also destroy anyone who was responsible or involved with him being experimented on in a government research facility. The government strongly resemble that of Hitler's Nazi regime and in clips played during the movie a good amount of parallels can be drawn between the two. There are overt similarities between the two governments and V is trying to bring about anarchy to fight against an ultra-authoritarian government. The movie uses themes of fear, self realization, and social change to drive the plot along at a reasonable clip.

The one thing that has bothered me about this movie is that many people think that V is trying to be a hero or is a hero in their eyes. He is a revolutionary who is worried about his own personal vendetta first and does not care who gets hurt along the way. He blows up government installations without batting an eye and there is no mention of him worrying about collateral damage. I may be reading too much into this but he is more of an "anti-hero" than anything because you have to root for him by default because the people he is trying to bring down are that much worse than he is. He freely does what he thinks is the right course of action no matter who is effected along the way and he is also willing to do whatever he can to get his way. He tortures the main character to rid he of her "fear" but it is really just to get her to fully join his movement. I see how this movie parallels a lot of events that are happening today but there is a substantial difference between being taken out of your home in the middle of the night and tortured to death, and having your rights to hack the PS3 taken away. The movie deals with much more serious issues and themes than the people in today's society who use images from the film fight for. The group Anonymous is infamous for using quotes and imagery from this movie to popularize their movement. This is sad considering the graphic novel does a far superior job than the movie ever could in campaigning for personal rights. I really can't get behind an organization that hacks people's personal information.

The movie as a whole is kind of a mess but it is really ambitious and I have to give the creators credit for that. It is much better to see a movie that tries something overly ambitious and fails instead of a movie that has no ambition at all and has no meaning behind it. This movie really disappointed me because I was a huge fan of the comic series. That is not to say that you will not like it, because you may really enjoy the movie. But to find out why the character of V and the story itself are so influential read the graphic novel simply because it is the only way that you get the entire story. I would give this movie a 6/10, the ideas behind the movie are great but the execution simply wasn't there all the time. Its an enjoyable film, just scale back your expectations if you are a fan of the story the movie is based on.