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Mar 29, 2006
 V for Vendetta
 by The Blonde and The Maven

This action-packed, near futuristic drama was originally written as a graphic novel by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd. The Wachowski brothers (Matrix 3) updated the story and their assistant director on the Matrix movies, James McTeigue, was hired to direct V for Vendetta. The original writer, Alan Moore (From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) has distanced himself from this film version of his novel, as he did for his previous two. The movie was set to open In November 2005, in London, to coincide with the anniversary of Guy Fawkes arrest, but due to the attacks on the London Underground that spring, the opening was delayed.

The story takes place in the near future, around the year 2020. Britain is under a totalitarian regime that rules through fear of terrorist attacks and the threat of man made plagues. Adam Sutler, played by John Hurt (Alien and The Skeleton Key), snatched power ten years earlier amid chaos. With his rule there is constant government surveillance, social conformity, no degenerate art, no immoral books or movies, censored news and curfews. All political dissidents, and anyone else that seems a threat to the government, is arrested and sent to internment camps for medical experiments.

We are introduced to the main character, Evey, played by Natalie Portman (Garden State and Closer) who is late for a date and is about to run the curfew. She is intercepted by some bully policemen who are set to accost her. Evey is rescued by a man in a mask who is quite proficient with knives and defense in general. The mask is a likeness to Guy Fawkes, who in 1605 tried and failed to blow up Parliament. The masked man is called “V” and while quoting Shakespeare, he whisks her away to watch the fireworks he creates when he blows up the Old Bailey (Big Ben). The next day he shows up at the government-run television station (where Evey works), takes over the airwaves and asks the nation to join him in a year’s time when he will complete Guy Fawkes mission and destroy Parliament. He wants to inspire the people to take back their freedom. Of course the government is not idle during his telecast and tries to capture “V.” In the scuffle, Evey saves “V” and unwittingly sets herself on course as his accomplice. Trailing Evey in order to stop “V” is detective Finch, played by Stephen Rea (The Musketeer and The Crying Game). During his investigation, we see that he is not enamored with the government. The only friend Evey has is the star of a television show for the station she works for who is a closet gay man. Deitrich is played by Stephen Fry (Gosford Park and Wilde) and, in the funniest scene in the movie, he uses the comedy of sketch humor to poke fun at Adam Sutler. He thinks he will get a pat on the hand for changing the script, but he receives much more than that. Meanwhile “V” has been busy taking out a few key government figures that were once all working at the same internment camp.

The question that the film poses is weather “V” is a terrorist, a freedom fighter or a vengeance seeking psychotic? Are his actions a justifiable response to government repression? Most importantly, will George W. see this film?

The Maven: Wow! Was that movie loaded or what? The Wachowski brothers did a great job of updating the politics of the story. Too bad Alan Moore didnt agree. On the heels of Supreme Court Justice Sandra day OConner warning of the "beginnings" of a dictatorship, the Patriot Act and all its ramifications, terrorist acts with suicide bombers and chemical warfare, where are we headed? What price are we willing to pay by giving up freedom to feel safe? Most of all, how did Natalie Portman look so good with her head shaved? That trend alone could send the hair salons and their products on a whirlwind of destruction. We should not sit still for this!
The Blonde: I also say wow! What a truly terrific film this was. I was totally taken back and quite pleasantly surprised. V for Vendetta was A LOT like Phantom of the Opera meets Clockwork Orange meets 1984 meets Zorro meets The Legend of Billie Jean meets present days karma, cover-ups and conspiracies meets ALL THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS of today from chemical weapons to the bird flu to the environment issues meets The Count of Monte Cristo, who all meet up with the Beauty and the Beast. THIS FILM WAS SENSTATIONAL! The character “V” was the scapegoat and the accused evil-doer. I wonder if that is the same in reality as far as Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein is concerned? This fictional film might indeed have more truths and reality than fiction. This story makes you think, it will make you angry and it makes you question everything we have been told. I WONDER if this film should be a warning to us all as it might be a look into our future. WHATEVER, it is an eye-opener for sure!

The Maven: All kidding aside, Natalie did a terrific job of transforming from wide-eyed waif to a Joan of Arc persona. Her performance was inspiring. It is hard to compliment Hugo Weaving, as “V” as he was masked the whole time. His voice was very convincing and his movements were precise, but there is no category for masked actors. John Hurt, on the other hand, was convincing as a despot. How ‘deja-vu’ of him! Remember, he was Winston Smith in a version of Orwells 1984.
The Blonde: I too love Natalie and felt this was her finest hour; HOWEVER, I did not respect her English accent. It was not authentic in the least. I did eventually find myself getting over it and come to appreciate her fine acting performance. She was moving, believable and brilliant. YOU KNOW SOMEONE IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL when they look gorgeous with no makeup and no hair. I thought “V,” played by Hugo Weaving, was fantastic as well. He was wearing a mask the entire film, but his acting was so stellar that the mask seemed to change as it took on his words even though in realty it didn’t. The ruler (Adam Sutler) played by John Hurt made me feel angry and filled with contempt, like many of our leaders today do! However, HE was at least intelligent. SPEAKING OF SCARY, I CANNNOT believe that Natalie really shaved her hair for this film. That MORE than makes up for the bad accent!
The Maven: WELL, look at Charlize in Monster … Look at Tom Hanks in Castaway… DeNiro in Raging Bull and let us not forget Renee in Bridget Jones’ Diary. We have a new breed of actors that will ugly themselves up for their roles. They have the courage that the past actors didn’t seem to have.
The Blonde: SO, speaking of ugly up, what is up with the fight between Jessica Simpson and President Bush? I guess she just got tired of fighting with her soon to be ex hubby Nick. Was she hitting on the president? Rock stars aren’t good enough for her now.
The Maven: As usual, you don’t have your information right. She is NOT fighting with the president.
The Blonde: OH, don’t tell me she is sleeping with him!
The Maven: WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE INSIDE YOUR HEAD? It must be a very confused and scary place beneath all of that BLONDE hair.
The Blonde: WHAT? I don’t get it?
The Maven: WE know you don’t! About Jessica, and listen carefully… She’s in Washington as a spokesperson for Operation Smile. The president’s staff invited her to a Republican congressional fundraiser, which she declined as she didn’t want to take attention away from Operation Smile. The Washington press reported that she snubbed the president.
The Blonde: So she snuggled the president, which means they are having an affair! Hence, the true reasons why the CIA AND the Secret Service are calling it Operation Smile. I KNEW IT! I am just so sick of these sexual cover-ups in the White House… DO YOU THINK poor LAURA AND THE TWINS KNOW?
The Maven: I would love to play the game “telephone” with you. I think you would be a hoot. Speaking of a hoot, what about the censorship in the movie where the state controls the news on television? Do you see a connection with Comedy Central pulling a “South Park” episode that poked fun at Scientology?
The Blonde: You are being so nice to omit that it was Tom Cruise who pulled rank and demanded it. Man, it is quite sad that the first amendment can now be controlled by other people’s views if you are rich and famous enough. The funny thing is he did “South Park” a favor because people will now want to see it more and just go out and buy the video.
The Maven: After your previous statement, this one was so concise. Wait, did you just take a sip of your Starbucks?
The Blonde: I don’t get it? WHAT?
The Maven: Drink some more. It might help you understand. In fact, just pore some on your head.
The Blonde: Okay… now what? And that hurt! Anyway, maybe Cruise wants to join the ranks with Mel Gibson and make his own moral statements and personal beliefs more important than Americans’ right to freedom of speech. Hold on, I need to get a towel to dry off the coffee.
The Maven: NO, leave it there. It didn’t seep in all the way yet and it looks nice on you.
The Blonde: Really! For real? You never compliment me. AWWWWWW! You want some on your head, too? You are so precious to me. I love you!
The Maven: Perfect… it has seeped in now! In closing…. A successful movie makes you think about it long after you’ve left the theater. Although this film probably won’t be high on the Oscar nomination list for next year, I still recommend seeing it. It certainly won’t bore you and the acting is good. Visually, the cinematographer (Adrian Biddle, who died shortly after completing the film) played with light and shadow in ways that provide depth to the scenes. The musical track is great and diverse enough to please many (accept hip/hop). I rate V for Vendetta an A for aiming an arrow at subjects on many a mind.
The Blonde: I went to this film consumed with stress. This movie took me completely away from my state of mind. You will forget everything and be swept away into the journey. After all, isn’t that what films were meant to do? What I found the most amazing about V was that it was written 30 years ago. How scary is that! EVERYTHING the author wrote has come true (even though it was updated a bit). I must add that it was written BEAUTIFULLY. I loved some of the profound lines such as, “There are no coincidences, only the illusion of coincidences.” It was also directed, and cast so dead on. I LOVED THIS FILM. I too rate it an A! For your film snacks, popcorn is a must, but also go ahead and have a Three Musketeers Bar, as that is who “V” looked like. Run to see this film and ENJOY!


1. Natalie Portman as Evey and Jeremy Woodhead in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Virtual Studios’ action thriller V for Vendetta, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.  

Photo by David Appleby


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