Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Venerating V for Vendetta on Nov. 5

Vacuous individuals who have yet to check their calenders, today is Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes' Night is upon us. Voila! In view of this most auspicious of nights, this review is on V for Vendetta. I will vauntingly use every word with the letter "V" in my vocabulary, surpassing mere vernacular, in honor of the vehement vigilante from the film. Verily, this intro paragraph is far too verbose because V-words are hard to come by and I already grow vexed from the verbiage. It is vital that I bring this introduction to an end and vivaciously start the review. Let's begin.
For those who don't know, V for Vendetta is based off of a comic of the same name written by comic veteran Alan Moore. The film, in my opinion, does a good job of capturing many of the themes and the overall plot of its source material. There are some differences between the two, but it doesn't take away from the quality of the film. It is an excellent read. Now, on to the movie.
Very quickly the film paints a picture of a not-so-distant future. The European continent was ravaged by a deadly virus, and a fascist group, the Norsefire party, now runs the UK. Under this vainglorious government run by High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt), the mantra "Strength through Purity, Purity through Faith" is embedded into people's minds; this alleged verity of life all but brainwashes them into rallying under national pride and strict, unrelenting morals. Venal cops, or "Fingermen," patrol the streets and strict curfew laws are in place to protect citizens.
It is in this setting that we meet Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), a young woman working for the British Broadcasting Corporation Television Network. Evey goes out past curfew on Nov. 4 for a date and is caught by two Fingermen. They threaten Evey with jail time for breaking curfew unless she does sexual favors for them.
Luckily, Evey is saved by a vigilante whose visage is hidden behind a Guy Fawkes mask. The man, a virtuoso in various fighting techniques, dispatches of the Fingermen and saves Evey's life. He then gives a verbose speech I wish I could quote verbatim introducing himself as V (Hugo Weaving). Afterwards just as the clock strikes midnight, V blows up the Old Bailey (on Nov. 5) in one of the greatest fireworks displays in the history of ever, all set to the 1812 Overture.
Bad. Ass.
The Norsefire party tries to use the BTN to cover up the explosion, but V hijacks the signal, taking credit for the explosion and promising to return next  Nov. 5. Police try and fail to catch V, Evey is hurt in the process, and V takes her to his secret hideout to protect her.
Unfortunately for Evey, since V rescued her, the cops now believe she is involved with his acts of vigilantism. V cannot let her leave for both her protection and his. Evey stays with her vigilant hero in his home filled with vintage objeccts now classified as illegal. Meanwhile the vindictive Sutler and his vile men vilify her and V, putting them on wanted lists and telling his Fingermen to find them at any cost.
Evey eventually suffers from Stockholm syndrome and learns more of V's past. She sympathizes with him and joins his cause, helping the masked man with his big project for the coming Nov. 5: blowing up Parliament (just like Guy Fawkes centuries before him). As the movie continues, V begins killing off prominent public figures, continuing to be a vexation to the Norsefire party. V's dark history is slowly revealed in depth and the movie ends on the next year's Nov. 5. I don't want to spoil the ending, but let's just say it ends with a bang.
A big one.
V for Vendetta is not a movie, it is a film. While I may sound pretentious by saying this, it's true. The quality is undeniable. Director James McTeigue and the Wachowski Brothers did a tremendous job (better than they did with the later installments of the Matrix series). It's just beatiful.
The cast is phenomenal, too. Viewers vicariously experience the plot through Portman's Evey, the journey her character goes on is difficult and a prominent part of the overall story. John Hurt's villain, Sutler, is a despicable man-behind-the-curtain so rooted in vice it is impossible not to hate him. And Hugo Weaving is nothing short of fantastic in his vibrant performance as V.
Also, an insane level of detail was put into the film. In every shot the letter "V" is visible somewhere. Whether the neckline of someone's sweater, the shape of a building, two objects in the background, or blatant fireworks in the sky, the letter is EVERYWHERE. Go on, see for yourself.
If you haven't already seen V for Vendetta I highly recommend watching it. I venerate this film as one of the best I've seen. For those of you who have seen it, watch it again ... especially today. In fact, go buy it on Bluray or DVD if you don't already own a copy.
Now that I have reviewed V for Vendetta and have vaunted my vast vocabulary (thesauruses are awesome!), I must bring this verbose blogpost to a close. My mind is void of anymore "V" words and am losing my normal volubility. I wish you all a happy Nov. 5.

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