Sunday, 24 March 2013

V for Vendetta (2005)





















There's a definite Guy Fawkes motive running through this film isn't there, didn't notice at first (yes I'm being sarcastic). kind of a kinky dressing up as Guy Fawkes fetish thing going on. The plot is strange for sure, set in the future of the 2030's, its all about a totalitarian run UK and a certain freedom fighter (with the noted Guy Fawkes fetish) who uses the old 16th Century attempted terrorist act as his main influence for his own terror attacks...of freedom.

A curious blend of fascism set against anarchy with an all American style matinée serial/pulp magazine hero in the middle. What I have always found weird about this graphic novel creation is the obsession with Guy Fawkes. I understand the notion of using the terrorist act of blowing up Parliament as brilliant symbol/sign of rebellion against the dictatorship that governs this universes UK, but why the need to dress up like Guy Fawkes complete with silly period wig and quaint facial mask?. Why would someone in the 2030's idolise and copy a 16th Century criminal, despite his treasonous act which isn't actually much to celebrate really.

Anyway I can't deny that Weaving's smooth charismatic tones were prefect for the voice of 'V'. He played the character in full as we know but his polite charming well spoken mannerisms really sold the whole anti hero character and gave him this endearing Errol Flynn like persona. Its quite strange to actually think that he was rather dashing even though his face is hidden behind that mask, you tend to forget he's wearing a mask really, its a good looking mask.

The less said about Portman the better frankly, she is becoming more and more annoying as she grows older. She spends the whole time in this film looking distraught with her mouth hanging open and gasping for air! its quite infuriating.

Who better to use for the fascist regime leader than the main lead for the film adaptation of the Orwell novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', John Hurt. Hurt's performance is pretty much limited to simply being on a large TV screen/monitor, but the way he barks out orders in a menacing torrent to his subordinates is really a joy to watch. In fact the whole design and look of the fascist party is really well done with clear references/influences from history in certain scenes of addressing the nation. Black and red are the strong piercing colours of the 'Norsefire party', cliched but effective, much like their whole exterior appearance really but lets not forget this is a graphic novel adaptation where visuals are everything.

Its visuals that do bring this film to life like many other similar films. The dark grey tones, dark alleyways, dark rooftops, the darkly cloaked anti hero, shadows galore and the much required dark anti hero logo that will eventually Adorn most badly lit vicinities. In short this is very much your Batman type affair accept it has a more simple minimalistic feel or approach, remember its set in merry old England and not a forest of gothic skyscrapers. The visuals can be striking at times but oddly basic at others, almost verging on TV movie standards.

A clever film where the main (anti) hero is more a symbol of the people, the movement and less of an individual person with fancy fighting moves. The fact they managed to resist showing the face beneath the mask is amazing frankly, seeing as they couldn't resist the old slow motion martial arts stuff (you can see The Wachowski Brothers were here)...but that might be in the graphic novel, I haven't seen it. Its all here with this film, totalitarian fears, media cover ups, secret police, total anarchy, genocide, dictators, torture and the destruction of our beloved Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, oh the sacrilege!.

I also liked the lesbian/gay sub plot in the film set within the fascist regime. Now I'm guessing this is in the graphic novel as its a brave move to be so bold with this kind of content (but this is a UK film, and the UK is brutally PC). The whole idea works perfectly against the extremist policies of the 'Norsefire party' and really brings fresh emotions to the surface, clearly using the realities of Nazi acts during WWII.

I enjoyed the fighting sequences and I liked the masked avenger known as 'V'. The film is heavily cliched but has many undertones which can be looked at in different ways. Unsure how accurate it is to the original source material seeing as Moore didn't like it but none the less its a thoroughly fun action film that boarders on operatic at times!. Still don't really see the need for the the Guy Fawkes motive though, other than it simply looks kinda cool and original.

Final note, why can't henchmen ever understand that maybe shooting the hero in the face might be more effective.


7/10