V for Vendetta
Directed by James McTeigue
Starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, and Rupert Graves.
I love dystopian tales. I think it all goes back to high school English class, and I read the granddaddy of all dystopian tales, 1984. What can I say? High school is our own personal dystopian tale for most of us, so I really took to it. I adopted it as my all-time favourite book, and ever since then, I always read the latest dystopian tale that crosses my path. When I saw the first trailers for V for Vendetta back in the summer, it looked all nice and dystopian, so I ran down to the library and read the book. I did enjoy the book, and started counting down the days to the movie.
In a dystopian London, of the not-too-distant future, we meet young Evey Hammond (Portman), who’s accosted on the street one night. She’s saved by the mysterious, enigmatic and theatrical V (Weaving). It’s not too long before Evey is drawn into V’s grand scheme: bringing about a revolution and ending the tyrannical government. Also drawn into this tale is Detective Finch (Rea), who has the unenviable task of bringing in V.
What I Liked
Hugo Weaving. That guy just rocks. Hearing that voice come out of the character of V was just geek-tastic. Natalie Portman was pretty good, too. And, as I said, I’m a fan of those dystopian tales, so I always love it when characters start going into “Fight Big Government” monologues that come straight from Orwell. Some have complained that the book’s core message was changed too much, but I think just enough of it remains to still make the message effective. And plus, I like the irony of having John Hurt play the Big Brother-ish dictator. (He played Winston Smith, Orwell’s counterpoint to Evey, back in the 1984 adaptation of 1984) And there’s some really good special effects and big explosions.
What I Didn’t Like
Well, just the same complaints I always have with literary adaptations. “Why did they cut out this character?” “Why did they get rid of that subplot?” They made a few tweaks to Evey that I didn’t like. I think they turned V into too sympathetic a character. The book was more subtle and vague…the film is more black-and-white.
All in all, very entertaining, but, as in most cases like this, the book is better.