So last night I watched ‘V’ for Vendetta with a friend and even though there was some definite soussing about with the event chronology, I enjoyed it. (Sidenote, I think it’s safe to say that Vertigo (on DC) is by far my favourite comic label, and any movie based on a work by Alan Moore has got to have at least some interest to it; I can’t imagine even Hollywood fucking up one of his stories completely.)
So, the movie. I’m sure you all get the gist from the trailer; I thought it was 3 parts 1984, 1 part Phantom of the Opera, and 1 part Cyrano de Bergerac. For those of you who don’t know however…
Basic plot: Britain “in the not too distant future” has become a theocracy ruled over by the power-mad High Chancellor. The whole place is swarming with closed-circuit TV and corrupt Fingermen monitoring the populace and dispensing terror at whim. One night Evey, wandering around past curfew, runs into, and is rescued from, said corrupt Fingermen, by none other than the mysterious V. Thus begins a year-long, delicate, and mostly idealogical relationship.
The characters: Evey is the everywoman, the person we normal theatre-going folk can relate to for emotions. Her outrage, her helplessness, her constant war with her own fear, they’re things that — if you get into the world of the movie — should feel very easy to get a grip on. Detective Finch is also in the everyman category; we feel comfortable with his hesitance to probe too deep into the motives of his own “benevolent” government, but feel compelled, both by curiosity and the desire to Do Right. Between the two of them, the audience is pretty much covered. (Except for the up-and-coming evil villains among us, obviously, but I’m sure they can relate to some of the Chancellors.)
V, on the other hand, is a complete mystery. Or at least he is in the comics. In the movie he’s a great deal less mysterious, but still retains the important anonymous aspects. The movie played a lot with the idea of coincidence, which I thought was kind of cool, although the Wachowsky brothers tried too hard to “suggest” (by which I mean pound the audience relentlessy with) the idea of event symmetry. It cheapened Evey’s “awakening” in my opinion; film directors really need to start trusting audiences to just get it on their own. I mean, Jesus, they understood the comics, didn’t they? And the whole art of the graphic novel is that it’s understated for moments like that; that’s what makes it art.
Anyway, mini-rant aside, it was thoroughly enjoyable. It’s shouldn’t surprise anyone with the plot; it’s pretty much given away in the trailer. The movie is not a cliff-hanger, it’s a warning against complacency with bits of humanity threaded in for colour. I’d give it 8 out of 9 if you’re seeing it in theatres. I wouldn’t recommend buying it, just because the re-watch-ability of this is maybe 6.8 out of 9 at most; if you really love the characters/story, pick up the comic.