V for Vendetta
Director: James McTeigue

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

V for Vendetta In a totalitarian future, a vigilante undermines the status quo. He is a combination Zorro, Batman, & terrorist.

He appears disguised in a superhero cape & Guy Fawkes mask, Fawkes having been a celebrated revolutionist of the early 1600s who plotted to blow up the English Parliament, giving rise to a Halloweenesque holiday in England.

V for Vendetta (2006) has the look of a hauntingly dark comic book, as well it might, having been adapted visually as well as story-wise from David Lloyd's & Alan Moore's decadently gothic graphic novel.

After the fiasco of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's awful screen adaptation, Moore decided never again to participate personally in any film version of his work, so is not given a screen credit for his part on this story. That didn't keep him from registering his dissatisfaction with how V for Vendetta was adapted with inconsistencies & plot holes he wished in no way to be identified with.

Humanity has traded liberty for the mere illusion of safety, a peace enforced by an unebbingly fearful Orwellian government. It's all a bit of a straw dog with the assumption that an entire beurocratic system can be brought down by a single man if he can get to the dictator (John Hurt). But it's a comic book story after all, & sci-fi to boot, so fairly easy to go along with the story's reliance on improbable hooey.

V for VendettaV's bat cave equivalent is called "the shadow gallery," a mansion full of banned books, banned classical art, banned blues...all things on the lists prepared by the Ministry of Objectional Material, which sounds much more like the title of a Monty Python skit than a dystopia.

Evey or E-V (Natalie Portman, pretty & bald, but vaccuous as in all her roles) is the daughter of vanished political activists.

She's also a survivor of five years "juvenile reclamation." The man in the Guy Fawkes mask, known as V (Hugo Weaving), assisted Evey at a doomful moment, so she joins forces with him in the struggle to bring down an unjust regime.

Inspector Finch (Stephen Rhea) is an honest cop in service to a dishonest government. His task, then his obsession, is to unmask V before he sparks open rebellion in the streets of London.

V for Vendetta is at moments astonishingly beautiful & strange, part science fiction & part swashbuckler, dishing up a fable of the future all too obviously for our time. Thanks to such visual moments it was easily excerpted for a trailer that made it seem cooler'n rat shit, though the film entire cannot live up to the ad.

The visual beauty trumps story value, but even the visuals are unfortunately short on originality, evoking Tim Burton's gothic Batman, Andrew Lloyd Webber's take on the Phantom of the Opera, & rather too little of Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo, possessor of literature's original bat cave, & allegedly V's favorite book.

It could be argued that any big-budget sci-fi tale for which the eggs & toast are the most memorable thing (no such eggs in Alan Moore's original) has taken a wrong turn somewhere. I admit to making a couple of these egg-inside-toast breakfasts in the week after seeing the film, but there's nothing special about it so that didn't last.

But even through the simplemindedness & unoriginality, as idle entertainment, V for Vendetta is satisfying, despite missing the opportunity to be intelligent as well.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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