V For Vendetta (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/03/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 131 mins

Enjoyable, smartly designed and superbly acted thriller that actually gives you something to think about while you’re watching stuff get blown up.

What’s it all about? Adapted from the 1980’s graphic novel by David Lloyd and Alan Moore (who had his name taken off the credits), V for Vendetta is set in a futuristic, fascist Britain, ruled over by the Big Brother-like Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt).

Natalie Portman stars as Evey Hammond, a young woman who finds herself caught up in a plot to overthrow the totalitarian state when she meets the masked vigilante played by Hugo Weaving, known only as V (Hugo Weaving).

The Good
V for Vendetta was originally written in the 80s as a reaction against Thatcher’s Britain, so it’s pleasing that the screenplay (by Matrix maestros the Wachowski Brothers) manages to both successfully update the material (including references to Avian Flu and the current water shortage) and retain so much of the original. The result is a thriller that is surprisingly political for a mainstream blockbuster.

Weaving is superb as V and deserves special praise for agreeing to spend the entire film behind a Guy Fawkes mask. Portman is equally good, although her British accent wobbles occasionally and she’s also looking disturbingly thin. There’s also strong support from John Hurt.

The effects are impressive and it’s a delight to see famous British buildings getting the Independence Day treatment. The design of the film is equally striking, with strong use of reds and blacks.

The Bad
The film’s not entirely without flaws – for one thing, the Wachowskis have grafted on an entirely unnecessary love story, which is sure to rile fans of the comic. Similarly, there are occasional miscalculations, such as V’s overly alliterative introduction and a section involving Stephen Fry’s TV host.

Worth seeing?
In short, V for Vendetta is that rarest of creatures – an intelligent blockbuster. It’s also bound to get the Daily Mail frothing at the mouth, which can only be a good thing.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 12:37

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