The scariest thing about this movie is how little work the filmmakers had to do to make our own world into a dystopian future society. There’s no creepy gothic architecture, no futuristic concrete bubble buildings, no floating propaganda blimps. Just London. Big Ben. The Underground. It’s depressing to think that all it takes to make our society look like a dystopia are a few idealogical shifts, some of which are already well underway.
V for Vendetta is a scathing political commentary thinly disguised as an action movie. In fact, the action mostly seems to be an afterthought, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; a movie like this is a refreshing change of pace, especially when it’s been marketed as a big budget blockbuster “from the makers of The Matrix”. In fact, the movie takes great pains to avoid distracting the viewer with fancy camera work and special effects, instead focusing on the story and the ideas presented therein.
The most remarkable thing about this movie is that Hollywood made it in the first place. It’s essentially the story of a big evil government and how one man and his acts of terrorism eventually change the world. There’s no beating around the bush here: the hero is a terrorist, the kind who blows things up and kills people. And that’s okay, because the most important point this movie makes is that people should never be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people. When governments abuse their authority, terrorism becomes the most effective way for the people to fight back. That’s a pretty damn gutsy statement to make, given the current state of world politics.
Hugo Weaving plays V, the titular terrorist, although his face is hidden behind a mask for the entire film. He carries the character entirely through his sonorous voice and slight nuances of stance and movement. That’s a remarkable feat to pull off, and the movie would have fallen completely flat if he had failed.
Natalie Portman is convincing as Evey, although she unfortunately seems to have developed the sort of onscreen persona that’s impossible to separate from her offscreen persona, so no matter how good her acting is, you’re always aware that you’re watching Natalie Portman.
V for Vendetta is an entertaining and thought-provoking film that will undoubtedly be denied the serious attention it deserves because it’s disguised as a comic book action movie. I have a feeling it’ll be considered something of a classic fifteen or twenty years from now, though. If it hasn’t been censored.