Since it’s nearly time to remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot, it’s time for our mega fans and giant cynics to fight it out over James McTeigue’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s iconic graphic novel, V For Vendetta. Imogen Scott-Chambers and Ritwik Sarkar take a politically-charged look at what is perhaps the most anarchist film Hollywood ever funded…
V for Vendetta is a relentlessly visceral piece of cinema. A dramatic dystopian diatribe from start to finish, it exhausts every emotion and leaves with Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812 endlessly resonating in your ears.
The film follows an initially weak Evey (Natalie Portman) on a journey to revolution after a chance meeting with a masked and cloaked vigilante, aptly named V (Hugo Weaving). Evey’s transformation is reminiscent of ‘bildungsroman’; she is pushed to the edge by her saviour and the orchestrator of the opposition to totalitarian tyranny: V. Under his unorthodox methods of tutelage, she evolves from a cowardly caterpillar into a strong, fearless and beautiful butterfly, prepared to carry out his dark and dastardly plans.
The film makes use of a spectrum of bleak colours, emphasising the rainbow of repression caused by despotic rule. It is only at the cathartic ending that we witness bright colours signalling change. James McTeigue presents the audience with a crisp and classy tour-de-force of a film that cruelly haunts the memory and holds up a mirror to the western world.
The gunpowder, treason and plot acts as more of a smokescreen that covers the shortcomings of this supposed cult classic. While you might not be able to kill an idea, you can strangle its interpretation with an over-nuanced and somewhat misplaced sense of idealism.
Natalie Portman’s tour-de-force performance gets somewhat lost in the anti-establishment agenda of the film’s titular character, V. Though enigmatic in portrayal, Hugo Weaving’s V serves as the film’s biggest strength and weakness. The ideals he portrays are intended to overthrow the prevalent authoritarian regime. However, he fails to come up with a practical plan for the future to follow.
Needless violence and the uncertain end of many supporting characters have many feeling more lost than inspired. The revolution that V intends is not the replacement of one system with a better one, but of cleansing with fire from where the uncertain tomorrow might come.