V for Vendetta surprised me when I saw it originally at the cinema. It surprised me because it felt like a film based on graphic novel that didn’t comprise the source material. Well not if you ask Alan Moore. Set in a England in the decade of 2030, the country is under a fascist regime led by the very angry John Hurt. In this nightmare vision of futuristic london, Evey (Natalie Portman) encounters some unpleasant undercover policeman looking to do something very nasty indeed when V, a man with a mask dressed as Guy Fawkes saves her and in turn get herself intertwined in his plans to save the people from its totalitarian government. Taking inspiration from the gunpowder plot of 1605, V takes the guise of a modern-day Guy Fawkes as a symbol and blow up the houses of parliament and rise the people agents their oppressors.
Without reading the graphic novel, on a first watch it feels like a faithful radiation, however with some research it is clear the V for Vendetta, has softened some what. The film clearly sides with V in his quest as a noble freedom fighter. Where as in Moore’s work is very different as V is very much more extreme in his believes and does not care so much for innocent life, taking the extreme sides on both ends of the spectrum. This would be troublesome for a major film as there is no hero to root for as even Evey turns into his apprentice to carry on his work. As much as I like the idea that Moore has, I do feel that it may not have worked as well as one would hope. I guess I should just go away and read the comic.
Directed by James McTeigue with a script by The Wachowskis, it has a very comic book tone that look very flash and stylish all the while litter with great performances. Hugo Weaving is charming and ruthless in a role that echos the Phantom of the Opera while Natalie Portman proves that she still looks good with the shaved look al la Sinéad O’Connor and has a flawless english accent. The true hero for me is Stephen Rea as Finch. A shabby detective who is trying to make heads or tails of the of whats going on and gives the audience an insider’s view of the Nazi based government. Although totally different from the book it’s based on with ideas centred around rebellion and rising up ageist government. You have to give it props for at that time, having the balls to go with a story where a terrorist is the hero. A terrorist with all his edge taken off granted but let the film stand on its own terms by itself and let it be its own movie. A every enjoyable movie at that..