"The first question you might ask about this film is, 'What does the V stand for?'  The answer is: Vendetta."










V for Vendetta
The Masked Reviewer

The first question you might ask about this film is, 'What does the V stand for?'  The answer is: Vendetta.  See what happens when you only read the first letter in a title of a film?

This is a film based on a comic book created by Alan Moore.  Alan Moore is a legend in the comic book industry...his writing is frequently credited with changing the industry (in a good way, not in the way that Ben Affleck changed the film industry). 

Many of Alan Moore's works have been adapted to the big screen: he wrote the source material for From Hell (starring Johnny Depp), Constantine (starring Keanu Reeves - whoa), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (starring Sean Connery, and performing less than extraordinarily well at the box office).  Given that track record, many people may be hesitant to see V for Vendetta.

But, don't hold the adaptations against him.  His comic books are brilliant, and he has been subjected to merciless Hollywoodism in the licensing of his works.  Alan Moore has had his name taken off many projects (actually, uh...including V for Vendetta) and there have been many public feuds between him and...well...just about everyone.  An adaptation of his best work, The Watchmen, is currently underway, too.

This film stars Natalie Portman, who you may remember from the most recent Star Wars films, or perhaps you may remember her from The Professional with Jean Reno.  The film's protagonist is played by...well...you can't be sure, since he's wearing a mask. 

Now don't go and think that just because the film features a masked hero that the Masked Reviewer is automatically going to give it a good review.  That wouldn't be right! 

What is V for Vendetta about?  Without giving too much away, it deals with terrorism.  It also deals with freedom, oppression, and revolution.  And because of that, this film is guaranteed to generate some negative feedback.  Already people are talking about how V is promoting or glamorizing terrorism.  And...he does.  But perhaps people will look at terrorism slightly differently after viewing this film.  By all accounts, the founding fathers were terrorists, fighting for freedom from the British.  Is it unfair to make those comparisons?  Does that mean that al-Qaeda (and his brother, frank-Qaeda) are really good guys?  That's what critics of the film are suggesting.  The Masked Reviewer does not see that argument being made in V, but does think that the message of the film -- which is basically that it is every citizen's responsibility to stand up against oppression, whether at home or abroad -- is an interesting one, and one that many people are afraid to make.

Whether you think the government is doing a great job or a horrible job, it's hard to deny that the United States lives in an atmosphere of fear since 9/11.  That fear has shaped public policy, and has affected how we live our lives.  Is this better or worse?  That's certainly worth thinking about and debating.  And yet, when a movie comes along that (symbolically, at least) tackles these issues, it's immediately branded as supporting terrorism and being anti-American.  And, ironically, the point of the film is driven home by the fear of different views being expressed.  So, whether you see it as being highly-relevant or anti-American, it certainly does provoke thought, and it does it in an interesting way, and that's a good thing, as far as the Masked Reviewer is concerned.

The film was produced by Joel Silver and the Warchowski brothers, who also brought you The Matrix trilogy.  As such, the film is slick and easy on the eyes.  There are some fight scenes that are fairly cool, but this isn't an action movie, really.  It's more intellectual.  If you want a good blow-em-up, butt-kicking flick, this isn't a great choice.  It's probably the best choice in theaters right now, but if you're looking for a fist-fest, this isn't it. 

The film revolves around a few central characters, and it has some nice twists and turns, and "dark" would be a good way to describe it.  There's not a lot of humor, and it lacks special effects, but nonetheless, if you're a fan of the comic books, it's a must-see.  Not just V for Vendetta comics, either, but the art form in general.  It has a very comic-booky feel. 

It's also a must-see for people who want to think about freedom, something often taken for granted in this country. 


Expectation from the Title: A film about the world's worst acronym.  Richard thought that an acronym should be short and to the point...but just one letter?  The ridicule he faced led him to seek revenge, or R, as he called it.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Even though you don't see the title character's face, he seems very charming.  He always seems to smile, too.

The Pros: Thought provoking, great writing, especially well acted by the lead (who didn't have the benefit of having his face seen).

The Cons: It's a bit long.  Previews may misrepresent it as being a straight-up action flick, which it isn't.  Controversial topics which will put some people off without giving it a chance.

Can't spell? V for Vendeta, Hugo Weeving, Mr. Smith, Mr. Anderson, Warshowski brothers, Allen Moore

Copyright 2003, Michael D. Lynn