V For Vendetta (2006)

One of the most politically-provocative & powerful dystopian films of 21st century. A symphony of screenwriting and cinematic intellectualism – voraciously-volatile with visceral action scenes, volitional performances, and virulent anarchy. 9.6/10.

Plot Synopsis: Following world war, London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known only as V (Hugo Weaving) uses terrorist tactics to fight the oppressors of the world in which he now lives. When V saves a young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) from the secret police, he discovers an ally in his fight against England’s oppressors.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Review

‘Remember, Remember: The Fifth Of November’

The Matrix-Creators Are Back With DC Comics/Vertigo For A Ciné Of One Of The Bestselling Graphic-Novels Of All-Time

Photo Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Remember, Remember: The Fifth of November.’ The Wachowski brothers changed the history of cinema in 1999 with The Matrix – a cyberpunk masterclass based off Japanese animation and martial arts films that capitalized on our growing technology fears, popularized slow-mo ‘bullet time’ VFX, and remains one of the greatest and most influential films of All-Time. Now, they’re back – this time in a partnership with DC Comics and Vertigo on a famous Alan Moore dystopian graphic novel that once again feeds on our cyber-fears and dystopian government nightmares: V For Vendetta. The results are just as glorious, cementing the duo as one of the most talented group in Hollywood today. One of the most politically-provocative & powerful dystopian films of the 21st century, DC/Vertigo’s V For Vendetta is a symphony of screenwriting and cinematic intellectualism – voraciously-volatile with visceral action sequences, volitional philosophical discourse, virtuosic performances/characterization, and virile anarchic chaos.

The Dystopian Future

A Plague Of Corruption Unparalleled; The Pre-eminent Portraiture Of Fascism And Dictatorial Government In The U.K.

Photo Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Pictures

From its opening charged scene skillfully telling a whole man’s life story in a couple of minutes, it’s clear there is one thing on its mind: government. The dystopian future it weaves is a plague unparalleled; the kind that would release a virus on its own people to subjugate them into submissive husks for fascism/dictatorship under a new totalitarian regime that’s eerily similar to Nazi Germany down to its symbol and chroma scheme. The vastness of corruption in this nightmare vision of U.K. is breathtaking – from complicity in killing ~100K of its own people for leverage to church officials trafficking little girls to police officials twisting the law to their own rapacious agendas on the people they’re supposed to be protecting to fake news propaganda to mad science experiments done off-books on helpless prison inmates to money-laundering trails to xenophobia to racism to sexism to anti-religionism to public executions of anyone who challenges the High Chancellor’s reign. V For Vendetta is indeed one of, if not THE most powerful portraiture of government-gone-wrong and nihilistic political worldview ever in cinema – and it lays the perfectly-scripted scene for our protagonist and his radical ideas: V.

‘People Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Their Governments; Governments Should Be Afraid Of Their People

A Symphony Of Screenwriting And Weighty Themes For One Of The All-Time Heaviest Philosophical Discourses In Cinema

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V as as a character is one of the most compelling and fascinating vigilantes the genre has ever seen. From his unforgettable and unmistakable Guy Fawkes mask (that has since become a symbol/icon for hacker legions)’ and black robe/bladed ensemble to his alliteration-heavy V-focused vocabulary, he is a visceral hand-to-hand combatant with enhanced kinethesia and acrobatics – brought to life by Wachowski VFX magic of course for the breathtaking action sequences we expected coming in after Matrix. 10x-more loaded with intrigue though is his backstory – the tale of the St. Mary’s virus, mad science experimentation, and a broken man after vengeance against those who committed such atrocious acts against nature and vindication of society from governmental oppression. The film balances perhaps some of the weightiest themes ever tackled in a screenplay through its physiological, psychological, political, placid-ethics, and poli-sociological plot design that packs massive intrigue and intellectualism. VFV relates these lofty (and potentially-offensive/challenging to your central internalized worldview) ideas and a plot worthy of a full series of TV to unpack its multi-interpretive complexity through powerful cinematography, scoring, and performances.

Breathtaking (Slow-Mo) Cinematography

Plus A Soundtrack & Sensorial Package That Will Make You Feel The Power Of God In Rain

Photo Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Pictures

The cinematography is packed with some of the most breathtaking shots I’ve ever witnessed. The bleak, dreary nihilistic streets of neo-fascist London are juxtaposed by sharp red-and-black lines in its nightmarish political scenes, fluid action sequences, warm golden sunsets, and elemental rainfalls for a one-of-a-kind stylized visual package by cinematographer Adrian Biddle and the Wachowskis that makes you feel the power of God in the rain firsthand. The orchestral score by Dario Marianelli mimics its ocular cues with ominous atmospheres, visceral violin crescendoes, and soaring quartet sweeps in the emotionally-resonant sequences to hit a triumphant note for an out-of-body sensory experience of transcendental elemental power – capturing the story and action of its characters and mysterious central figure: V. The star of the show and an unforgettable one at that, V is one of the most fascinating characters in cinematic/graphic-novel history. A mysterious backstory only partially-revealed in bits lays the groundwork of a corruption-laden experiment done on helpless asylum inmates for bioweaponized enhancement – with V being the only one to survive and decimate the facility, at the cost of being scarred for life both psychologically and physiologically with first-degree burns down to even his eyes.

V For Vigilante, Villain // Venerable, Valorous // Vendetta, Vengeance?

One Of The Most Perplexing And Fascinating Characters Ever Scripted – Brought To Life By A Lifetime Performance By Hugo Weaving

Photo Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Pictures

V dons the iconic Guy Fawkes mask and vows to expose the governmental fraud and get his revenge on the people who wronged him and took his country by force and subterfuge – parliament using the lethal virus from the experimental trials to subjugate and kill the U.K.’s own people so an ambitious young politician/dictator could rise to power before releasing the vaccine/antidote. The multi-dimensional, multifaceted, reflexively-ethhical character of V makes for a philosophical, sociological, and psychological wax for the ages – a prism into anarchy, punishment, vigilantism, and justice that makes us question our institutions, people of power, and selves down to the very pith/core of our beings as all great cinema and works of art do, and creates a movement for change and nationwide revolution against oppression out of a single domino. The surgical precision of his character, physicality, nuance, hacktivism, symbolic change, and complexity all require a lifetime performance to bring from the pages of a graphic novel to life – and luckily Hugo Weaving lives up to the challenge 10x-over; it’s a damn shame he did not win an Oscar for this, able to resonate pain, sadness, loss, emotion, and the darkest of woe.. all through a mask without us even once seeing his face or being graced the copout of facial expressions. Masterpiece. As if his character isn’t perplexing and overdoseable in intrigue on his own, Nathalie Portman’s Evey is a magnificent complement to him: making him question his morality and methods, while also finding herself put through one of the most intensive character development arcs in history by him, a perfect duality-exposition from the opening mirror-shot – the water, purity, and life of the rain juxtaposed to the pain, revenge, and anger of fire of V.

The Legacy

A Tier Of Real-World Influence Few Films Reach: An Inspiration To A Generation & Symbol Of Hacktivism And Fighting Injustice

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Even the side characters given mere minutes of screentime emit more mythicism in character development than most feature-length films, Rea’s police chief learning to go against his own institution’s systemic corruption but most notably: the Valerie backstory perhaps THE most striking LGBTQ sequence ever in film breathing pure cinematic beauty and thematic importance in every frame of its majesty self-contained vignette arc. Finally, the legacy of V For Vendetta is one of the most potent in 21st-century filmmaking. Immoratalizing the symbolism, hactivism, and any-means-necesscary power of V’s campaign, his mask and likeness have transcended art to become a real-world symbol for hacker legions across the globe. Anonymous, Occupy, wikileaks’ Julian Assange, and countless others have dawned V’s mask to expose governmental and corporate corruption as extensive as those expositioned in the film itself. The film’s weighty ideas have penetrated our subconscious and drenched popculture with a nihilistic weariness of corporate entities and governmental corruption that has partially defiend the entire way of thinking for millennials/Gen. Z growing up after its release (I would argue the woke/cancel-culture found centralized inspiration in this film’s big questions). Pop culture truly never was the same after March 16, 2006, and it’s rare (as well as the highest achievement cinema can attain, alone all the justification it needs) for a film to have such a profound impact on and translation to real-life.

Flaws

One Costume Nitpick & A Miscast Rea

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Flaws are sacrilegious to point out in such an impactful and masterfully-complex/society-analytic film, but V’s look can be nitpicked and Det. Finch is miscast. V’s Zorro-esque look and striking mask ensemble is fantastic in every sense of the word.. until it gets to his wig. I’m not sure why they felt the need to frame the mask with long black hair on either side that looks more like Eva Mode from Disney’s Incredibles or a weave than a badass, injustice-fighting cyber-vigilante. Gosh, I know it’s a laughable nitpick, but I REALLY wish they had gone against the weird hair choice in his costume. Objectively though and less opined superficiality, Rea is quite miscast as Det. Finch. He looks more ready for a retirement home than the police force fighting a blade-wielding assassin, and lacks the magnetic presence of many other iconic detectives going back to the noir days, as well as fellow DC Comics’ gritty presentation Batman Begins who got the casting right 110% from the opening scene with Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon. C’mon, casting and make-up/design departments – get on the screenwriters and cast’s level.

Conclusion

Volitional. Versatile. Visceral. Visionary.

One Of The Most Politically-Provocative, Philosophically-Advanced, Palpable, & Powerful Films Of The 21st-Century

Photo Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Pictures

Overall, V For Vendetta is one of the most politically-provocative, philosophically-advanced, palpable, & powerful films of the 21st-century. DC delivered a masterpiece trio from 2007-2010 in V, The Dark Knight, and Watchmen – all boldly reinventing and innovating the comic book movie into pure artform and cinematic intellectualism, in the guise of a blockbuster-level drama film with plenty of action and nihilistic viscera-shaking ideas. The film influenced the entire way of thinking for the generations that passed it and has become the symbol of real-life hacktivism by the world’s top legions like Anonymous, Occupy, and wikileaks. One of the most politically-provocative & powerful dystopian films of the 21st century, DC/Vertigo’s V For Vendetta is a symphony of screenwriting and cinematic intellectualism – voraciously-volatile with visceral action sequences, volitional philosophical discourse, virtuosic performances/characterization, and virile anarchic chaos.

Official CLC Score: 9.6/10