When the film V For Vendetta was announced, my interest immediate peaked as I found out the Wachowski Brothers would be writing the film. Unlike a majority of fans, I didn’t completely dislike The Matrix Trilogy; in fact, I thought they were a ton of fun. With this new film, the brothers attack the theme of a society where the government has the only voice, similar to the novel 1984. Add in actors Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, and you have me at the word go.
The year is 2020. A vir…s has run through the world leaving a majority of Americans dead in their shoes, and Britain is ruled by a fascist dictator who promises nothing but security for his people. This dictator never mentions anything about giving his people freedom though. This causes a man simply known as V to rebel. V secretly moves throughout London evading authority figure after authority figure. V wears a mask of the face of Guy Fawkes, a man who tried, in 1605, to blow up the houses of Parliament. On November 5th, the eve of Guy Fawkes Day, many citizens burn fires in a type of effigy toward Fawkes. On this eve in the year 2020, V saves a young reporter named Evey (Natalie Portman) from rape. He forces her to join him and concludes the night by sitting the Old Bailey courtrooms ablaze.
V For Vendetta follows the happenings of the next 12 months. V swears that he will, in 12 months, deliver a crushing blow to this dictatorship. A blow they will never ever forget. The British police, for a bunch of authority figures that so unjustifiable hurt their citizens, try to inform everyone that V is not real and had nothing to do the burning of the Old Bailey courtrooms. Unfortunately for them, V is a tad bit smarter as he takes control of the television airwaves letting every citizen know that it was indeed him who did this act.
The film presents a few interesting ideas in that the character of V declares that the “citizens shouldn’t fear their government; the government should fear its citizens”. V emphasizes this ideal to Evey, who goes through a radical change from the cautious reporter to the bald sympathizer and follower of V. As the police search street by street for V, he always seems to be one step ahead of them. Even when a confrontation does occur, V uses his ingenious martial arts and various weaponry skills to evade and defeat these men. V gains little support for his impending revolution minus Evey and one reporter (played by Stephen Fry). Speaking of these characters, both Portman and Weaving deliver great performances; nothing award-winning, but still great. Portman, who saved her head for this film, is convincing as a woman who sees through the eyes of V and sees his ideas (it makes me wonder if V can even see out of that mask or how he breathes, but that is not too important as films don’t have to totally make sense). Weaving, while not in the rare form he was in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy still is enjoyable as V. He’s cunning and sly all while delivering points and questions that could possibly be connected to our current time.
Director James McTeigue, a man not well known, has done a lot of work before V For Vendetta in that he worked as an assistant director on the second Star Wars film, Attack of the Clones and the second and third Matrix films. After watching his first directorial debut, McTeigue presents action scenes and messages in nearly every scene. Instead of decoding them for us like a majority of action films do, McTeigue gives us the opportunity to apply our own interpretations giving us a new look to the film each time we see the film. This allows the audience to understand and really enjoy V For Vendetta. If you’re a fan of the Wachowski brothers or like an film that opens your mind, give V For Vendetta a chance.
V For Vendetta maintains its’ theatrical aspect ratio of 2:40:1. The color palette mostly consisted of darker colors that helped convey the drab London town and the themes of the film. The film showed little to no evidence of print damage, which was expected of a film that was released a mere 5 months ago. I did notice a bit of grain in some scenes (around the 43-44 minute mark), but it was not too noticeable. Edge enhancement was virtually absent while flesh tones were accurate and clear. While not as strong as the audio track, the video transfer came off just fine.
We’re given the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound Audio Track in either English or French. Talk about a fine audio track. The dynamic range, from V punching a Fingermen 6 minutes in, to the few explosions, sounded crystal clear. Dialogue, while being mostly clear, was sometimes hard to hear (V’s dialogue seemed kind of muted and muddled due to his mask). This didn’t totally hurt the dialogue aspect, but prevented it from being perfect. Gun-shots and blades slicing zipped past my ear while little effects like footsteps in the street completed the darker, menacing tone of the film. The only real fault here, and this was possibly by own ears acting up, was the partially muted dialogue. Otherwise from this, Warner has delivered a first rate audio track.
As per the usual big release, Warner has decided to release this film in a super scant one disc edition and a lavish two disc edition.
- Making V For Vendetta: This making of feature gives us a lot of information into the various aspects of the film. We get to hear from Portman and Weaving as we learn their interest in the film. Topics like production sets, themes, marketing and casting are briefly covered as well.
V For Vendetta presents a lot of interesting ideas giving the audience the chance to determine the answers to these ideas themselves. The film is fun, intriguing and a blast to watch. The DVD boasts fine picture and audio, but the one-disc edition only has one feature. I guess this is why Warner opted for two separate releases (why not just do one release)? V For Vendetta comes recommended for at least a rental for everyone, but a purchase for fans of the director, writers or actors.
Special Features List
- Making V For Vendetta