V for Vendetta ★★★★½

Much has already been articulated elsewhere over the years about the politics of both the original comic book and its now-8-year-old movie adaptation, so on that score I'll merely note that armchair revolutionaries with fantasies of armed insurrection trouble me greatly. Suffice it to say, I tend to enjoy conversations with viewers who find a movie like V for Vendetta some kind of paradigm for "when it comes".

I can appreciate why self-avowed anarchists would feel disappointed by the film's depiction of their ideology, but as I don't subscribe to it myself, those elements being so reductive didn't faze me. I was more concerned that "the people" had so little to do with this film. They're little more than eye-rolling spectators who show up to gawk in the finale. At no point do we get a sense that they regard V as anything more than interesting reality TV. There is the single moment of Evey catching a young girl spray-painting "V" graffiti, and that's the closest to seeing the public rouse to action. Even the shooting of the other girl in the "V" costume appeared more to have just been a kid playing dress-up than anything political.

I enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery of V's origin as a political thriller. Like a lot of people, I'm a bit of a sucker for stories about exposing a cover-up. My only real complaint is that I wish there had been more surprises along the way. Once things were set into motion, it was pretty easy to see what was going to happen, and why. Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea) gets quite a lot of screen time, but not enough story time.

The other thing that I want to make note of before I forget is the aerial photography looking down on Evey (Natalie Portman) in her cell. There's a lot of empty, black space on either side of the cell, which has the effect of making the size of the cell appear visually constricted in the frame. It's a nice effect, in part because it's so simple.

V for Vendetta isn't as sophisticated as it ought to have been, but it is engaging pretty much from start to finish. It's a film that, though adapted from a comic book written about the early 1980's, very much reflects the zeitgeist of the mid-00's, when the American public finally joined the rest of the world in questioning the policies of the Bush administration. Watching the film for the first time so far removed from those days was a bit peculiar, but that leads to an entirely off-topic socio-political discussion.

How V for Vendetta Entered My Flickchart

V for Vendetta > Betsy's Wedding --> #816
V for Vendetta > Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows --> #408
V for Vendetta > Monsters University --> #204
V for Vendetta < Sleepy Hollow --> #204
V for Vendetta < Ernest Saves Christmas --> #204
V for Vendetta < Mickey's Christmas Carol --> #204
V for Vendetta > The Limey --> #191
V for Vendetta < Thunderball --> #191
V for Vendetta < The Prestige --> #191
V for Vendetta < Muppet Treasure Island --> #191
V for Vendetta > Daddy Day Care --> #190

V for Vendetta entered my Flickchart at #190/1631