To its credit “V for Vendetta” does get some things right. Hugo Weaving fills the mask of V and adds a human voice that resonates with the deep truths his character speaks. The costume design and high end production values actualizes the vision originally illustrated by the credited David Lloyd. .
As a follower of “V for Vendetta” when it was coming out issue by issue in the late eighties, the recent movie release sparks a conflict between reader and film fan and forces us to pick sides. How can a story that is about holding onto integrity as the one thing that can’t be compromised, be turned into a compromised adaptation from Hollywood? A story who’s original author, Alan Moore, has been quoted as saying the script was ‘rubbish’ and demanded that his name be removed from the films credits after Joel Silver, the movie’s Producers announced that Mr. Moore supported the film and the direction the Wachowski Brothers wanted to take it in.
Does compromise have its place? Any movie adaptation has to make changes from the printed page to fit within the format of a two hour film. Understandably, extended passages that aren’t essential may need to be cut down to make for a more cohesive screenplay. But what about the omission of core ideas? The movie goes out of its way to avoid saying the A word, yet the “V for Vendetta” comic promotes a case for Anarchy on every page. Is it okay when an artistic element is left out, such as the signature song ‘Vicious Cabaret’ that V sings in the book, which doesn’t even make a cameo on the films soundtrack, does this ruin it as a film?
“V for Vendetta” also suffers from some same issues as the last two “Matrix” movies, where the dialog gets stuck on a certain topic, in Vendetta’s case ‘coincidence’, that is then repeated over and over again by assorted characters in a forced attempt to add some kind of pseudo religious gee-whiz moment in the vein of the “Matrix”, “Celestine Prophecy” or the “DaVinci code”. The pedantic philosophy is broken up by moments of dressed up fight scenes where this films special effects du jour adds smoke trails and throwing knives to the repertoire of the now overused bullet time scenes.
Despite the ugly politics and irony, I’m amazed to see “V for Vendetta” delivered to the screen by a mainstream studio. Meaning its subversive message of violent opposition to out of control governments won’t just reach the hipster art house crowd but will be absorbed in Cineplex’s everywhere.
Perhaps average middle American movie goers will go in to see the latest Natalie Portman flick, or to watch what the Producers of the “Matrix” series offer next, but after seeing “V for Vendetta”, audiences may be open to mulling over their own role and power they have to enact change in a world that seems to spinning further and further out of control.
Looking forward to celebrating November 5th in the USA, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2006 - Purple - Air Date: 3/22/06
V for Vendetta
USA / Germany - 2005