Science fiction and fantasy                                            

V For Vendetta

directed by James McTeigue

V For Vendetta poster  
It's past curfew and Evey Hammond is out on the London streets when she is caught by the Fingermen. Unfortunately for her, the near-future Britain she is living in has become an oppressive police state, and this means she's in for a lot of trouble.

A masked man calling himself V swoops in just when things are looking really bad for Evey. He saves her from the Fingermen, but this is just the beginning. As well as having a nice line in Guy Fawkes costumes, he talks like an English professor on speed whilst fighting like Zorro. And just to emphasise his intellectual credentials he takes Evey to see his "concert", where he blows up a building, just as it turns November 5th, to the strains of the 1812 Overture.

V For Vendetta is an adaptation of a series of graphic novels originally written in the Thatcherite eighties. But it has even more resonance in the post 9/11 world, where the war against terror is high on the political agenda. Because V, no matter how enigmatic and sympathetic he may be, is essentially a terrorist who is prepared to kill to achieve his goals.

Hugo Weaving makes an impressive V, never faltering in his character's verbal and physical gymnastics. Natalie Portman also makes a good stab at playing the frightened and then determined Evey, although her inaccurate English accent often lets her down. In V For Vendetta we watch her transformation from a scared conformist into a fearless political activist.

Stephen Fry plays the broadcaster, Gordon Deitrich, in the congenial and witty manner that is his trademark. As a nonconformist intellectual he has to take pains to hide his true nature for fear of persecution.

V For Vendetta is full of moving stories of oppression, but perhaps the most important facet of this film is the way it details how freedoms can be lost. It adopts a retro 40's style, borrowing heavily from Nazi imagery, and there's no doubt that the character of the Chancellor Adam Sutler is modelled on Hitler.

This movie is a dramatic and engaging story with lots of style as well as great dialogue. Not only that, it also carries a political message that is as relevant today as it ever has been, told with a rare charm. If you didn't think a terrorist could inspire your sympathy, this may change your mind.

Film Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

If you like this, try:

Little Brother cover    

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
When the state begins to remove the civil rights of ordinary people, a young man takes on the system.

Watchmen cover    

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Masked and costumed heroes investigate the murder of one of their own in this graphic novel.

The Running Man cover    

The Running Man by Paul Michael Glaser
Ben Richards has to run for his life in a sinister game show.

5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson