V for Vendetta (2005) (R)

Anything the Wachowski siblings do seems to have huge amounts of philosophy thrown into it. They self-proclaim that they enjoy putting the works of philosophers in their films. Whether it was their first big film "The Matrix" or the film that made everyone scratch their heads, "Cloud Atlas"...philosophical aspects live under the film of the picture. With "V for Vendetta" the government is attacked by the director/writer team.
The world that they create in "V for Vendetta" resembles the world created by George Orwell in 1984—it's tyrannical and the leader is slightly despotic.
There are round table meetings that are shot in almost complete darkness with the leader's pupils entirely black. The imagery is slightly comic book style but that's expected with the Wachowskis.
In this totalitarian society we are hovering over a young British girl named Evey. She is walking the streets after curfew one night when a group of men start to corner her with nefarious purposes. Right when things seem the bleakest, out of nowhere comes a man with a mask and a cape and he rescues her. He quickly vanquishes the men and then gives Evey a speech punctuated with alliterative words that begin with "v". This man calls himself "V" and thinks that its his job to take down the government.
He takes Evey under his tutelage and shows her the hypocrisy and monstrosities of the government.
The rest is simply politics and the 1812 overture.
There is a lot that makes "V for Vendetta" work—the action of the mysterious man V, references to "The Count of Monte Cristo", Stephen Fry, and a dynamic police duo.
The Wachowskis could have gone big and loud with this movie but instead tried to make it more intimate and smarter, and they succeeded. It could have been like the rough slasher "Sin City" which is like a fine wine...not everybody appreciates it in its full. "V for Vendetta" on the other hand, is more easily digestible, but in a good way.
Hatred for government and rebellion are very common themes. There are some scenes in this movie that are reminiscent to the rebellion scenes in "Doctor Zhivago" and it would seem that they are roughly based on those scenes; but in both films they work so who am I to complain?
Natalie Portman plays Evey and although she's not at her best here, she's still really good—shaving her head for the role and becoming fully devoted to it. What I like about the movie is how it doesn't have her turning into a Ripley-esque action character. Her character doesn't morph that much which feels very realistic.
There's a lot to take in with "V for Vendetta" which makes it the perfect movie to watch multiple times. Symbolism and visual metaphors occasionally pop up but though the more hard-core film addict would jump on those I would argue that the story arc itself is more important than the little details.
The movie is exciting in parts, like when V storms a building and broadcasts his message to the world.
The film is also touching in parts like the backstory of a broken woman, imprisoned for being different.
Though the sentiment and philosophy can be heavy handed at times; "V for Vendetta" is a solid film throughout that can be enjoyed more than once.

Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

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