V for Wicked
Cast: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt, Stephen Rea
Director: James McTeigue
Storyline: A rebel with a mask takes on a fascist regime, the Guy Fawkes way.
Bottomline: Must-watch on DVD.
Movie-buffs, especially the Wachowski Brothers’ fans, will rebel against what the local distributors have done to this movie: Tastelessly cut about one-third of the 132-minute long film. It’s unfair to the vision of the filmmakers and the version to be released nearly a year after it was intended for, makes little sense in the mutilated form.
The DVD version, that runs for a little over two hours, shows you what a fine film this actually is.
Suitable only for mature audiences, this film just happened to release at the wrong time. It has released when the world sees acts of rebellion as glorified terrorism. Precisely one of the things that could go against Rang De Basanti when viewed by the members of the Academy.
But with a little open-minded approach and the in-built in-film justification that: “Artistes use lies to tell the truth while politicians tell lies to cover it,” you might see the point the W Brothers are trying to make in today’s volatile world where coups are staged, power is seized, minorities are witch-hunted and biological warfare is in the cans.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of the people,” goes the mission statement of the film that uses the superhero donning the Guy Fawkes mask as a mascot of rebellion and the voice of dissent. Though loosely based on the Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the 80s, the film tries to make the setting contemporary and relevant by taking digs at America and the way news is fictionalised to back up the government.
Over 400 years after Guy Fawkes was found with 36 barrels of gunpowder in a tunnel below the Parliament, the idea returns in the form of the masked Monte Cristo who calls himself V (Hugo Weaving). V saves the meek Evey (Natalie Portman) from the corrupt cops after she breaks the curfew. And before she knows it, she’s on the run, wanted by the government.
Evey represents everybody, the common man. She wants change but is scared to do anything for it.
V for Vendetta is all about the liberation of the common man to fight for freedom.
The bit about how power dictates ideology and the Western Classical Overtures set to acts of violence in a futuristic London do remind you of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ but the similarity ends there.
V for Vendetta will never be a classic in the league of Kubrick’s work but it is still a very watchable film for its well-written lines delivered flawlessly by Hugo Weaving, a first-rate Natalie Portman blowing your mind with her vulnerable intensity and the slick and stylish visual effects-enhanced action sequences.
The pace does slow down in the middle indeed but the details are essential to the narrative.
Rent out the original double-disc DVD. It’s cheaper than the ticket.
Eminently watchable! I liked it too. You’re right about Hugo Weaving delivering his lines – perfect.
i watched it on my flight to europe. i am glad that i dint watch it in india…because it has a very strong indian feel to the narrative. somehow i felt the protagonist could have been arjun or anil kapoor or kamal hassan. it just dint go down well with me.
arvinda kissna :
early bird… here, go eat worms.
well, i said in the very first line of the review that this is for fans of the Wachowski brothers. It’s a cult, a niche audience but we are a very faithful bunch. 🙂
I don’t quite agree with your point on timing. One of the messages this movie intends to convey itself is that a revolutionary can be mistaken for a terrorist.
It was a good movie in itself. But considering they had the graphic novel to work with, they could have done a better job. True, Alan Moore disassociated himself with the movie (unsurprising, considering both From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were both nothing short of sacrileges toward his works) they didn’t have much to choose from, but they took too many liberties with the plot. But thankfully, the general idea of the GN was preserved. Maybe a little Ron Howard-style drama in some parts could have done it.
Good one, but I prefer the GN by a mile. I gather a Watchmen movie is on the cards. That’s my favourite work of Moore. I hope sincerely that it doesn’t get made.