Great Movie Reviews



Action, Drama, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Remember, Remember The 5th of November.

STARRING: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt
DIRECTED BY: James McTeigue
WRITTEN BY: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Dave Gibbons, Alan Moore
PRODUCED BY: Joel Silver, Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
DISTRIBUTED BY: Warner Brothers
RATING USA... Rated R for strong violence and some language.
RATING CANADA... Rated 14A for strong violence and language

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"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
V FOR VENDETTA has captured the pulse of today on so many levels that it may just cause quite a stir if people really pay attention to this political statement/satire disguised as a science fiction drama. When Alan Moore wrote his comic of the same name, he was trying to perpetrate his usual digs against the Margret Thatcher government, with whom he had a real dislike. Moore tackled his paranoia about the government of the time. The only thing is, governments have gotten so much worse since the 1980's when the comic was written. Since I'm sure Moore could not have predicted September 11, he didn't know just how much more our personal liberties would be eroded by governments sitting in their own stew pot of fear. Yes terrorism has made us much more fearful for our safety and governments trying to protect their own asses have taken more liberties with our liberties. There are things that the writers, the Wachowski Brothers have included that were not big issues in the 80's but today they could cause a stir similar to those instigated by the Mohammad political cartoons. The film borrows liberally from Nazi Germany, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and obviously from George Orwell's 1984
"Are you ready to co-operate?"
Intrigued? Well hang on I'll get to it soon. Really I shant forget. First I must give some credit to the Vertigo Comic/Trade Paperback. The comic was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Llyod back in 1988, I believe. I hadn't read it since then but I purchased a copy of the trade back because I wanted to see how well the Wachowski Brothers adapted it to the screen. The basic permise is there as well and plenty of scenes were lifted right from the book not only in content but in style, right down to what the comic characters actually wore. The explosive ending in the movie, I found much more satisfying than the actual art; what an ending indeed. So maybe before the movie comes out you may want to pick up a copy so that you can have something to compare the move to. It is a book that works both on the screen and in the comic magazine. I was certainly glad I didn't read Moore's FROM HELL before it was turned into the Johnny Depp film of the same name. Now, there was a book that would never have adapted to the big screen, but V FOR VENDETTA like SIN CITY was just meant for the screen almost the way it was written

"The truth is there is something terribly wrong with this country."
The story begins in the near future in a totalitarian Britain. The story centers around a number of characters who become or were intertwined with each other over the course of a year. The main story tells the tale of a young working class girl named Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) who is rescued from near death situation by a masked man named V. The mask for those who will wonder is the representation of Guy Fawkes, a Protestant born in Northern England on April 13, 1570 but converted to Catholicism at the age of 16. As a young man he enlisted in the Spanish army where he worked with explosives as a gunpowder packer. When King James I (a Protestant who was the sovereign to control England, Ireland and Scotland simultaneously) took the throne, England was religiously intolerant towards Catholics, and punished it's practice. Disappointed that King James had not kept his promise to stop the persecution of Catholics he began to promote an uprising. It is not certain whether the plot was to destroy the House of Parliament or kill King James himself in hopes of a more Catholic friendly royal would ascend to the throne. He made a pact with others in regards to the gunpowder plot which was sanctified with a mass. The plot began around 1604, but by March of 1605 a cellar was rented beneath the House of Parliament and Fawkes was assigned the task of filling the room with 36 barrels of gunpowder which were hidden under iron bars and other metals. The story can get long here so suffice it to say that on the afternoon of Monday November 4th during an inspection of the cellars, Fawkes was discovered waiting to carry out the plot. Upon further investigation he was arrested and by January of 1606 he and his conspirators were hung, drawn and quartered. The ultimate result of the Gunpowder Plot was to provoke more hostilities against all English Catholics and not until 200 years later was there a semblance of religious equality. To this day it is law that no monarch can be Roman Catholic and be the ruler of England. Over the years when Guy was burned in effigies the dummy would be wearing a brightly coloured mask, that was to represent Fawkes, the Pope and the Devil. If you want a more detailed account read some history books. This of course will give you enough information to understand some of the goings on and the flashback of Guy Fawke's hanging..

"I'm a god fearing Englishman and I'm Damned proud of it."
The film starts off in what I believe is around 2020, in newsreel fashion explaining what has happened in the world before the movie's timeline begins. England is once again the major world power, it seems. The United States has fought a war in the Middle East and is now in disarray and hurting badly with vice, corruption and civil war. The U.S. is now the world's largest leper colony to the rest of the world and it is blamed for much of what has happened. Hints of a religious war are everywhere. Guess with whom. To give you a big hint, the Koran is banned and illegal to possess in Britain. When Evey sees that a friend has a copy of the Koran secreted in his collection, she warns him he could be executed if the government agents ever found the religious tome. Well guess what they do and he is executed. Considering what is happening around the world with Muslim's at this time, these scenes may spark some indignation and further really piss off a lot of Muslims. They may see it as the further promoting of religious intolerance against Muslims. The movie is clear that religion has not been banned as they do much in God's name, so it seems only one religion has been picked on in the film. This of course is written by American writers, so not much more need be said.

"This is exactly what he wants."
I certainly enjoyed the script to V FOR VENDETTA. I found it well written and V's dialogue was especially very articulate and eloquent, with quotes from Shakespeare and Goethe. It is a story of a country held hostage by men who think they know what is best for everyone else...hmmm....seem familiar you. The land is in curfew with serious consequences if caught outside after hours. The government listens to everything you do and say; they control the media and even have mysterious men in black who appear and whisk you away never to be seen again; they are appropriately called the Black Bags. There is even a special secret police called the Fingermen, whom needless to say finger you when you break governmental rules. There is a regular police force, that handles the day to day crime but they too are under the thumb of government leaders. The state routinely imprisons homosexuals and illegal immigrants. The country is a dark and nasty place to live but the people accept it because of the world's brutality or so they think.

"Have mercy."
"Not tonight."
The fascist government is run by a very nasty dictatorial Chancellor, Adam Sutler, played by John Hurt. His right hand man is a dour gentleman called Creedy (Tim Pigott-Smith). After World War III has come and gone, these two managed to reign in the chaos by using fear, force and faith. The entire nation of Great Britain has become a new world under the insidious rule of these two men and their henchmen. Now, in their way, is a mysterious, swashbuckling masked figure who asks his fellow country men to remember the 5th of November and tells them truths about their government and he requests that those who care, join him at the destruction of the Parliament Buildings the next year on November 5th. Needless to say this gives V the year to prepare everyone and to take his revenge on those that made him what he is and to expose the real and awful truth behind the hundred thousand deaths that lead to this government taking power.

"...and I want him to understand what terror really means."
The perpetually masked V is played by Hugo Weaving. The actor never once shows his face, we only hear his voice and that makes his performance even more remarkably rich as he has to portray all the emotions needed without it once showing on his face. In flashback scenes we see what happened to him when he was a prisoner/patient in a government medical detention facilty. He was patient roman numeral five, hence the V. This special and extraordinary patient is born in a spectacular explosion and fire special effect. He knows things that others were never aware of and now his job is to let them know what the government is hiding from it's people. During the year he carries out his revenge and uses guile and deception to turn these evil men against each other for their mutual self destruction.

"What if the worst biological attack wasn't by religious extremists?"
V lives in what seems to be catacombs at one point but it seems he lives in a very secure and secret building. The rooms to his home are filled with relics of the past and items that the government has banned. He seems to worship the past in the form of books, movie posters and especially films; his favourite being THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. This is used to explain his use of swords and his deadly knives which he employs to slash his way through many a Fingerman and Black Bag. These collectables add a nice touch to the film and show that he admires the past with it's freedoms. The other important character who is similar to V in his love for the past is Gordon Deitrich (Stephen Fry). He is a television host with many secrets and a great disdain for Sutler and his government. He is a collector as well so his secrets can get him executed. Like V he takes an interest in protecting his friend Evey. With her example and those of V's he makes it clear he is gay and also decides on a choice for his highly rated comedy talk show that will eventually lead to his arrest. Once Creedy gets his hands on him he discovers Gordon's secret collections including the copy of the Koran. His fate is sealed but not before he makes sure Evey is safe.

"Fear became the ultimate tool in this government."
As the plot moves forward a new and unwilling voice for the people is dragged into V's machinations. Stephen Rea in the role of Chief Inspector Finch enters into the story investigating murders committed by V only to be lead and eventually used by the masked avenger for the people to help topple it's leaders. Rea plays the character well with an aloofness and with an obvious disdain for his leaders even though he believes he should follow their orders. Eventually, he has to decide who is he really working for...the government or the people of his once proud and free nation. By story end he has to make a choice, one that will affect his countries future or bow to party line.

"This country need more tan a building right now. It needs hope. "
High Chancellor Sutler rules his country with an iron hand. With fear and intimidation he keeps what he believes to be the unruly in line. We are never really told whether he sincerely believes what he spouts or whether he just craves power. I did not get that impression from Hurt's portrayal, but either way he intends to keep peace in his country through terror and fear. When V first makes his presence known to all, he does so by blowing up the Old Bailey to the tune of the 1812 Overture over loud speakers around the city. In his frustration, Sutler bans the song forever from the country. He intends to maintain control of the people anyway he must. The one man he can not control is Creedy, the one who controls the nasty Fingermen and Black Bags. They are to men who do the dirty work. Very quickly into the story we learn that Creedy is more powerful then Sutler believes; a fact that V uses to his advantage when the time is right to do so.

"Die, die!!! Why won't you die?"
"Ideas are bulletproof."
Evey is the every man/woman of the piece. To V she represents the citizens and their capabilities to endure and persevere through the tyranny and oppression. Evey is the one character who evolves in this film. The film rides on her back much more than it would seem at first. She is not V's sidekick. She must become V's ally in the culmination of his plot to bring the much sought after freedom and justice that their society once more. To do this Evey must undergo torture and imprisonment to uncover the truth about herself and V' mysterious background. For those not having read the book will be surprised at just how important she is to the story. V is the catalyst of freedom but Evey is the final solution.

"Words will always retain their power."
As the end of the movie approaches on the 5th of November there are powerful images of thousands of V's marching on to the parliament buildings that are surrounded by bewildered soldiers. What do they do? Do they kill their own citizens or will they succumb to the will of the people. Spend the bucks to see the film, you will find it well worth while. One thing is not to go into this film expecting to see a rehash of the Wachowski Brothers MATRIX TRILOGY because you may be disappointed at first, until you see that it is a film that will stand on it's two legs.

"Words will always retain their power."
During the special screening I took the time to wait through the credits as their was an interesting song at the end. I'm not sure if it was entitled, "The Beginning At Last." I will find out for sure when the soundtrack cd comes out as I will be purchasing it as well as purchasing the DVD. A few lines from the song intrigued me. I can not remember them all but I do remember one line..."It is criminal not to teach themselves to defend themselves." I will leave you now to think about the implication of that line in our society. See you where the light flickers across the screen.

"The only thing we both have in common Mr. Creedy is our deaths."
"Who was he? "
"He was you and me. He was all of us. "

Vincent Marchesano also known as Vince enjoys watching all types of films and enjoys reviewing them. At an early age he became enamoured with motion pictures especially horror films, fantasy films and science fiction films. His tastes quickly were amended to include all other film genre, from westerns to romances and epic films from all over the world. His taste in films became wide and eclectic as was his taste in music. He loved to watch Movie Classics, Feature Films, American Movie Classics, monster movies, Canadian Movie Classics, Classic Movies, War Films, American Movies of all types, Canadian Movies, Adventure movies, action movies, featuring especially John Wayne. His interest in Classic Films began with the Marx Brothers films and with the 1920's Lon Chaney version of Phantom of the Opera Movies. He soon began reading about Film Stars and Directors in American Films and Italian films which gave him a great appreciation for Orson Welles and Fredrico Fellini, THe advent of video tapes brought him a whole new appreciation for, American Movies, Classic Cinema, American Cinema, Films, Hollywood, Movies, Classic Hollywood, Film Reviews, Black and White Movies, Silent Films, Silent movies,Actress, Actors, Westerns, Horror, Hollywood Drama, science Fiction, Drama, Comedy, Sex, terror, Adventure, Monster movies, Thrillers, thrill, Hollywood Stars, , Motion Picture, Show, horror movies, Talking Pictures, Hollywood Documentary and War Movies. Moving Picture viewings were no longer limited to Silver Screens of repetoire Movie Theaters where he was introduced to Technicolor Films, action films, suspense, suspense movies as 35mm features. At these cheap theatres that dotted the landscape 35mm, 35mm movies and 16mm movies became his inspiration which helped his story telling when drawing his super hero comic strips as well. The new digital age brought in dvds,digital movies,videos, tapes which he could watch in the comfort of his home. His interest in films at one point brought him into the theatrical exhibition field where he ran several discount houses as well as art theaters and drive-in movie theaters. He quickly realized that he was not happy with how most reviewers reviewed films he was showing. This lead him in the idea of writing more industry friendly Movie reviews. His movie review were reviewed within their own categories. Gone were reviews where Godzilla would be compared to some Fellini film. He believed that horror movies should be compared to other horror and fantasy films. Romance movies should be compared to other films of that genre. Vince very rarely disliked any film except for his great disdain for Existenz and Scenes From A Marriage. He can watch King Kong, The Great Escape, Bringing up Baby, Marx Brothers and Killer Klowns From Outer Sapce over and over. He likes to enjoy many classics such as Citizen Kane and Wizard of Oz but he has a soft spot for cartoons which he can watch over and over especially Betty Boop and Popeye along with all the warner Brother characters. He know continues to review films at a slower pace due to lack of time but he promises to do more. So many films to watch, so little time, but where there is a will there is a way.