V for Vendetta: Movie Review

V for Vendetta is a work of art directed by James McTeigue and produced by Silver Pictures, Virtual Studios, and Anarchos Productions Inc. Some actors in the film are Natalie Portman as the heroine Evey Hammond and Hugo Weaving as the charismatic and mysterious V. 

You are watching a movie. There is a woman on a roof, clutching at her flowing coat as a vigilante with a Guy Fawkes mask gazes out onto the streets of a dystopian London. He monologues, the lilt and timbre of his voice drawing you in with the woman as he bashes his broken society, his pain hidden behind a mask of righteousness. He tells the woman that it is almost time (time for what, you do not know) but you listen as though he speaks to you directly, scooching forward in your seat and staring at the dark vision until suddenly, the clock strikes midnight. It is November 5th, a date you don’t recognize but important nonetheless. He asks if you can hear the music, lifting his arms like the conductor of a silent orchestra as he calls for the strings. For a second, you think he’s insane, that is until you start hearing the triumphant chords of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” You, like the citizens of this London, are confused, until the camera focuses on the ironic statue of justice and the music reaches its trembling crescendo over the speakers and finally, the statue along with the building beneath explodes. It bursts into shards flying through the air with a backdrop of fireworks, streaking across the sky and curving into the letter V.

V for Vendetta is nothing less than a cinematic masterpiece, with stunning cinematography, a terrifying yet realistic dystopia, and authentic and utterly human characters that bring the story and the tragic hero’s journey to life. The movie follows a woman named Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), the daughter of political activists attempting to live her ordinary life amid a totalitarian, neo-Nazi England when she meets a masked vigilante by the name of V (Hugo Weaving). This begins a sequence of events where she further learns to distrust her government, learning of the wretched acts it has committed to maintain “peace” and prevent “chaos.” V claims that in one year, he will blow up the British Parliamentary building and within that year, he begins a carefully planned, Count of Monte Cristo-esque revenge spree, killing the people in power that wronged him while also maintaining his charismatic and poetic persona. 

What I love most about this film, especially watching it in the middle of the modern-day, is the eerie realism of the dystopia pictured. The London witnessed in the film is led by an ultra-conservative, fascist, totalitarian Chancellor that wants to control society and annihilate any political unrest. No one is allowed to keep religious writings such as the Coran, groups such as gay people are hunted and killed, and there is a secret police known as the Fingermen, that hides among the populus, spying for the government and abusing their power with no particular consequences. To me, this is a nightmare society, but a society I could see happening. It is not a fantasy, but a scarily realistic alternate future that although extreme, can be seen as a terrifying threat of what a once democratic government could become. Not to mention, in light of current events, as people march in the streets fighting for their right to live, as the president calls to “dominate” them and send in the military, as Anonymous comes out from hiding to fight for justice, it is truly terrifying to see that some of the chords of this tyrannical future ring eerily true. This realism within a fantastical setting makes the setting as effective as it could possibly be. 

However, amid this darkness and fear, there is a shining force, a one-man army that goes by the name V. The character of V is nothing less than poetic. He is introduced first with fast-paced action, and second with beautiful, violent poetry where he continually repeats the sound “V.” If I did not know any better, I could have easily assumed that the lines came directly out of Hamlet or some other Shakespearean tragedy. Throughout the film, even as the audience knows nothing of V’s origins, they cannot help being drawn in by his charisma and passion. He truly believes that he is doing right by himself and all others sacrificed by his government. His revenge, to him, is divine justice for those who have wronged him, and thus, I could not help rooting for him. 

In several moments in the film, V reminded me of the Count of Monte Cristo, the beast from Beauty and the Beast, and several other literary figures. I liked that his unwavering resolve and ideals were also a bit of a hindrance in some points of the film, shattering what relationships he could have made. This makes him more human than he appears. When V is seen with his mask and when he speaks for the audience, it is easy to see him as a god or idea, but he is in fact a man and his flaws make that abundantly clear. 

Evey Hammond, on the other hand, goes through tremendous emotional growth throughout the film, transforming from a scared woman hiding in the backdrop of her society to a revolutionary, fearless and determined in the face of adversity. Throughout the film, she undergoes an unbelievable amount of trauma, but nevertheless, she persists, growing stronger than she or the audience could ever have imagined. 

The cinematography of this film is breathtaking, with stunning red, black, and white visuals and aesthetically pleasing, artistic backdrops. Every scene in the movie is a work of art that captivates its audience. Even V’s murders are beautiful, marked with a single, red rose laying on the victim’s chest. Overall, the cinematography added all the more to the movie, not only telling a story, but also becoming art all on its own. 

Quite frankly, what I loved most about this movie was the way that one man could influence an entire nation to revolt against a totalitarian government. It gave me hope for humanity because although it can be hard to see sometimes, people do have compassion for each other and they will fight for each other if need be. I would go into more detail, but that would spoil the entire movie. 

I would absolutely, without a doubt, recommend this movie to anyone and everyone. I loved this movie because it had a beautiful story composed of revenge, revolution, and romance. It has an eye-catching anti-hero with a strong heroine, all captured with stunning visuals against a dread-inducing setting. With beautiful cinematography, realistic and poetic characters, and a terrifying dystopia, this film is compulsively watchable and I highly recommend it.