V for Vendetta (2005)

v for vendetta poster 2005 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Smart adaptation of Alan Moore's work


Movie Info

Movie Name: V for Vendetta

Studio: Vertigo Comics

Genre(s): Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Drama

Release Date(s): December 11, 2005 (Butt-Numb-A-Thon in Austin, TX)/March 17, 2006 (wide)

MPAA Rating: R

v for vendetta larkhill fire

Vengeance will be mine!

England is being ruled with an iron fist under the Norsefire Party.  The people are frightened, and those who oppose the government are taken away…never to be seen again. When Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) is caught out past curfew, she is saved by an enigmatic man simply called V (Hugo Weaving). Evey is plunged into a world of politics and terrorism and finds herself now a target by the totalitarian government V is trying to destroy.  As V works to rally the people, the High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) tries to maintain control.  The revolution has begun, and V is leading the call.

Directed by James McTeigue, V for Vendetta is a DC-Vertigo comic book adaptation.  The Wachowskis (then credited as the Wachowski Brothers) adapted the film from the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore. It originally was released at the Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival in Austin TX, in December 2005, but then had a full release in March of 2006.  The reviews were mostly positive, but some critics didn’t like the darkness of the story.  It has since gone on to be a cult classic.

v for vendetta evey guy fawkes natalie portman hugo weaving


Alan Moore is difficult to adapt.  Movies like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen failed, while V for Vendetta succeeded.  V for Vendetta has a great script and managed to capture the essence of the comic. Having read V for Vendetta multiple times, I was worried, but it did work.  V’s sing-song-y style of speaking does work better in the graphic novel and the themes of V and 5 are easier to catch, but the movie still does make good use of them.

The film story is slightly different from the comic book story with the film echoing more of a Western control/religious idea, and V petitioning for freedom instead of more basic anarchy.  Moore objected to the change, but the change does create both a more contemporary feel (which is somewhat scary accurate), and it also gives a slightly more positive message of hope and rebirth.

v for vendetta adam sutler killed john hurt hugo weaving


As presented in the story, it doesn’t matter who really plays V, but Evey is very important since she acts as a the template for the people…first in denial and fear of what is really occurring, and then willing and ready to fight after being broken. Portman does a nice job and people love her, but I think they even could have found a stronger Evey if they tried…still she isn’t bad.  The rest of the cast includes Stephen Fry as Gordon Deitrich as a closed homosexual celebrity who sacrifices himself in V’s campaign and Stephen Rea as an officer trying to catch him.  William Hurt flips his role in 1984, and becomes the man in the TV that controls everything…he is Big Brother.

The movie is visually appealing.  The mask makes it tricky to identify with V since he has no face or expression, but the design and look of the film make him a real character.  Like the Wachowskis’ Matrix films, similar special effects are employed (to a much smaller scale in this film (except instead of bullet-time, you get knife-time).  Scenes like V’s “torture” of Evey were hard to buy in the comic and almost harder to buy here, but it allows the filmmaker to have a real noire style of visuals for that segment.

v for vendetta ending guy fawkes masks

Viva la Revolution!

Since its release, V for Vendetta has become a bit of a rallying point for various parties. Guy Fawkes masks show up at every protest. Like Fight Club, the movie is kind of dangerous and that is part of its fun. It is one of those movies that can be used and misused by various groups for radical messages. The idea that V is any man is a message that anyone can take and use for better or worse.  In general, V for Vendetta is a movie you can watch multiple times. It is fun, smart, and looks great.  I like it much better than the Wachowskis’ Matrix films both in style and theme.  Where a movie like From Hell faltered, V for Vendetta gets it right.

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V for Vendetta

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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