Friday, March 17, 2006

On "V for Vendetta"

98.9% of American films made today are like pieces of bubble gum. They are identical, insubstantial, disposable and they promote decay (in the case of films, that's mental decay). Everyone knows this, but for some reason, shit like Steve Martin's lame "Pink Panther" remake continues to rake in million$ in ticket sales.

This leads one to make two conclusions: 1.) intelligent Americans stay home from the theater; 2.) mainstream U.S. audiences have become so easy to please, they'd pay $10.00 a ticket to watch a test pattern, as long as it featured voiceovers by Lindsey Lohan and Tim Allen, and soundtrack “music” by Eminem and Ashley Simpson. The bar for film entertainment has been set so low, it's now lying on the ground.

But fear not, small minority that can walk and chew gum at the same time. If you crave food for thought along with the sugary desserts that are fight scenes and special effects, you're in luck. "V for Vendetta" will satisfy your hunger.

And God only knows why. "V for Vendetta" has more strikes against it than the entire Chicago Cubs lineup in late September. After all, it's based on a "graphic novel" (i.e., a comic book) and those infallibly stink on ice ("Daredevil", "Electra", etc.). The author of the “Vendetta” graphic novel, Alan Moore, disowned this picture and removed his name from its credits. That’s tantamount to a parent disowning his child. Worst of all, “Vendetta’s” producers and the coauthors of its screenplay are the frigging Wachowski Brothers. If you’ve seen parts 2 or 3 of “The Matrix” trilogy, I’ve said enough. If you haven’t, then it’s analogy time. When you can literally see a movie trilogy losing its momentum, like a car that has run out of gas, that’s bad news. “V for Vendetta” should suck. No, it shouldn't just suck. It should suck like a Ben Affleck career retrospective.

But it doesn’t. “Vendetta” features three-dimensional, thinking characters—imagine that! It also contains cultural references and songs which actually serve to define character and atmosphere. Kudos to first-time director James McTeigue, who apparently paid attention in Filmmaking 101 class. Set in a totalitarian England of the future, his production uses political allegory to make a statement about our time, without resorting to the sledgehammer tactics typical of “message” movies. Three guys named Clooney, Haggis and Spielberg should put it at the top of their “To See” lists. Best of all, the film stars Natalie Portman. Portman, unlike most of the actresses of her generation, can truly act. She ain’t hard to look at, neither. You know a woman is beautiful when she can rock the shaved head look. So somehow, against all odds, “V for Vendetta” succeeds at being intelligent, substantial entertainment. And it’s a mainstream American film—damn!

A word to the wise. Your enjoyment of this film will be appreciably heightened if you know a thing or two about a dude named Guy Fawkes and why, each November 5th, Brits use him as an excuse to party like it’s 1605. You can do that by going to for an overview. Then make your friends jealous with the backstory you just “happen” to recall from your sophomore world history class. Only you and I will know that you took advanced P.E. instead.

I hope you enjoy “V for Vendetta” as much as I did. If you don’t, go bitch at Warner Brothers, not at me. Until next time, friends, the multiplex is closed.


Blogger Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Thanks for the review, I think that I will watch it now.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Rebekah Ravenscroft-Scott said...

I totally agree with you about this film. It's thought-provoking, visually interesting and Natalie Portman does a fine job of being both sexy and smart. However, the violence was a bit much (albeit necessary to the plot).

thanks for recommending it!

12:50 PM  

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