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V for Vendetta

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: A
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG-13 (for bloody violence)

Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by: Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski
Produced by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Grant Hill and Joel Silver
Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Stephen Fry, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves
Studio: Warner Brothers Pictures

I've never had the pleasure of reading Alan Moore's V for Vendetta series, but if it's anything like the film, I'll be very impressed. Set in a futuristic Britain that's being ruled by a totalitarian government, the film revolves around V (Hugo Weaving), a shadowy freedom fighter with a penchant for anarchy. After rescuing the young and docile Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) from the hands of a couple of nefarious officers, V starts a revolution by blowing up the Old Bailey building. Later that day, V makes himself known to the public by taking over a TV station and broadcasting a message to Britain, urging them to join him in rising up against the tyrannical authorities. Disgusted by his actions, Evey wants nothing more to do with V. But little does she know that she will soon become an integral part of the masked man's plan, which involves detonating the Houses of Parliament. Meanwhile, Inspector Eric Finch (Stephen Rea) begins to investigate the origins of V.

V for Vendetta is much more than the standard actioner. While there is plenty of action, at its core the film is a very intelligent allegory for the state of our government. The world Moore created for his series is brilliant and endlessly fascinating. Films like this and Sin City are perfect examples of how to adapt a graphic novel to the screen. Director James McTeigue did a great job behind the camera, creating a richly detailed and visually impressive work. The many fight sequences featuring V are very well done. The special effects, in particular, are superb.

Hugo Weaving steals every scene he's in. It's hard to make a masked man a sympathetic figure, but he goes above and beyond with his performance. He also proves his eloquence in one of his first scenes, when he uses only words beginning with the letter "v." Great bits of humour like that make the film all the more enjoyable. Natalie Portman, however, outshines everyone as Evey Hammond, playing her as strong yet vulnerable -- qualities of a great heroine. You'll be hard-pressed to dislike this film. I can safely say that you'll be entertained and interested, from beginning to astonishing end. When the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man" began to blast over the end credits, I felt like watching it again immediately. V for Vendetta is a stunning achievement and definitely one of the year's best films.

Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving (the latter hiding behind a mask) in V for Vendetta.
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