Thursday, March 16, 2006

Review: V for Vendetta

Visually spectacular, vibrant, volatile, violent, V for Vendetta (sorry, can't resist adding all the v's) is an unexpected masterpiece from the genre of graphic novel adaptations. I had expected it to be good, but not THIS good. The action sequences are top notch, and though the film was written by the Wachowski brothers, you won't end up thinking that the fighting style is just a rehash of what you've seen in The Matrix. In his directorial debut, James McTeigue creates an artful film whose pace never slows, and whose power (in terms of both the messages and the visuals) grips you and never lets go. It's one of the more emotionally involving adaptations of a graphic novel to have been released recently, given how timely the themes (i.e. terrorism, repressive governments, etc.) are. And even if you don't end up thinking, "Hey, that situation seems familiar," you can't help but be drawn into the world that Alan Moore has so brilliantly created and that McTeigue has adapted with respectful creativity. While Stephen Rea, John Hurt, and of course Hugo Weaving turn in highly commendable performances (you won't get to see Weaving's face, but with that voice, who needs to be seen to be felt?), it is Natalie Portman who shines in the film. Her performance is nothing short of brilliant, allowing her to show a range that many older actresses would envy. The film works on all levels. "Remember, remember the 5th of November." Watch this film and it's something you won't soon forget. Grade: A

To the Academy: Remember, remember V for Vendetta come nomination time. I loved this film and Natalie in it so much that I'm adding a new section to the sidebar of my blog: my own FYCs. While I'd love to see the film itself up for a Best Picture award and think it worthy of such a recognition, my first FYC will be Natalie Portman for Best Actress. Remember, remember...

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