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Underrated classics: ‘V for Vendetta’

“V for Vendetta” graphic novelist, Alan Moore, denounced the film upon its release for its radical changes to source material. (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Owen Johnson
Connector Staff

In memory of John Hurt, 1940 – 2017.

Set in dystopian England in the late 2020s, the Norsefire party has turned the United Kingdom into a fascist police state. The party, currently presided over by High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt), comes under attack by a masked vigilante known only by his alias of V (Hugo Weaving).

The ongoing theme of the film is that while people will change and die, an idea will live on. This is displayed most through the title character of V. Other than a mild amount of backstory and giving the audience a sense of his intelligent and personality, there is not much else that is said about who he is.

No name, no information about who he was before the rise of the Norsefire party, not even his face is ever shown. This is alright and this is good, because V is supposed to represent an idea, so the less that is known about him the better.

All of the elements dealing with the fascist government were well executed, and most of the credit for that goes to screenwriters Lilly and Lana Wachowski. There is a lot of information spread out about the world the film is set in and why things are the way they are. It would have been very easy for these details to just get forgotten about while writing, but all of it gets incorporated.

All of the dialogue from the scenes featuring members of the Norsefire party is very organic and believable without being overly complicated or simplified. When High Chancellor Sulter speaks to his council, it is a scenario that is completely believable and has probably happened in government systems like that of the Norsefire party.

The only major faults with the story are a number of coincidences throughout the movie. They are certainly for thematic reasons as opposed to needing to propel the story along. A number of backstory elements that seem coincidental turn out to be part of a connected agenda, thus making the coincidences unimportant and not detrimental in the grand scheme of the story.

While the movie is very well written and has a lot of well executed ideas going around, the incredible acting jobs by most of the performers helps elevate the film. While Weaving is very convincing as the intelligent and rebellious V, Hurt also does a marvelous job.

Performers who are also worth noting are Stephen Fry as Gordon Deitrich, a comedian talk show host, and Stephen Rea, the head police investigator of the Norsefire party. The only person who is bad in her role is Natalie Portman, whose acting is completely unconvincing and actually hurts the scenes she is in.

“V for Vendetta” is another film about a dystopian future where people revolt against their malevolent system, though it makes up for its unoriginal and overused genre with ease and feels like an original take.
Final Grade: A

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