V for Vendetta (2005)
Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason & plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. Remember indeed, for we are already veering towards the venomous world this film visualised over a decade ago. Presenting an uncompromising vision of a future that’s beginning to mirror our present, V for Vendetta is a vehemently crafted, voraciously told & vigorously acted cinematic vessel with a valuable & vivified voice that’s as vital & valorous as it is violent & vicious.
Set in the futuristic United Kingdom governed by a neo-fascist totalitarian regime which subjugates its people by violating its volition, the story concerns the voyage of a vigilante who veneers his visage with a veil while vanquishing the venal, virulent vermin through vengeful acts of violence, and finally becomes the vox populi after he attempts to incite a revolution by urging the fellow citizens to stand up against their oppressors. The plot is narrated from the viewpoint of a young woman who plays a valuable role in his venture.
Written by the Wachowskis & directed by James McTeigue in what’s his directorial debut, V for Vendetta is gripping from its opening moments and only gets better as plot progresses. McTeigue’s direction makes sure the vicariously written screenplay reaches its vertex on the film canvas, plus his valiant effort & vivid execution at times exhibits the variegation of a veteran at work. The script is the real deal though, aptly balancing action & drama in a way that makes its political allegories & entertainment factor work viably from the first frame to the last.
The film also takes inspirations from historical images, both factual & fictional, to deliver an authentic sketch of a fascist police state, and the production design team manifests its futuristic version convincingly with referential set pieces. Cinematography encapsulates the streets of London with a bleak tone & dismal aura to illustrate life under a tyrannical rule, while the kinetic camerawork, clever angles & precise lighting add more richness to the frames. Editing bestows the narrative with a closely packed structure that’s engaging from the get-go and unfolds at brisk velocity.
Coming to the acting department, V for Vendetta packs an impressive ensemble in Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman & John Hurt among others, with the trio delivering fabulous inputs in their respective roles. All Weaving utilises is his voice to infuse life & soul into his masked vigilante persona and yet, it proves enough to make his character one of the most charismatic & vindictive icons to grace the silver screen. Portman’s performance is just as compelling, plus her character’s arc is riveting throughout. Hurt takes the role of the chancellor, plays him with volcanic aggression & holds nothing back in his rendition.
On an overall scale, V for Vendetta is one of the finest offerings of its genre that has only gotten more relevant with time, and will continue to do so for a foreseeable future. It’s a cautionary tale that serves us a warning of what can happen when society fails to keep its government in check, and is one thumping reminder that people’s collective voice is still more than capable of dismantling any oppressive system, all it takes is just one person to rise & rebel. A politically charged & viscerally intense viewing experience that’s visually captivating & thought-provoking in equal measure, V for Vendetta has aged like any fine wine and remains one of the best films of its year. Verily worth your time & money, this dystopian political thriller comes very highly recommended.