The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

V Fails to Win My Heart

with 8 comments

I’m afraid that this is one of those occasions when I disagree completely with the reviewers of IMDB. There are quite a few of them in the case of V for Vendetta – 1904, to be more exact. And they all compete in superlatives, claiming this is an amazing masterpiece, scoring an impressive average of 8,2. I’m definitely not on the same page.

Admittedly I haven’t read the graphic novel by Alan Moore, but I don’t know if that’s an advantage or a disadvantage for the film rating. It seems to me as if the fans of the original aren’t quite  as much into this adaptation, as little as the author himself, who didn’t want to put his name to it in the end.

Now, I’ve always been told that you should give criticism like a hamburger – first some bread, where you say nice things, then the meat when you say those harsh truths, and then you end up with another piece of nice, kind bread.

What I liked
So here’s first some bread – stuff that I liked:

The fireworks. I’ve got this deeply childish love for fireworks. Even if it’s only on a movie, a great firework will always put a huge smile on my face (in real life it even gives me tears of joy, like I got when I saw the ones at Disneyland once in my lifetime; I’ll never ever forget that magic.) Thumbs up for fireworks and for blowing buildings into pieces. Irresistible for a pyromaniac like me.

Similarly I there were some other visually capturing moments, such as the falling domino bricks. A simple trick, but at least it looks nice.

What didn’t work
And now for the middle part. There were many things that didn’t quite work for me, but I’ll keep it short just mentioning two of them:

The way they pictured this dystopian society felt very, very clunky, too exaggerated to believable. More like a child’s play than like a scenario. For instance Never Let Me Go was far more terrifying and disturbing than this world, even though everything there was just hinted. Just because you shout louder it doesn’t mean I hear you better.

Hugo Weaving, who played V, got quite a lot of praise for his performance, but all I could see was how hard it is to play a role when you can’t use any facial expressions whatsoever, since you’re stuck behind a mask all the time. I understand he made an effort to reach through, but I’m afraid it didn’t work on me. I couldn’t help finding the mask quite annoying at times, even though I understand that it’s such an essential part of the story that putting it aside is difficult.

Some more love
Finally as I promised I’ll end with something I liked:

For how silly it is to have Stephen Fry playing the same kind of character in every movie (pretty close to his official “persona”), I must admit that I’ve got some weird sort of crush on him. I gave him a little smile as he entered the show: “hey there, didn’t expect you to be here, good to see you around”. But that’s probably just me.

All in all I think this is one of those movies I’ll quickly forget that I ever saw. But I wouldn’t rule out that I’ll read Alan Moore’s original story at some point in the future.

V for Vendetta (McTeigue, 2006) My rating: 2,5/5

Written by Jessica

July 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

Posted in V for Vendetta

8 Responses

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  1. Like so many other great movies (and I think this is a great movie), it needs to be seen in context. The story was written when Brittain was ruled by Mrs Thatcher and this future did not seem unlikely, but rather imminent (at least certain groups of people). Think 1984’s dystopian society.

    As for the Character of V, I think we just have to disagree, I thought it was an excelent performance.

    Maybe it is because I read the comic before I saw the movie, maybe it is because I thought that Natalie Portman was incredible (and stunningly beautiful). For me, it is one of my top ten movies. Try the comic and see if that doesn’t change your mind about it 🙂



    July 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

    • I wish I had liked it more than I did. It could have been the setting I suppose, something in my mood. Watching it an eventless afternoon as I visited my mother might not have been the best idea. Maybe it would have appeared better in a cinema.

      Regarding the Thatcher theme: do you really think that showed in the movie. I thought it felt a bit americanized, that it didn’t feel all that European.

      About Natalie Portman I couldn’t stop thinking about how insanely thin she was. Maybe she was stunningly beautiful, but to me she looked more than anything else anorectic and miserable, really sick. Which made me a little sad and worried.

      But I might give it another shot at some point on the future, if I’ll stumble upon it a late night on TV.


      July 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm

  2. I found V a strange one. I loved the graphic novel, and there were moments when images fell out of the page into the movie, and did so in a breathtaking fashion. In some ways it held fast, in others, it was forced to lose some beautiful moments. There is a moment in the book*, following Evey’s being freed from imprisonment, where she is led to the roof, and stands, naked in the rain, as if her whole previous existance was being washed away from her, and she was being reborn. I cried the first time I read it.

    I totally agree with Dwism on his take. Natalie Portman was perfect for the role, and Hugo Weaving captured the V I’d read. As for Alan Moore taking his name away, he’s done that with practically everything that’s been based around his works – and I can understand why. For me, V wasn’t perfect. It was as good as we were ever going to get, considering it was being made for a mass audience, not just the fans. But it was a far better interpretation than I initially thought it would be.

    Also, it’s fantastic to see you writing again – thank you for sharing the link!

    *I can’t call it a comic, I just can’t!


    July 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    • I definitely should read the book. I’ve read some graphic novels for grown-ups and I figure I could like this one.

      And thank you for the warm greeting! It’s so good to see you here!


      July 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm

  3. Didn’t like the comics (I can call them comics, Alq). Didn’t like the movie, However, I didn’t like them in the same way. Kind of figured that at least made it a good adaption.


    July 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

  4. It’s an overrated film, for sure, one I find disturbing that tons of young people like as it celebrates terrorism as a viable means of overthrowing governments.

    The graphic novel is much more mature and complicated. I would say it makes out V to be just as evil and unlikable as the government, if not moreso. And the story is much different as the plot develops.

    James Blake Ewing

    July 25, 2011 at 12:47 am

    • I didn’t think all that much about the “celebrating terrorism” aspect of it, but you’ve got a point. And moreso a day like this. I suppose I’me a bit more sensitive to this kind of perspective after the recent events in Norway. And I definitely should check out the novel.


      July 25, 2011 at 12:53 am

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