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