V for Vendetta is a 127 minute thriller directed by a debutant director James McTeigue. It explores the realms of crime, politics and terrorism supplemented by superb action scenes and intermittent humor. The story has been inspired from the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Adam Moore and David Lloyd.
The cast includes some very popular names such as Hugo Weaving as the protagonist ‘V’, who is a deadly masked vigilante, Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond, John Hurt as Adam Sutler, the head chancellor of the totalitarian government and Stephen Rea as Inspector Finch.
The movie begins with a brief description of the ‘Gun Powder Plot’ that was principally aimed at blowing up the House of Commons on a November 5 some 400 years ago. The movie goes on to depict how the citizens of England were deprived of freedom and liberty by the totalitarian regime of Norsefire. One of the key scenes show Sutler’s brutes roaming in the curfew imposed streets of London one night and were forcing themselves on Evey who is out there at the wrong place and at the wrong time. She is rescued by V, the guy in dark clothes, a Guy Fawkes mask and six razor-sharp knives, who subdues the attackers in a jiffy. As a token of thanks, Evey accompanies V to the roof to witness the orchestra that V proposed to show her which ultimately turns out to be the blowing up of the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England. The following day V makes his way to a TV station where Evey was an employee and forces the staff to play a recording of his through which he urges the citizens of England to join him in the protest against the dictatorial regime of Sutler. He takes the responsibility of blowing up the Old Bailey and promises to detonate the Parliament on the same day, November 5, next year and by doing so decimating the incumbent government.
Although his face is hidden behind the mask throughout the movie, Hugo Weaving makes his presence strongly felt on the screen by his subtle yet aggressive dialogues and action sequences. Natalie Portman, who shaved her head for the movie in order to shoot a torture scene, has also done a decent job, though she does falter at the British accent a few times. The revelation of facts and unfolding of events is not very fast paced and gives the viewers ample time to gather and assimilate the events so far. The best part about the movie is that it raises some very fundamental questions on the attitude of the citizens towards our governments. Are we willing to sacrifice our freedom and peace for the sake of our security? V rightly asserts that “the people should not be afraid of their governments; the government should be afraid of the people”, highlighting the true spirit of a democratic government which no longer exists and for which the people themselves are responsible.
Yes, V for Vendetta is revolutionary in nature, parlous in character and dangerous in its very spirit. Some may question the cynical nature of V’s actions but there is always a bigger picture that V tries to bring out. It is the simple fact that when people eventually rise to the occasion after years of suppression, no power can be potent enough to control that outburst. The thriller doesn’t instigate you to protest but forces you to think and introspect and to shed your cloak of impotency when the circumstances demand so.