Plot: What’s it about?
“V for Vendetta” was immediately compared to “Sin City” as this year’s cult hit and after viewing it, I can say that the two don’t really share a lot in common except for the fact that they are and will continue to be cult hits (forgive the run-on sentence)! Comparing the two is apples and oranges, of course, but I will say that “V for Vendetta” did something that not a lot of movies do – it inspired me. Yes, that’s right it actually managed to put a little twinkle in my eye. Something about going against the current and standing up for your beliefs (regardless of how you do it) always manages to move me and though I didn’t shed a tear, I was rooting for “V” from beginning to end. “V for Vendetta” is based off of the popular comic book series “Vertigo” and going back about twenty years when I used to read comics, I remember “Vertigo” being a very outlandish, artistic side of DC comics. Naturally, a big draw of the film is that it was written by Andy and Larry Wachowski who wrote a certain “Matrix” trilogy. Heard of it? If anything screamed “cult classic” it’s these two names. However all of this is window-dressing if you don’t have the talent and the direction to pull it off and “V for Vendetta” has everything and a bit more.
It’s the future and a mysterious plague has enveloped the Earth. Evidently the United States is now all but a leper colony and England has once again risen to a world power. London is the center of all goings on and, in somewhat of a police state, the chancellor (John Hurt) rules with an iron fist. It’s then that we meet “V” (Hugo Weaving), a masked man who wishes to re-instate the patriotic attitude that England had before everything changed. The date is November 5, a symbol of a revolutionary time. “V” makes his mark as he blows up landmarks and takes control of the TV station where he broadcasts his demands. Ending up in the middle of everything is Evey (Natalie Portman). “V” has saved her from being raped just in time for her to witness the spectacle first hand. She reluctantly becomes involved with “V” as his partner-in-crime as he waits until his work is finally finished. Naturally we learn some of the backstory as to what drove “V” to do this sort of thing and he goes on somewhat of a killing spree to avenge what was done to him. Will “V” prevail or will he become a martyr for his beliefs?
“V for Vendetta” really thrilled me and even behind a mask, we sense the charisma of Hugo Weaving. I was reminded of “The Professional” also starring Natalie Portman, in which she was tutored by a lone assassin (Jean Reno) – the movie has the same overall theme in which they must hide in isolation to avoid being hunted and killed by the powers that be. I also have to say that I was pretty impressed by the work of Natalie Portman who sported what I thought was a perfect British accent. Portman has shown that she can do major studio blockbusters (“Star Wars”) as well as independent films. This might sound like a long shot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she got an Oscar nomination for her role here. “V for Vendetta” won’t be for everyone, cult movies rarely are, but take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the ride. I did.
Video: How does it look?
“V for Vendetta” is shown in a gorgeous 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer that really sparkles. This is, for all intents and purposes, a very dark movie and as such there are a lot of nighttime scenes, indoor scenes and just about everything else that could really plague a transfer. Thankfully the errors are minimal and few and far between. I noticed just the slightest bit of artifacting in the background on some of the nighttime scenes, but the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to how this looks. The fleshtones were natural-looking and I noticed no edge enhancement at all. Warner has done the transfer right and I’m hard-pressed to find much more, if anything, wrong with the way it looks.
Audio: How does it sound?
If you’ve ever wanted to hear some great classical music in full Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, well my friends – you’ve found your movie. Aside from the soundtrack, which is just bristling with all sorts of good music, the dialogue is very strong and natural. At several times during the film, the surrounds kick in and really make their presence known. This won’t give anything away, but several things tend to “blow up” during the course of the feature and I’m always amazed at how good an explosion can really sound. Impressive. Not much more can really be said, but it’s a great-sounding track and viewers won’t be disappointed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
“V for Vendetta” is available in a Widescreen and Full-Frame format editions as well as a two-disc special edition. This two disc edition is what we were sent, so let’s get started with the supplements, shall we? The first disc contains the movie and the obligatory “Making of…” documentary entitled “Freedom! Forever!: Making V for Vendetta”. This is, by and large, what every other “Making of…” documentary is, interviews with the cast and crew and a major portion focused on the origin of the story in the DC Comics Vertigo line. The second disc contains four more featurettes: “Designing the Near Future” which looks at the look and feel of London 15 years from now. “Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot” concentrates on the origin of the November 5 section of the story. “England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics” showcases the origin of the story from the comic books. Interesting. I’ll leave the “Cat Power” montage to your imagination and the original theatrical trailer is also included. Considering the cult status of this movie, most fans will opt for the two-disc version, but Warner has certainly showed that they can offer up a more robust selection of supplements when they want to.