Imagine a graphic novel. Characters drawn boldly, and painted with firm brushstrokes. Speech bubbles, thoughts, movements- all characterised on paper down to the very last detail. And then imagine a movie adaptation. And consider, just for a moment, that it could stay faithful to its graphic novel counterpart.
That’s exactly what V For Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, does. It’s almost as if I could feel the pages of the actual graphic novel in the movie, and in that respect, it’s strikingly similar to Sin City.
V For Vendetta, which is, of course, based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same name, is about a man in a Guy Fawkes mask, called V, fighting back against a totalitarian government, and Evey Hammond’s role in his life, and in his revolution.
V, played by Hugo Weaving, is charismatic, chilling, intense, sarcastic – he is one man who dares to stand up to fascist, oppressive rule. He captures Moore’s words perfectly, his theatrical dialogue deliveries left me speechless. His ability to deliver the strongest lines with absolutely perfect emotion is marvellous to watch. And considering that he does not have access to moving viewers with facial expressions (his face is covered by a mask throughout the movie), his performance is astoundingly good. Watch out for the scene where he meets Evey for the very first time- the famous ‘V’ speech. It’s bound to make you want to give him a standing ovation, right in your room.
Natalie Portman plays Evey, and her emotional range and sheer talent for playing varied roles is, in a word- fabulous. She is fantastic as Evey, the woman who plays an instrumental part in the bringing down of the British government.
In the movie, the subplots are removed, bits are changed here and there, but the idea, as V would be proud to say, remains the same. The film has some spectacular action sequences – watch out for the scenes of buildings being blown up, V’s fight scenes, and my personal favourite – the Domino scene.
There are many reasons why this film is a must-watch: its amazing visual effects, a brilliant climactic sequence, and a great background score by the Oscar-nominated Dario Marianelli. Not to forget the outstanding acting, not just by Weaving and Portman- but the other actors, too – Stephen Fry, Stephen Rea, and John Hurt.
And of course, the fact that the movie has such a meaningful political statement behind it makes it one of a kind.
What truly matters, in revolution? Is it the man who lives and dies for its cause, or is it the idea, the motivation? Watch V For Vendetta, and decide. While the romance is subtly understated, the political and social allegory take first priority, and that is what makes this film a classic- and relevant to any time, any place.
You will realise that V is not just a man, but is an idea, a very powerful symbol. You can destroy a person, but the ideas he lives for and believes in, are indestructible. One man can make a difference, and if citizens stand united, change can be achieved. In a world that's ruled by oppression of all kinds, V For Vendetta sends a strong inspiring message- it needn't necessarily be about totalitarian rule, but we need to question the government's working, we need to stop taking things for granted, and start taking proactive measures.
But leaving aside the interpretation of the movie in light of today's times, this movie stays with you long after you've finished watching it. And if you're questioning whether the graphic novel is better than the movie, or whether V is a hero or a terrorist- you've lost the point. Because V For Vendetta is a rock-solid, honest film, which is, I should say, more than a film- like the graphic novel, it is a statement.