In 2005, Silver Pictures and Warner Bros. (The Matrix trilogy) made a movie called V for Vendetta, based off of the comic books of the same name. It cost $54 million dollars to make, but made $131,411,035 worldwide by July of 2006 and is #144 on the IMDb top 250.
The basic plot of the movie follows a girl named Evey as her path intersects with the title character. He is essentially a terrorist, but the movie makes you feel sympathetic toward him, since his goal is to start a revolution to overthrow the extremely oppressive government, and at the same time, kill the people responsible for sending him to a camp to be tested on, as a subject intended to die for scientific knowledge. However, he blew up the camp and left, taking the number on the door, V, as his identity. This is the barest level of the plot, but the plot itself is extremely deep, twisting until the very end.However you feel about the Wachowski Brothers after the Matrix trilogy, this movie fully redeems their scriptwriting talents in my eyes.
Natalie Portman plays the role of Evey. While I was unimpressed with her in the Star Wars prequels, she shines here, accurately portraying her character's transition from scared, innocent little girl to freedom fighter heading a revolution that will change everything. Hugo Weaving plays the title role, and while he didn't get to show much emotion in The Matrix, he plays this role with gusto, taking more than a few pages from the Shakespearian acting school. While this is usually a sign of a ham actor, here it fits perfectly with the lines coming from V's mouth, causing both the lines and the actor's motions to flow and complement each other perfectly. Stephen Rea plays Finch, a detective trying to figure out the motive behind V's actions. He plays the role fittingly, portraying not just a man with a job, but an obsession. He chases down every lead, just trying to unwrap the mystery, even if it is not likely to lead anywhere. I could keep going on about the actors, but I'll just wrap it up by saying that no one is a bad actor here.
As I mentioned earlier, the script is incredible. The lines are almost written for the actors. In particular, V's lines are memorable and stunningly deep, for the writers of The Matrix. One example of such a line, followed by an even better exchange, is uttered at the beginning of the movie. Upon being asked by Evey who he is, V replies "Who? Who is but a function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask." She responds, "Well I can see that," and his response to that statement? "Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation. I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man his identity." With these lines, V sets himself up as a deep, intelligent individual, who isn't afraid of engaging in a lively repartee. In many scripts, these lines would be called hokey or stilted. But in this movie, the lines are very poetic, almost beautiful, and that is something that is not seen near often enough in modern movies.
The movie was directed by James McTeigue, as his debut role as the main director, though he had worked on many previous films as assistant director. Honestly, until I looked him up on IMDb, I had no idea that this was his premiere film. He has a gift for knowing when to cut, when to pan, and when to show everything for maximum effect. As a film, it is above average in the directing apartment, beating out several of the dull character dramas easily, but still not quite up to legendary status like Spielberg. But as a debut film, it is absolutely stunning. If this is what he can do in his first movie behind the helm, I cannot wait for his next movies to be released.
The music in the movie is well played, with a couple of uses of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, the second time very emotionally, along with several other pieces by such varied artists as Black Label Society and The Rolling Stones. Every time a new piece of music is played, it fits the mood of the scene very well, never being out of place, and always doing its part to add emotional impact to every scene, whether it be laughter (not very common, but there is a scene with Yakety Sax playing) or tears (very, very common).
This movie is one of the best movies to come out of the year 2005, and is one of the most moving movies based on a comic book. The scriptwriters redeemed themselves, Natalie Portman proved she could act (shocking, I know) and the director proved that he is ready to be the grande fromage on set. This is one movie that I believe everyone should see. It is a bit depressing, but if you are tired of all these mindless action sequels coming out every year, watch this. If you've seen it, watch it again. If you prefer mindless action, watch it anyways to see what you are missing. This is not only one of the best movies of the year, it is one of the best movies I've ever seen. No one should miss it. Assuming they are old enough to not run around trying to blow up the Parliament because of it.