‘V for Vendetta’ a brutal fight done right
Don’t let the fact that “V for Vendetta” didn’t get its first choice for a lead actor mislead you: This is not a compromising movie.So director James McTeigue and the Wachowski brothers didn’t get James Purefoy to play V, the title character who’s either a hero, a terrorist or a prankster depending on your point of view. But they got just about everything right in adopting Alan Moore’s graphic novel to the screen.Among those good moves was casting Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from the Wachowskis’ “Matrix” trilogy) as the title character. “A Knight’s Tale” is the only movie I remember seeing that had Purefoy in it, but I can’t remember anything about him.On the other hand, Weaving propels “Vendetta” – no easy task to do from behind a immovable Guy Fawkes mask. But Weaving makes V a commanding presence, a scary antihero certainly, but charismatic enough that I found myself pulling for the murderous anarchist.V’s not really a good guy in any sense, but an antihero in the dark-superhero mold, after a lab experiment went badly and gave him superhuman strength, along with some fairly significant social issues to work through. But to suggest “V for Vendetta” is just another Batman clone would cheapen it: Rather, it references and cribs from the Dark Knight and Darkman, along with such heavier fare as “A Clockwork Orange” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.”The latter sets the mold for V – a swashbuckling terrorist waging a war against a totalitarian government, a concept that’s probably going to make red-state moviegoers uncomfortable these days. The enemy is Orwell’s home, England, and V rages against the machine by battling beat cops in the street and threatening to blow up buildings.His plot on England thickens when he happens upon young television executive Evey (Natalie Portman). Again, viewers are going to expect “V for Vendetta” to take the easy way out after having seen all the various incarnations of superhero movies, but they’d be wise not to expect Evey to be a damsel in distress, or a romance a la “Beauty and the Beast.”It’s not an easy relationship, and it’s not an easy movie. Every compromise in “V for Vendetta” is the result of a hard, brutal fight.
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