V For Vendetta. Also for Vow. And Voo-hoo!

Remember, remember, the 5th of November

V For Vendetta movie poster 1 - Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFirst of all, let me just say that I have not read the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd from which this movie was adapted.

This is normally a good thing. Not having any pre-conceived ideas about the story usually helps me immerse myself in the movie rather than analyse every other scene in comparison with the source material. This method allowed me to enjoy the Harry Potter movies (I have yet to read a single Potter book – and at a price of RM 90+ per book, I’m unlikely to ever buy one either) as well as Constantine, which I though was a pretty decent flick.

The only exception to this rule was the Lord Of The Rings movies, which, thankfully, I enjoyed immensely despite knowing much of Tolkien’s book version by heart.

Purchasing Tickets Online

Now, before I go on to my amateurish, half-baked review, let me first tell you about a related little technological gem that warmed my heart and will undoubtedly empty my wallet in the future.

It is GSC‘s latest online application, the Cinema Ticket Online Purchase facility. This Flash-based application allows you to purchase tickets to the movie of your choice, as well as selecting your seats, from your PC. Purchase is made with a credit card. You can find all the how-to instructions at this FAQ section. (Oh, and you might need to upgrade your Flash plugin to the latest version to be able to use this facility.)

Do note that this is a pilot project and is currently only valid for the GSC screens at 1-Utama. Also, unlike the normal ticket reservations facility, this is NOT a booking facility – it’s an outright purchase. When you use this app, you actually BUY the tickets right there and then through your PC. If you don’t show up for the movie, the money’s not refunded.

Since I currently don’t have any credit cards, I used my dad’s to purchase tickets via the website. I chose seats at the back of the cinema, right smack dab in the centre of the row. Perfect place to watch a movie.

Then I just showed up at the cinema with my buddy (barely 10 minutes before the movie started) and proceeded to the ticketing kiosk, touched a few buttons on the touch-screen monitor, slotted in the credit card with which I made the purchase, entered my GSC website user ID and voila! The tickets were printed out and we were all set. All done in less than a minute.

If you’re someone who is into ‘impulse-movie-watching’, then obviously you won’t be using this facility. But if you are, like me, someone who plans his movie-watching schedule at least a few days beforehand (what to watch, where to watch, at what time, with whom will I be watching it), you will find this a very very useful tool.

The Movie

As is usual with any review: Beware of spoilers!

“People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.”

V For Vendetta movie poster - Image Hosted by ImageShack.usA quick summary of the flick would be: Excellent. Brilliant. Masterful performance from Hugo Weaving. Emotional and stirring performance from Natalie Portman. Seven thumbs way way up.

From the very beginning of the movie, when a rabid nationalist appearing on the telly rails away at immigrants and disease and other undesirable foreign elements, you instantly know that this is not your average mindless wannabe-blockbuster flick. This one’s got some serious intellectual talking points, a commentary of the state of affairs of the world today couched in some clever dialogue (brilliantly enunciated by Hugo Weaving) and some furious action, all combined with tight editing and a fast-moving plot laced with MTV-style flashbacks.

A man, whose face is perpetually hidden behind a Guy Fawkes mask, launches an ambitious attempt to bring down a repressive government of the future, by rallying the support of his long-oppressed and virtually brainwashed countrymen to unite behind a an idea, a symbol of rebellion – by blowing up some of Britain’s most famous landmarks.

When Natalie Portman’s Evey Hammond – who was seemingly no more than a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time before she gets swept up in events beyond anything she had ever imagined – first meets V (as the masked rebel calls himself), she asks him point blank: “Are you like a crazy person?” This followed a mentally exhausting self-introduction by V, a slice of which I’ll reproduce here (thanks to IMDB) since I guarantee most of us will never be able to remember it from the movie itself:

“Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-à-vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.”

If craziness is a measure of a person’s ingenious plans and extraordinary and distinctly non-mainstream ideas, then V is most definitely a very crazy man.

With each of V’s plans being realised, each method of madness perpetrated under the noses of the ever-watchful Big Brother figures, the people of Britain find themselves being roused from their stupor, speaking out aloud their suppressed thoughts and feelings and acting out minor acts of rebellion, like spray-painting ‘V’ signs on walls. (Ironically, the role of the Big-Brother-like Adam Sutler, the totalitarian High Chancellor, is played with furious relish by John Hurt, who played the main role of the rebel in the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four.)

As Evey finds herself deeply entwined in V’s complex plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, she also begins to discover the man behind the mask, a tortured soul seeking vengeance against those who betrayed him -and others like him – in the past.

We also follow Stephen Rea‘s Chief Inspector Finch who, despite official warning from the top, delves deeply into V’s past, forcing him to question his own beliefs.

Stephen Fry, meanwhile, plays a co-worker of Evey at a popular television network, who has secrets of his own, and inspired by V, hosts a programme that mocks people in power in the best traditions of British television – although his actions infuriate Sutler, leading to tragedy.

I was moved by Portman’s performance, witnessing her transformation from scared vulnerable fugitive to strong, fearless rebel. I’ve been a fan of hers for a while now, and this movie continues to justify what a brilliant actress she is.

The British cast also continue to prove to Hollywood how much more talented they are in relation to their cross-Atlantic colleagues, and are able to ‘sell’ the vision of a totalitarian future Britain to the audience convincingly.

But the star of the movie is V – or more specifically, Hugo Weaving’s voice. Not since James Earl Jones as Darth Vader has a man infused so much power and soul and life into a mask with his voice alone. V commands every scene he is in, and that has very little to do with the mask and almost everything to with the dialogue and the voice.

The Wachowski brothers, who gave us the brilliant The Matrix, but then disappointed us with the terrible two Matrix sequels, have fortunately redeemed themselves with this movie, for which they wrote the screenplay.

Bottomline: My favourite movie of 2006 thus far. Superman and the X-Men have a lot to live up to in the coming months.

My verdict: StarStarStarStar

P.S. A note about the censorship of the film in the cinema – there was NONE! I was honestly surprised and impressed. Even though the movie is rated 18, I fully expected it to feature some cuts as is normal in this country. However, there were quite a number of F-words that were uttered freely and scenes of nudity (although not sexual in nature) were depicted clearly. There were also violent scenes, while not necessarily gory in the spirit of some slasher-flicks, still had enough blood to have normally been excised from screen. I can only salute the censors for not allowing themselves to get carried away with self-imposed restrictions and instead shift the onus of responsibility to the movie-goer. Thank you.

“Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason,
Should ever be forgot…”

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10 thoughts on “V For Vendetta. Also for Vow. And Voo-hoo!”

  1. Whoops. Did NOT I mean..

    SASHI: Yeah, that too – and to think it was in slo-mo as well, no way they would have missed it! Maybe our censors really have grown up!

  2. Quote: “Now, before I go on to my amateurish, half-baked review…”

    Dude, if you’re fishing for compliments… hey, your review ain’t amateurish nor half-baked. Or even fully baked even. Good stuff.

    SASHI: Fishing for compliments? Who, me? 😛
    Thanks, anyway..

  3. Hehe watched it for the 2nd time today.. i’m just wondering when the extremist in Malaysia is going to scream for the ban of the movie, i’m so surprised it passed our censor given their short sighted track record so far… i would have thought that they would have latched onto the blatant ‘promotion of homosexual/lesbianism’ excuse to ban the film. oh well i shouldn’t question too much and just be grateful it made it to malaysia at all……..

    SASHI: 2nd time? Wow, you better control yourself, there’re a lot more movies to come this year, ya know… ;P

  4. It was brilliant! I loved every second of it. Definitely worthy of 2006 Movie of The Year! Top class performance and top-class storytelling.

    I was pleasantly surprised that there was no censorship, including language and nudity. On a bad day, the censors would have banned the film in the first place – violence, anarchy, political, nudity, foul language…it had everything, although done very artistically.


    SASHI: Agreed! Although it’s a bit early to say Movie of the Year, isn’t it? 😉

  5. Ahem. I like the Wachowskis, and naturally, there were a few scenes in this movie that very much reminded me of project green code.

    Ah, you echoed my thoughts exactly regarding censorship – in fact, I’m glad that the movie had no problems gracing our national screens – although for some odd reason, I noticed that the subtitles kept showing ’15 November’ instead.

    SASHI: Yes, I noticed that ’15 November’ subtitles too – I guess the British accents pronouncing ‘Fifth’ is a little confusing for the people behind the subtitles..

  6. Wanted to catch this flick so much on the big screen after reading the reviews but my wife is pregnant and she won’t allow me to watch it without her. SO it is good old DVD from my friendly neighbourhood DVD seller. Don’t ask me if it is pirated.

    SASHI: Well, it is better seen on the big screen – especially since it is not censored – but under the circumstances, I can understand your position… 😉 Hopefully you’ll have enough time away to catch the other upcoming summer blockbusters in the cinemas, eh?

  7. I loved the book so much that I read it over and over. I’ve read some pretty negative reviews about the movie but these were mainly from the fanboys. Still, I’m hopeful.

    England prevails!

    SASHI: England prevails? Not in the World Cup, they won’t…. but seriously, go watch it. But first make sure you detach the kid from your neck…. 😉

  8. Is it me, or at the start, when the Voice of Fate was denouncing the Muslims, the scene was let through, too? Amazing film, i say 🙂

    SASHI: I think every scene was let through..

  9. it was also noted that the animators of the comic stayed away from much of the production because of creative reasons…or so.

    Superman should be a sentimental watch, but I doubt it will go beyond the fame of spidy, but cant wait to watch wat singer weaved in this. Xmen as always would be flashy and somewhat with substance. If you like Vendetta, try getting Equilibrium and Ultraviolet. Both have same themes..

    SASHI: Thanks for that, GP, I’ll check those out sometime…

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