I don’t know. I was going to come up with some catchy word beginning with V (other than Vendetta) to start my review of this movie. A quick Google search points out how highly unoriginal that would be. Seems there aren’t too many words beginning with V that would make sense in this context. At least this is one title that Sue Grafton won’t be able use.
V for Vendetta is set in that oft-maligned near future. The "former US" is in ruins, and England is now under a highly religious totalitarian authority. Take todays situation to its absolute extreme, and you get the idea. The plot revolves around a series of terrorist acts perpetrated by a Guy Fawkes impersonator.
For the most part, the acting was superb. Hugo Weaving used the same overly dramatic articulation that served him so well as Mr. Smith in that other little Wachowski Brothers movie. Natalie Portman slipped between the roles of victim and strong heroine about as easily as her British accent slipped away from her. John Hurt, as the totalitarian Adam Sutler, has a patented madman quality about him. Here, again, it works.
Vendetta is entertaining, albeit a bit heavy-handed in getting its message across. It blurs the lines between good and evil (gosh, did I actually write that trite phrase?) by suggesting that violence and terrorism might have their places when used against oppressive governments. Even the destruction of a large building, say, a national treasure, is justified when it is done in a fight against totalitarianism. I am sure that right-wingers will have field day lamblasting the movie.
V for Vendetta shares similar qualities with other totalitarian-future movies. The double-cross symbol and "Finger men" enforcers reminded me of the Tetragrammaton and the Grammaton Clerics in Equilibrium. Both movies used extensive stop-action scenes with martial arts. Vendetta works, but the lack of preachiness makes Equilibrium the better of the two movies. Oddly enough, it was the Wachowski’s first endeavor, The Matrix, which doomed Equilibrium to obscurity because of its close release date and similarities.
Despite its flaws, this is one I wouldn’t mind seeing again.