Spirit of Guy Fawkes Invoked in Subversive
Set in the not too distant future, this sci-fi flick unfolds in
a rather shadowy England beset by a totalitarian repression of Orwellian
dimensions. Subjected to the constant surveillance of Big Brother-like
scrutiny, the entire populace has seemingly been conditioned to kowtow
to Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt), a despicable despot who rules with
an iron fist.
This master manipulator’s regime achieved absolute power by promising
protection from the threat of terrorism in return for the citizenry’s
surrender of civil rights. Sound familiar? This is only the first of a flurry
of parallels the picture presents between the Sutler regime and the Bush administration.
Hope for humanity rests with V (Hugo Weaving), a swashbuckling swordsman who
lives in a subterranean hideaway. Like a cross between Zorro and The Joker
this wisecracking avenger always wears a mask and leaves a “V” instead
of a “Z” behind as a calling card after dispatching bad guys. Exhibiting
a good sense of humor despite having been burned beyond recognition by government
researchers in a badly botched scientific experiment, this rebel without an
epidermis is quick with the clever quip while doing his best to shake the masses
out of their doldrums.
Because his flick’s script was written by the Wachowski Brothers, fans
of The Matrix expecting state-of-the-art fight sequences will undoubtedly be
disappointed by this relatively cerebral adventure. For this is an adventure
where preachy dialogue, social statements and character development have been
exalted at the expense of balls-out action and technical wizardry.
Finally, since V for Vendetta transparently expects the audience to root for
a protagonist’s with an anti-establishment bent, be prepared to check
your politics at the door, at least if you tend to lean to the right of center.
Excellent (4 stars)