Tuesday, March 28, 2006

V for Vacant


V for Vendetta is being touted as a radical vision of not-inconceivable future, but what we get is an admittedly handsome mixture of 1984 and Zorro, where we witness a caped revolutionary in a steel Guy Fawkes mask slice, dice, pummel and commit demolition crimes against a fascistic British government. The problem is that V has characteristics of both and none of the virtues. The principal problem is the expressionless mask that V (Hugo Weaving) wears throughout the film; better if the character hung back in the shadows in the otherwise agreeable comic noir atmosphere, where the darkness might have lent him some mystery and a suggestion of character. In the plain light, he is impossible to relate to, and you just wish he would be quiet with his nattering puns, vacant alliteration and arch speeches.We are given some hints that V is a survivor of government viral warfare experiments gone horribly wrong, but so much of that is tossed off as back story premise setting constructed ham handily , from a obligation rather than sheer narrative zeal. You don't feel V's searing rage, and for all the speeches made back and forth about security, terrorism and revolutionary impulse, you cannot escape the desire for everyone to get on with it; blow something up, please. Natalie Portman is amazing in this otherwise talky, inconsistently motivated adventure--she manages to read the prolix Wachowski Brothers script (adapted from Alan Moore's graphic novel) with impressive conviction; you await her to do great things with great scripts that have yet to come her way.

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