Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gunpowderplot That Goes off without a Bang

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gunpowderplot That Goes off without a Bang

Article excerpt


V For Vendetta

Cert 15, 132 mins

THIS film is based on the work of graphic novelist Alan Moore, who was not much impressed with other adaptations of his anarchic, Leftwing storylines and has ordered his name off the credits of this one.

You can't entirely blame him. The portrait of a Britain beset, in the nottoo-distant future, by a totalitarian state headed by a mysterious Mr Big is overlong, overwrought, and pompously pretentious. It's written by Larry and Andy Wachowski, using sub-Shakespearean dialogue which they presumably think fits the slightly Dickensian setting.

But the result is worse than the last of their three Matrix films, even if director James McTeigue aspires grimly to the flair of the first, and sometimes achieves it. If Moore's intention was an anti-Thatcher diatribe, it is translated here into a something like a tract underlining Western fear of post 9/11 terrorism and the restriction of liberty that might be foisted upon us in the future.

John Hurt rumbles nobly on as Adam Sutler, the psychotic dictator; Hugo Weaving puts a mask on to play "V", a Guy Fawkes-like figure who blows up the Old Bailey and the Houses of Parliament with the help of Evey, played by a shaven-headed Natalie Portman.

They all go to it with a will but there really isn't a way to make this cautionary tale work properly.

There will be those who regret its parallels to the London bombings. But that would be to treat this wordy action movie far too seriously.

Apparently a prologue outlining the Gunpowder Plot has been inserted for American audiences. This London, England, will undoubtedly seem a strange place to them.

A thug led to redemption by baby love


Cert 15, 91 mins

WINNER of the best foreign language Oscar, Tsotsi (or "thug"), is a film about a young black criminal, in Johannesburg, who is redeemed not by the love of a woman but by the baby he kidnaps. …

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