Anarchy in the U.K. 'V for Vendetta' Tries Talkin' about a Revolution

By Giles, Jeff | Newsweek, March 20, 2006 | Go to article overview

Anarchy in the U.K. 'V for Vendetta' Tries Talkin' about a Revolution


Giles, Jeff, Newsweek


Byline: Jeff Giles

V for Vendetta" will get its share of dismissive reviews--probably more than enough to convince hard-core fans that the movie was simply too smart and dangerous to be given safe passage. In point of fact, though, "Vendetta" is not good. The film may spark interesting debates--about the nature of terrorism and governments, about the inalienable right of artists to shock and provoke--but what we're dealing with is a lackluster comic-book movie that thinks terrorist is a synonym for revolutionary .

It is 2020 and a totalitarian government rules England, its symbol a modified crucifix, its slogan "Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith." By day, the loquacious masked man who calls himself V (Hugo Weaving) dwells in an underground lair filled with art he's stolen back from government censors. By night, he cuts the throats of government baddies and plots to blow up Parliament, A la Guy Fawkes, both to foment revolution and to avenge whatever mysterious evil was done to him back before he skulked around like the Phantom of the Opera.

"Vendetta" is based on an '80s-era graphic novel rife with outrage over Margaret Thatcher's England. But, as adapted by the Wachowski brothers and directed by their protA[c]gA[c] James McTeigue, the movie plays like a clumsy assault on post-9/11 paranoia. It references "America's war," uses imagery direct from Abu Ghraib and contains dialogue likely to offend anyone who's not, say, a suicide bomber. …

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