V for Vendetta. Directed by James McTeague. Written by the Wachovia Brothers (or something, same guys who did all the Matrices, so get ready for heavy—read incomprehensible—indictment of modernity, governmentitude, authoritariness. “Based,” as they say in the movies, on a comic book by the same guy who did The League of Metrosexual Gentlemen, where Oscar Wilde is an action hero, Captain Nemo a fop, Tom Sawyer a gun-slinger, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (or one of them) a décolleté down to here vampiress… so you know we’re talking high art. Starring Natalie Portman, who’s lucky to got pouty enough lips to make up for not having any hair most of the flick … annnnnnnd for not having any umph umphs, neither …nor an umphety umph, poor thing, so if you were hoping for, like, spandex catsuit or shiny latex britches or at least a laced up to here leather jerkin, save your eight bucks; Hugo Weaving, who(m) you never see but who purrs sinisterly out from behind a Phantom-of-the-Opera mask; John Hurt, who hammers just a whisssssssssker too heavily on the Big Brother bit but who’s fetched up with an appropriately virulent (like “serious,” only seriouser) case of the uglies; Stephen Rea, who(m) you never heard of but who’s about the only likeable presence in this joyless, humorless, and mostly senseless “animation” of a “graphic novel” (kinda like a comic book, except, you know, can leave it on the coffee table).
This thing is actually passing for grave and sententious among the (real) critics, the swing-for-the-bleachers guys like Ebert (or the other one if he’s dead), likely on account of it’s not as worser as it oughta be, given the track record of pretentiosity of the Warshofskys. We do get a break in that for once it’s not the dumbo Americans poisoning the life of (hu)mankind with their flockin’ greenhouse gasses (or not, if those are actually the good things) , but the Brits …kinda past masters of that, though, if you wanna ask the Irish, the Indians (the rupee, suttee, thuggee kind), the Zulus, the Papists, British sailors, (especially the cute ones), and great-grampa who settled in Jamestown) since somebody has—ooopsy daisy—uncorked one of those virusulent (!) viral death virussesseses (Latin plural in six –s, as we know, or one –i …if it’s a month with a –r in it) that has taken us dumbos out of the picture. And lucky thing, too, on account of it’s got nasty (and shadowy) in maundy Old England where a ruthless fascist Chancellor (Hitler’s title, of course: and a swastika does pop up in the film), pregnantly named “Adam” (Brits once had a Prime minister named “Eden.” Sooooooo…) and who somehow has managed to lose control of a eugenics experiment in the “facility” of Invercargill (no, wait… that’s the place in New Zealand where Burt Munro comes from. Well, some British-sounding place, then: Flurbengill, Blatheringill, Muffingill…) and a. kill 80,000 (none of whose relatives seems to be interested in vengeance) then b. burn up to cinders and beyond recognition but not (quite) kill one of the inmates, who calls himself thereafter V (for vengeance) and adopts the identity of tormented, drawn-and-quartered “patriot” Guy Fawkes (variously spelt, actually Guido Fauci, a Papist agent, so V is really… wait for it… for vendetta!), who on the unhappy Fifth of November 16-ought-something tries unhappily to blow up Parliament (variously spelt), who now gets celebrated (sort of) every Fifth of November, and who’s apparently preserved to posterity in a (maybe the) contemporary portrait wearing one of those sillyass Mark Maguire beards and a smirk, hence the ceramic mask of a guy with a sillyass Mark Maguire beard and smirk that V sports throughout the movie:
The Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I see no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
In the course of his business (blowing up the Old Bailey, London house of “justice”), V stumbles across nubile and pouty spunkatrix, Evie (“Adam”? “Eden”? “Evie”? Whap! Sorry I had to do that. You had one of those looks… again), in the throes (throws) of a rape. V saves her but in that saving compromises her and has to snatch her out of the clutches of the Chancellor’s vicious thought police. Bummer, though: she’ll have to hide in V’s mansion for a year until next Guy Fawkes Day, when V intends to complete the symbolic act his namesake failed to: blow up Parliament, now—as then, evidently—a warren of weenies, waffles, and wattles (like waffles, only European). Will V unmask? Will plodding Inspector Finch (Rae, a decent bureaucrat, worm of integrity gnawing the vitals of a corrupt… no, that’s not gonna work. A decent bureaucrat, gnawing the vital worm of… no. A decent worm, corrupting the gnawed vitals of… Aw, man…) unearth the Truth? Will V pull off his monstrous act of vengeance? Will the threads of half-dozen different subplots ravel and tangle and snarl? Will we get any skin out of Evie? The Chancellor’s last name is “Sutler,” but fact is that if V for Vendetta got much “su(b)tler,” it’d wind up as convoluted and preposterous as Matrix.
Burn a guy to toast and get a
Recipe for dark vendetta.
Gunpowder? Treason? Maybe not:
See if you can find a Plot!