Quirky plot and violence make an entertaining hit

From 1982 to 1985, Alan Moore and David Lloyd published a series of comic books entitled “V For Vendetta.” The series was eventually compiled and released as a graphic novel in the United States, and has now been released as a major motion picture.  Directed by James McTeigue and based on a screenplay by the ever-popular Wachowski brothers, “V For Vendetta” continues in the latest Hollywood trend of turning graphic novels into movies, such as “Ultraviolet” and last year’s “Sin City.”

Vendetta’s story takes place in a futuristic Great Britain which has been overrun by a fascist government. A mysterious man, known only as V (Hugo Weaving), disguises himself in a Guy Fawkes costume and mask and attempts to start a rebellion to bring down the government. A young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) is saved by V and finds herself swept up in the plot to overthrow the government.

The writing in “V for Vendetta” is solid. Characters throw out clever remarks left and right, and V even delivers a speech consisting almost entirely of words starting with the letter ‘v.’ But this clever writing hurts the movie to some extent. With all the witty repartee, plus the ridiculous Guy Fawkes wardrobe boasted by V, it is hard to take the movie seriously. In fact, at times “V for Vendetta” seems downright goofy.

In addition, the movie features a few plot twists that just seem odd. The ending is a bit cliche and predictable, and some of the action scenes are ridiculously unbelievable. 

However, despite its faults, “V for Vendetta” stands out amongst other films of its genre. At times it is extremely clever, and the action sequences, though ridiculous, are entertaining. Also, Stephen Rea delivers a great performance as the lead police investigator, while Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving also show off some stellar acting.

Perhaps the main drawback to “V for Vendetta,” though, is simply the girth of the comic book series it is based on. Because there are so many characters and subplots involved in the ten-book series, the Wachowski brothers’ screenplay tries to do too much.  The relationship between V and Evey is not developed enough, while the entire Evey subplot is brought up at one point and then completely ignored throughout the rest of the movie. 

Also, certain characters are not emphasized enough throughout the entire movie.  For example, we are introduced to a slew of different government officers at the beginning of the movie. Most of these characters are completely inconsequential to the plot.  However, at the end of the movie, one of the major villains ends up being a character we hardly know. If slightly more emphasis had been placed on this character from the get-go, some of the final scenes of the movie would have been much stronger.  

In the end, “V for Vendetta” has to be taken for what it is √¢?” an action thriller with a quirky plot and ridiculously over-the-top violence. It is, essentially, “1984” meets “Batman,” from the fascist government to the masked superhero. Despite its problems, the stellar acting and clever writing make the movie just plain entertaining. What’s more, with few other big-name movies being released this month, “V for Vendetta” seems poised to become a box-office smash.