By now, a fair number of Bureau-crats will have watched this adaptation of Alan Moore‘s graphic novel. How does it hold up?

Directed by James McTeigue
Written by Andy Wachawski and Larry Wachawski from the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Cast
Natalie Portman as Evey
Hugo Weaving as V
Stephen Rea as Finch

John Hurt as Adam Suttler
Tim Pigott-Smith. as Creedy
Roger Allam as Lewis Prothero
Stephen Fry as Deitrich

Sinéad Cusack as Delia Surridge
Natasha Wightman as Valerie
Billie Cook as the Little Glasses Girl
Clive Ashborn as Guy Fawkes

Premise:

A woman becomes involved with a mysterious man waging war against an oppressive government.

High Points:

1. The hopeful manner in which V’s revolution catches on—- even while we start to question his motives and actions. The complex questions have been simplified in this film, but that seems inevitable in a Hollywood adaptation of a comic. I understand the original source handles them in a much more ambiguous and satisfying manner.

2. Visually, the film often works very well, and I liked the imagery of the masked crowds, even as I wondered about…. Uh, see “Low Points.”

Low Points

1. I know that V represents “an idea,” and I recognize that we make certain allowances when watching a film of this nature. However, I found the logistics of V’s plot seriously strained credibility.

2. The speeches are not all necessary, and at times adversely affect the pace.

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 This has been adapted from an existing source, and one which covers familiar ground.

Effects: 6/6. The effects have been well-handled.

Story: 4/6. Moore has been critical of the script, but I think it maintains the audience’s interest. Some points beg for further explanation. How does V arrange the mass shipment of masks? Why are high-ranking officials of a totalitarian regime so involved in those hands-dirtying activities that high-ranking officials in all kinds of regimes always manage to avoid?

Acting: 4/6. The cast do well, generally. Portman stands out, giving a strong performance as Evey. Weaving as V is hammy, though it would be challenging to effectively deliver quotation-heavy dialogue while wearing a mask that obscures all facial features.

Production: 6/6 The film features solid production and some memorable imagery.

Emotional Response: 4/6.

Overall: 5/6. I still have not read the original V for Vendetta. Even watching an adaptation, one recognizes Moore’s influences1: Thatcher, the National Front, the rise of the New Right, AIDS, anarchism, the media and the politics of fear. The film version itself has in mind the War on Terror, the media and the politics of fear. Both raise interesting questions about the lines that separate Terrorist and Freedom Fighter, vengeance and justice, mad courage and madness. To some degree, this is a popcorn movie, but it also has ideas.

In total, V for Vendetta receives 30/42

1. Apart, I mean, from Orwell’s 1984 and the history of Nazism.