V for Vendetta

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V for Vendetta

  Natalie Portman helps film succeed despite its muddled ideas

Director: James McTeigue
Writers: The Wachowski Brothers, Alan Moore (comic book)
Cinematographer: Adrian Biddle
Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt
Studio info: Warner Bros., 132 mins.

V for Vendetta has ambitions well beyond the typical action movie, not just to excite but to inspire. In an Orwellian future, a mysteriously vengeful masked man named V speaks about integrity and liberty. His ideas are vague, but his plans are specific, and they involve dynamite.

Among rebellious movies that threaten to blow shit up in the end, V for Vendetta is closer to the confused philosophy of Fight Club than the visual poetry of Zabriskie Point. The details of V’s beef with society are hazy, but the film has a certain purity of spirit. V always wears his mask; removing it would cross a line that he—and the filmmakers—won’t cross, but opposite him is the expressive Natalie Portman. She’s somewhat underutilized in the plot, but she’s critical as a reflection of V’s humanity, which may explain why the movie succeeds even with such muddled ideas. We accept him through her.

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