V for Ventriloquism

Because of my new LOCUS fetish, I haven't yet written about my most recent film experience. On Friday I took in V for Vendetta, a film I've been excited about since first hearing that Natalie Portman shaved her head for the role.

It's clear only ten minutes into the film that this is a film about America that takes place in Britain with smart British people acting as ventriloquist dummies for Americans we know and despise.

It's difficult even now to watch a film in which you do cheer for the destruction of a building. "Buildings are symbols," the titular character muses. This is a movie with a lot of talk, which surprised me as it was culled from a graphic novel. Sin City, of the same ilk, was also very talky in its own noir way, but heavy on visual opulence. V for Vendetta is a more tame version of this although when it goes visual—a sea of Guy Fawkes masks, for instance—it is very powerful.

This movie says that all members of the general public are faceless in their shared stupidity and reluctance to ask questions.

And it's a difficult movie to watch. There is excitement, but this is a psychological film. This is a mystery film. This is a revolution complete with swords, suits of armor, explosives, masked antiheroes. The London Underground. The persecution of homosexuals and other citizens of questionable moral constitution.

In all honesty it was a little slow and it was very dialogue heavy. V's level of diction will be challenging to your typical American audience, which is sad because it is they who most need to hear what he is saying. But it's worth watching, and it's a film I already know I need to go and see again.

This is a movie about fear.


  1. I agree Charles. I really enjoyed the dialogue, and the clever twist after the middle but before the end. Outside of that, I found it a bit predictable, but the message strong (and very necessary in this day and age) and the cinematography really good. I'm not sure I would have seen it if it wasn't the best of only a marginal crop of movies, so perhaps the timing is so good that the typical American will see it and "get it." It was No. 1 at the box office this weekend, I see.

  2. I see we had similar reactions to the film. You are right, it's a film about fear and how a citizenry will give away its liberties and freedom if gives them an ounce of safety...real or imagined.

    Although I haven't read the graphic novel, it was written during the time of Thatcher's reign in the UK as a response to her convervative government. Fear and fascism seem to have a cyclical nature.