March 17, 2006 V for Vendetta
Studio: Warner Bros. Rating: R for strong violence and some language.
Many times the definition of a terrorist depends on which side of a conflict you're talking with.
That's the main issue explored in "V For Vendetta."
Brought to you by the Wachowski brothers, the same folks who created "The Matrix," "V for Vendetta" focuses on a shadowy freedom fighter who uses questionable tactics to battle against his totalitarian society.
Hiding his true identity behind a mask, V also takes time to save a young girl from the government's secret police. Natalie Portman is Evey, and she's in big trouble when V comes to the rescue.
Hugo Weaving stars alongside Portman, although we never see his face. They're joined by Stephen Rea, who plays the police inspector in charge of hunting V down and John Hurt, who is the dictator V is trying to destroy.
The questions raised by "V for Vendetta" may be difficult to answer. In today's world where worrying about terrorism is a very real part of everyday life, how can we support a hero who blows up buildings to get what he wants?
Even though the movie is set 20 years in the future, its themes really resonate around current issues.
V's battle is against the British government. But it's not the government we know. Instead, it's an oppressive regime that takes away the rights of its citizens and isn't above using violence itself to stay in power.
V isn't alone in his fight. After Evey is rescued by the masked man and experiences the horrors of her government first hand, she decides to join the battle against authority.
In the wake of 9-11, V's master plan to blow up the British parliament may be a little uncomfortable to watch. His idea that the end justifies the means has been used by criminals and rebels for centuries, and by some today in the middle east. But from his point of view, it's the right thing to do. As a matter of fact, he believes it's the only way to get what he wants. It's interesting to explore the thinking process of those who believe violence is justified to destroy what they believe is wrong.
"V for Vendetta" is a wonderfully, written, strongly acted story that is engaging and exciting. The action scenes are crowd pleasers, but ultimately it's the battle of ideas that makes this movie as good as it is.
You have to decide for yourself if V is a hero. And you may even wonder what you would do in his situation.
On my rating scale, "V for Vendetta" hits a Home Run.
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