‘V for Vendetta’ Thrills With Suspense

GEGHARD ARAKELIAN
Special to El Vaquero

Not every film can unflinchingly garner the attention of moviegoers for an entire two hours and 12 minutes with action and political rhetoric; “V for Vendetta” not only does this, with its theme of fighting authority, but it also manages to throw in a can of whoop-ass in the form of shootouts and some knife to gun combat.

Based on a series of graphic novels by Alan Moore (and adapted for the screen and produced by Andy and Larry Wachowski, who brought “Matrix ” to the screen) and directed by James McTeigue, “V for Vendetta” follows Natalie Portman (Evey) as she finds herself caught up in the lifestyle of a revolutionary _”taking after Guy Fawkes, a 16th century anarchist- who blows government buildings to smithereens.

Hugo Weaving (William Rookwood), referred to as V, plays the protagonist who schemes to uproot a totalitarian government with some nifty high explosives, twirling knives, subterfuge and sabotage.

The movie takes place in a neo- Orwellian future, set in England, and starts out at a slow pace when Portman realizes that she is late for a dinner appointment at her boss’s house. She then decides to risk breaking curfew to get there. When Portman gets caught by undercover agents, V steps in to save her from near rape.

V then introduces himself to Portman and has her aid him in some of his assassination ploys.

A prime element of the film is the hero V. Weaving plays a character that takes on the avatar of a poet, a well-mannered gentleman and a madman who looks like a Venetian masquerader. His character is both witty and charming and is not only great to follow in an action sequence, but also entertaining to listen to whenever he delivers a debonair diatribe to Portman.

The most important feature of this film is not the action but the message behind the story. The message is simply to take action against an overzealous, fear-instituting government.

Though watching V plant explosives and escape from the authorities provides audiences with plenty of action, the film’s theory of what may come as a result of electing politicians that use fear tactics to keep people submissive was just as interesting to follow.

The story is unhesitant in suggesting what may speculatively become of the English Parliament and the American government, in the near future, if a sensational war on terror persists.

By making relevant references to the Bush era and the British Parliament at the same time, the film is able to touch the viewer on a personal level. “V for Vendetta” attempts to lead the audience in a rallying call against tyranny and the use of propaganda.

The action sequences in the film are also stylized. V’s enemies mostly meet a terminal end with guns blazing and with knives flying in the air. V’s knife fighting skills and costume make an awesome display of choreography especially when he goes up against his adversaries, who are normally armed to the teeth with firearms.

The acting and dialogue are also noteworthy. Though Portman’s English accent is a bit iffy, Weaving and Stephen Rea (Finch) _” an inspector who’s put in charge of tracking down V- deliver above average performances.

Weaving’s face is hidden behind a mask throughout the entire film; but his lines are delivered eloquently. Rea’s performance as an overworked and stressed-out police inspector is done with finesse.

“V for Vendetta” exhibits a fine-tuned balance between action and politics. The storyline is bold and unforgiving in its bashing and referencing of bad governments and is able to connect the viewer with present day issues. “V for Vendetta,” is rated R and is in theaters everywhere.

Rating *** out of 4