I saw V for Vendetta tonight and, to be honest, it wasn’t as good a movie as it should have been. The movie is less subtle, and more melodramatic by far than Alan Moore’s work, and I can understand why he hated the script.
Performances in the movie were mostly good – Stephen Fry’s being the most remarkable, with his magnificently warm and human performance as Evey Hammond’s boss and friend, Dietrich. Stephen Rea, as Chief Inspector Finch, was steady and believable. Despite limited screen time, John Hurt was totally compelling. Hugo Weaving, as V, was perhaps the hardest to get a handle on – on the one hand, he conveyed all the emotion of V through body language, and did it amazingly well. On the other hand, I could still hear him slipping, occasionally, into Agent Smith mode when he spoke (though not nearly to the extent he did as Agent Elrond of the Matrix). (Never mind that I didn’t expect V to show any emotion at all.) Natalie Portman, as Evey Hammond, gave the weakest performance of all. She had these flashes of brilliance, but not enough to keep her from seeming dull and gray. And she needs to either give up on accents or get a better voice coach. Shades of Kevin Costner – at least half the time she sounded South African. And I have to appreciate the meta-irony in casting John Hurt in the fascist dictator role. I wonder if that choice was intentional – I’d like to think so, anyway.
Visually, the film didn’t disappoint. Great night time sequences, some decent effects, and the few action scenes were shot sans close-up-handicam – a rarity in action films ever since Gladiator.
Finally, though, the Wachowskis should be complimented for making such a subversive movie, and getting it out in such wide release in a post 9/11 world. I’d never have believed such a feat possible.