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.

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