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(Review originally written at 4 August 2006)

Just like the main character itself, this movie is an icon, for fighting for freedom and liberty in the widest sense of the word.

The movie is multiple layered, filled with symbolism and deeper meanings but with one clear main message in it; People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. It shows that if enough people are behind something, things can be achieved. Even killing and acts of terrorism can be justified. As the character V's says it; A building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. A symbol, in and of itself is powerless, but with enough people behind it, blowing up a building can change the world.

The movie shows obvious interesting parallels to western leaders and governments but also that of the middle east and beyond. The parallels to the Hitler Nazi period were perhaps a bit too extreme and over-the-top to find it credible but in this case I can forgive the movie for that, since it still makes its point clear and works powerful as a thought provoking movie. For this movie truly is one of the most thought provoking movie of the last couple of decades. The movie forces us to use our minds constantly and makes us see how certain acts of violence can be used for the good cause and how symbolism and one act can inspire people for coming into action and to doing the right thing. Leaders shouldn't just be able to get away with everything they do.

Almost every aspect of the word freedom is present in the movie. Some in a symbolic way, others in a more obvious way. Such as freedom of speech and censorship in the media, freedom of religion (some people see this movie is anti-Christian, quite frankly I really don't see why) and freedom of being able to chose your own sexuality and being able to do what ever makes you feel good and happy. The movie also shows interesting parallels with recent issues and issues from the past, from all over the world, such as the earlier mentioned censorship in the media, which still is the case in certain middle eastern and communist countries, the ex scandals in churches but also the use of violence and terrorism against a governments their own citizens, to control and and form the people. It's refueling the conspiracy theories that the American government itself was behind the 9/11 attacks, to put fear into the people so the government was more able to do the things their way and gain from it, by getting the people behind them and exploiting from the people's their fear. But also less recent issues such as performing medical tests on prisoners, in order to create a super-race and more Nazi like references. In other words, more than enough interesting parallels to make you think about the world we're living in today.

What "V for Vendetta" also does well is mixing action entertainment with thought provoking, almost poetic like elements. In the essence the movie is still an action movie that is fast paced and has a fair amount of violence and fight sequences in it. The action sequences are shot spectacular and form some of the highlights of the movie. But of course "V for Vendetta" is far from your average 'superhero' movie, it's a too important and relevant movie for that.

The characters are also symbolic. Of course the character of V is the best example of this. Behind the mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea and ideas are bulletproof. I quote V a lot, since everything he says in this movie is true, even when your initial thought might suggest otherwise. Evey is a character who begins as a normal person but slowly starts to becoming just a fearless, determent freedom fighter as V is. Inspector Finch is a normal cop who start to discover and see through the lies that his government, for which he works, spreads and he slowly begins to see the whole picture and V's true intentions. And Chancellor Adam Sutler is symbolic for basically every dictator that ever lived and ruled.

The movie is a very good looking one. The cinematography by Adrian Biddle is truly spectacular and this movie was a worthy last picture for him. The special effects are also what makes this movie a really spectacular one.

The acting is also of a very high order. Hugo Weaving is great, even though he wears a mask during the entire movie. He acts through his mask and manages to give the character an own personality, complete with working and sensible emotions in certain sequences. Natalie Portman is also great but it sort of makes you wonder why she was cast in this, since she isn't British. Her accent just doesn't sound right but I have to admit that she never looked any better in a movie. She is absolutely beautiful. It was also great to see Stephen Rea in a big production again. John Hurt convincingly plays the villainous dictator. Is there any role that John Hurt can't handle? He is a very versatile actors that has already played a wide range of different characters. Really amazing.

But as a movie it is a rather flawed one to be perfectly honest. The story doesn't always flow and the character development and treatment is also lacking at times. It's obvious that James McTeigue still has a lot to learn when it comes to directing. But it however doesn't take away any of the movie its power or messages. The movie succeeds in what it tries to achieve and because of that I consider this movie as an absolute and important relevant masterpiece.

See this movie for its action or its messages. Either way you'll be pleased.

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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