2006 Britney Spears biopic (you know, the bald thing)
Rating: 17/20 (Rubber Duck: Oops. I forgot to ask him.)
Plot: A clueless guy named Mr. V. just doesn't understand Halloween. Not only does he dress up a week late, but his "tricks" include throwing knives at people and blowing up buildings when he doesn't get an adequate amount of candy. He's too old for Halloween anyway! He meets that stripper from that one movie and tries to impress her with his jukebox and barber skills.
I tried to get Rubber Duck, official June Oprah Movie Club picker, to do the write-up for this one because a) he's a better writer than I am and b) he's smarter and probably has a better understanding of the movie than I do. Unfortunately, he's got better things to do, so you're stuck with me.
I have not read the Alan Moore/David Lloyd comics this is based on. Kent, who wrote about this movie and the comic previously on his own blog, can give some background there.
I tried to take some notes during this movie, but I was worried Rubber Duck would poke fun at me. I wrote down "a vice of Larder" at one point, so apparently notes wouldn't do me much good anyway.
As entertainment, I think this movie is solid stuff. You've got one of the most intriguing and unforgettable characters ever in the titular V. Hugo Weaving doesn't get a chance to act much as V since he's hidden behind a mask the entire movie. It's more like he's doing voice work for an animated movie. It's good voice work though. What's amazing to me is that the mask is so expressive when shot from different angles. There are times when you're watching the Guy Fawkes mask, and it almost seems to change expressions. And I still swear that there are a couple scenes where they add blush to that thing. Portman's as good as she usually is even though she unfortunately kept her clothes on the entire movie. Like Sinead O'Connnor and Britney Spears, she helps prove that bald women can be beautiful. She's run through a range of emotions in an oft-physical role and does a great job. There weren't as many action scenes as I remembered. Some key explosions that felt more artsy-fartsy than Rambo-ish, probably because of the classical music score, and two dazzling fight sequences that remind us the Matrix boys had something to do with this. It's poetic violence and never corny. John Hurt also stands out as Adam Sutler. The story is told vibrantly. It's artistic and stylish. But the beauty of the film is the way it can have so much emotional depth. Unlike the Matrix movies, even the only one that anybody could call any good at all, this one forces you to care about not only the characters but what they stand for. There is a little twist at the end that makes me cringe though.
Thematically, this is a little gummy. It's one of those thickly thematic movies, one that you don't really stop trying to piece together for a few days after you watch it. I like what it has to say about the power of ideas, how they can be dangerous and how they can be our saviors. But the story's packed with messages about faith, about symbols, about fear, about words, and about truth, all hitting home in timeless ways with an ending that I'd describe as cynically optimistic. It's all pretty powerful stuff, and I look forward to hearing what you people have to say about it.