Oprah Movie Club Pick for June: V for Vendetta

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.


Barry said...

I enjoyed this film. There is a lot going on in it, and its got a real political stance to it. Its one of the few movies I have seen the lovely Miss Portman do a great job in. (I thought she was dreadful in Thor, and all the Star Wars movies. I have not seen Black Swan, so that could be another film where she is believable. I dont count her pre adult work. If we are allowed to count pre adult work then the greatest actor of all time is either Ron Howard or the kid that plays a young George Bailey in Its a Wonderful Life.)

Anyway, she was nice to look at, and did a good acting job. The set pieces were interesting, and I really enjoyed the whole super hero aspect of the character V. There were some disquieting parts involving keeping Natalie Portman prisoner to mess with her head, but of course, I was most upset that V never hit on her, not even once, which shows that V is a better man than me.

I give this puppy a 16..maybe even a 17. Yes..a 17 it is.

Good choice by whoever picked it.

cory said...

My favorite thing about this film was that it followed through on it's violent goal. Usually films build to something, but then the anti-hero is thwarted, and you get some poignant crap.

Portman and Weaving are excellent, and the whole thing has a dark edge that works well with the material. A 16.

Shane said...

Sigh...well, this went well.

Barry--I think V was hitting on her. He's just really really bad at it.

Cory--Yeah, it's a neat ending because of that.

Hey, Cory...I think I'll just pass on an Oprah pick...I pick almost all the movies that are on this blog. So we're back up to the top of the order if you want to pick something.

cory said...

I was tempted to go with a few unfairly maligned movies such as "Driving Miss Daisy" (sticking with Barry and our 1989 theme) or "Shrek 2" (it's a good film!!), but since my last pick was assualted, and you are great about checking out my recommendations, I will also defer to Barr...actually, I don't think Barry has actually seen 1928's "The Passion of Joan of Arc", so I'll go with that (make sure it's the Criterion version with orchestra).

cory said...

I used the word "actually" twice within seven words. Actually, I use the word actually too much.

Shane said...

You actually can't pick 'Joan'...she's on the blog somewhere and that was like the only rule I had for Oprah's Movie Club. Barry should see that anyway. I watched it with no music though and thought it was really powerful that way.

Is 'Shrek 2' on the blog? I think 'Shrek' is...haven't seen 'Shreks 3 or 4' is you want to roll with one of those. It'd be irritating though.

cory said...

OK, I'll go with "Why We Fight", one of my favorite documentaries.

RD said...

Well...I'm a couple of days late on my review...

deepest apologies.

I enjoyed watching this film with Shane and was appreciative of his suggesting it for me to suggest. I am always torn after I watch this movie because I simultaneously love it while also struggling to swallow it.

The thematic elements seem blatant and unnecessarily simplified. I would agree with Shane that the ending is both cynical and naive. No way the entire population of London shows up...even less likely that they are all dressed as V.

I do think Lord Elrond does a great job bringing V to life (as do the camera angles). I think Portman teetered on the knife edge of believability when she collapsed in a sobbing mess on the ground post prison escape.

As for the lingering questions the movie generates...I find myself pondering how a society gives up their freedoms for security to the extent that they had in the movie. It makes me wonder how it happened in Germany with Hitler and not to mention what injustice people will look back upon me in fifty years with disbelief at my complacency towards a particular societal injustice. Where have I fallen asleep at the wheel and allowed convenience to trump correctness?

So when it comes to rating the movie, I am torn because I like the way it stays with me for a day or two after watching it; but I still can't get the corny over-done characteristics of it out of my head...so I give it...it gets an X for its bad qualities but V is good in it...so adding them together I get a sum total of 15.

His Duckishness

Kairow said...


Movie V Book review here


Kairow said...


Movie V Book review here