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on 20 January 2007
Having just read some other views I'm greatly suprised that anyone should dislike this film but I think as someone has already commented perhaps it is a film that you'll love or hate. I've certainly never seen so many reviews about one film on Amazon before, and whether peoples responses are positive or negative it's certainly got them all talking. I've not read the original comic book, and have not read 1984 since school which it was partly based on. However I still found this a very original, incredibly thought provoking film which blew me away. Hugo Weavings acting was absolutely spectacular and although I thought him a good actor I never realised he was a great actor. To make you feel for a character who's facial expressions you can't even see as they wear a mask all the time is no mean feat. I also thought despite some other peoples reviews here that Natalie Portmans performance was definitely her best yet and I thought her rather good and that she has potential to be a vey good actress.

My partner and I could not miss a second of it and had to pause it for toilet breaks and couldn't sleep for hours afterwards talking about it. After I'd watched it I had a similar feeling to when I'd first finished reading Lord of the Rings that I had just experienced something brilliant, the like of which one only experiences a few times in your life.

If you love brainless, mindless action films then this film probably isn't for you, if you want a film which will sit you down and make you think about your life and the society you live in, then this film is for you. My only other thought is that when I was young I might not have appreciated this film so much, but older and much wiser about the world and free of the rose tinted views of my youth, I think made me appreciate it much much more. Well done all involved in producing it. I feel compelled to got out and do my part to help improve the state of the world.
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on 26 February 2011
I dont see many blu-ray reviews here so I thought I would address that imbalance.

This is top notch entertainment. The film can be interpreted on many levels. It can be seen as an action flick with many amazing set pieces with gunfire, explosions and gory violence. Or it can be seen as a deep political statement with strong relevance to the uprisings happening currently in the middle east and north africa. The recurring message of mass popular acceptance of a dictatorship which is corrupt, violently reactive to any form of criticism and outrageously favouring cronies could have been referring to any one of the regimes now undergoing revolution. In Tunisia a man set fire to himself and provided the stimulus for people to wake up and use their collective power to overthrow their totalitarian government. In Egypt a Facebook page was the initial stimulus. V only exists because the fascist state experimented on him and his wish is to be the spark for a British revolution. It is a complex story of government manipulation of media, the deliberate creation of an atmosphere of fear where the populous feel a need to depend on the government. The parts are played beautifully. The lengthy verbose utterings of V are given life by Hugo Weaving who also plays small side roles. Natalie Portman doesnt quite pull of an English accent but still gives a deeply moving performance which completely drew me in and made me believe. John Hurt plays a psycho-nutter-fascist prime minister very well too.

Is it worth buying the blu-ray if you already have the dvd? Well, hmmmmmmm, sort of. I didnt see much improvement in the picture quality. But the soundtrack is a completely different story. If you select the DTS-HD soundtrack, which is not the default, your expensive sound system will treat your ears to a feast of amazing zinging explosions and gun battles. The music, particularly at the climax of the film, will just about lift you out of your chair. For me, it was worth the money just to repeatedly sit through the 1812 overture with synchronised sub-woofer assisted explosions coming from all corners of my tv room.
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on 31 May 2007
This film stands as strong as the Matrix did in its day. Being loyal to the Matrix film, V for Vendetta is also decieving until the end. At first the film seems to be a comic book action film (similar to the Matrix) but by the end it asks some challenging questions about the nature of our reality and I believe there are many truths in this film. Notice the government logo is a doublecross and this is not by accident. The film asks the question, 'who are the real terrorists?' - and I think it is a viable question since this film is based in a fascist England with the gagging of the media to fabricate the news and the imprisonment of those who do not fit within the regime.

Evey's parents were imprisoned and died after becoming political activists when their son died of a virus outbreak and Evey realises that there is something wrong with their country.

In many ways this film paralells real life, many have said that the media is controlled, the government using covert means to control its people.

I completely fell in love with 'V' played by Hugo Weaving, and I must say is acting in this is flawless. I found that I could not entirely connect Hugo with 'V' as his accent was wonderful and his portrayal of 'V's character was a lot different to characters I have seen Hugo play before. 'V' is such a lovable character, there is one scene where Evey walks in on him play acting and he is embarrassed and doesn't know what to do with himself which I found hilarious.

But as with many characters 'V' has a tragic background which has sort him to exact revenge on others. The film doesn't patronises the audience by showing the wrongs of violence, instead it gives us 'V's point of view that sometimes violence is needed, and although we find ourselves grappling with the argument that it is not, I believe that the audience knows that the violence is wrong, that 'V' is wrong, but you can't help being sympathetic to his cause as he has also been wronged.

All in all I found it an enjoyable film, slightly slow at first, speeding up towards a crescendo ending. If you love films which challenge our view of reality then this is a film for you.
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on 18 May 2006
Having been a fan of the graphic novel for many years I was interested to see how exactly the Wachowski's intended to translate Moore's early 90's view of the future into a believable concept for the twentieth century. Despite what most of the purists may say, Moores original view of totalitarian britain has aged somewhat, and an exacttranslation of the graphic novel onto the silver screen would have been far too esoteric and inaccessable for those who had not been previously introduced to the material. What we have here the is an adaptation of the original concept of the novel, with some of the plot points rearranged and characters redrawn, in order to fit a movie format, and to better explore the intricacies of this fascist police state. Whereas moore portrayed a world where the government is in complete control, both of the nation and the hearts and minds of the citizenry, the Wachowski's have altered this somewhat. What we have now is a government that controls through deception and spin, by creating fear in the populace and presenting Anglo-christian based national socialism as the cure for all ills. This is in contrast to moores vision where the government rules by intimidation and violence, the citizens of britain are brow beaten dogs utterly submissive and incapable of thought, in this movie the populace have simply been kept in the dark and are awaiting someone to turn the light on. Enter V.

What makes this film such a triumph is it's assertion that no matter how entrencehd a governments control becomes, there are always going to be people who question them always people who look at the world and sense something is wrong. People know when they're being lied to, know when spin becomes outright lies and are perfectly capable of standing for their own rights. Of course V's attacks act as the catalyst for this process ut the ultimate act of herosim is performed by the public.

Yes there are better action films, yes there are better films that question the world we live in, but very few do both with such style and grace. This time the wachowski's managed to of their message without recourse to big black coats and rage against the machine music. Rebellion isn't just for angry teenagers- it must be for everyone.
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on 20 March 2006
I have to say I was a little apprehensive before watching this film. I'm not normally into 'political' movies but it turned out to be very different to what I expected.
The USA has erupted in civil war. The previously most powerul nation on earth has collapsed and begs Britain for aid. Britain, on the other hand, has emerged as a dictatorship run by a Conservative chancellor. Every matter of 'security' within Britain is done for the 'protection of the citizens'. There is something very wrong with Britain, but no one knows quite what it is.
No one, except V. We never find out V's real name, or in fact anything about him. We never see his face but we do know his philosophy. That the people should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of its people. Guy Fawkes knew it, and died for his beliefs. V is merely trying to free the people from the hold of the government.
On November 5th, he takes control of the British Television Netwok and broadcsts his message. One year from now, the people should unite and meet in parliament square and show the government that they want change. They do not want a dictatorship.
V's transmission causes gradual chaos....and exactly one year on, Novemberr 5th, the plan will arrive at its explosive climax....or will it...?
The cast in this film are incredible. Who can argue with John Hurt as the chancellor? We only really see his face and huge screens or TV as he projects his message to the people. Stephen Fry also appears as a BTN presenter who protects the heroine of the film.
Hugo Weaving, is as always, cast perfecly as the elusive yet fascinating V. He posesses outstanding fighting and knife skils and well as a mysterious background. A background we are never fully told about, although we can piece together clues from flashback of V's life and what he tells Evie (Natalie Portman). V is a good character, who hides behind a Guy Fawkes mask for the whole film. His methods are twisted in some instances but in others, his compassion for those who done him harm is touching. He never wavers from his plan, and yet he is gentle in some of his actions. The way he dealt with the experiment doctor of the detention centre I found particulary moving, and I decided that V was a good character despite his actions.
Natalie Portman puts in an excellent performance as Evie, or e-V as V happily notices. It seems her destiny was meant to be on V's side. Her life is drab, a normal officer worker until the day V saves her from government forces. From then on, the viewer can see their ralationship would intertwine throughout the film.
The music in the film, particulary the use made of Tchiakovski's work made me grin for a good long while after the film came to its satisfying ending. We are left hanging onto whether V's plan will go ahead or not, and what the outcome will be. However, the ending was visually amazing and coupled with the musical score, fantastic.
From what I have heard it does differ very slightly from the Graphic Novel. I haven't read it myself but my OH has so if you're looking for a complete copy it may not be 100% loyal to the novel. As far as I know, the only noticable variations are some of the dialoge and parts of the ending.
All in all though, this is one excellent film. I will definately be buying this when it comes out becuase I don't think I can possibly take in everything from watching it first time around. Even if I could, it's worth buying just for the ending.
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on 1 August 2016
Set in the near future in a Great Britain ruled by a right wing Nazi/Big Brother style government, this is the story of one man's vengeful quest to bring down the government and people that tortured and experimented on him, leaving him horribly scarred. He recruits a girl on the run from the government to help him find the people responsible. Meanwhile, a disillusioned government policeman looking for him slowly uncovers a huge government conspiracy involving his masters. A very good film, even though it is only loosely based on the graphic novel, it is an excellent film.
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on 17 November 2006
Firstly let me make one thing perfectly clear - the fans of George Orwell's 1984 MUST see this film. If you were in any doubt at all about the poor 1980's reproduction of such a brilliant piece of modern literature, this film will confirm it. I was amazed that I had to skim read 29 previous customer reviews to find any mention of 1984.

The environment within which this film is based is that of a society ruled by a republic (although God Save The Queen/King is still heard throughout the film) and a Chancellor who rules the hearts and minds of the public with an iron fist. The entire flavour of the film is a fantastic re-creation of Orwells bleak vision. The Wachowski Brothers even pay ultimate dues to the original 1984 film by casting John Hurt as the Chancellor!

That aside, this film is entertaining and wonderfully shot. V's dialogue tended to be a little over the top in places and the plot maybe stretched the plausibility senses once or twice but overall I was very satisfied with the end result. I must add that I have never read the comic books, so this review is based purely on the merits of the film.

Thoroughly recommended.
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on 2 March 2007
Another film from the Wachowski brothers - the guys who did The Matrix and directed by James McTeigue also from the Matrix crew. The story is about alienation, loneliness, intolerance, repression but ultimately hope and is set in an England of sometime in the near future.
Following a nuclear war between the USA and continental Europe, the USA is paralysed by it's almost total destruction. England, which had escaped the nuclear confrontation is suffering from the after effects of mass outbreaks of deadly virus. It now has a right wing fascist government lead by a nasty Chancellor played very nastily by John Hurt. He's surrounded by the usual elements of a dictatorship: government controlled media, thugs with the lovely name of Fingermen who are lead by Tim Piggott-Smith who gives a great performance as a horribly corrupt Creedy. Natalie Portman (Evey) becomes accidentally embroiled in the acts of terrorist or freedom fighter (depends on your view as always) enigmatically named 'V'. Despite wearing a Guy Fawkes mask for the whole of the film Hugo Weaving (another former Matrix actor) manages to portray emotion only by voice and body. As the film progresses we learn that V is a former prisoner of the régime and has been used for medical experimentation which has altered him mentally and physically. Mentally he's full of revenge, physically he's more than normal with wonderfully enhanced reflexes and strength. Stephen Rea plays the good copper who while investigating V's merry spree of revenge killings also uncovers why V is so enraged and the real secret of the corrupt régime.
Like the Matrix films there's a hefty lump of fancy karate tricks, knife throwing, bangs and flashes but unlike the second and third episodes of the Matrix the story flows nicely without the need to strain the brain.
Not totally convinced by Natalie Portman but it's a small irritation overall. Hugo Weaving is excellent and Stephen Fry puts in a very good performance although in a fairly minor role. All in all an entertaining flick - 7.5 out of 10. Enjoy the film but get the book as it's much better, 'longer', a more sustained and interesting plot and better characters.
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on 5 November 2007
V for Vendetta needs to be seen at least three times as the depth of plot and subtle details are too much to grasp first time through - and it shows in the reviews.

Many other reviews give excellent synopses of the film so I'll not repeat them but look at the films core message - People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people. A message for our times!

The government is totalitarian, has total control of the media (and therefore people's minds), has a system of arbitrary arrest and detention (rendition), almost total surveillance of the populace (total information awareness), used the deliberate spread of a virus and the resulting mass death to gain power and wealth (eerie parallels to WMD, avian/human flu, US and UK corporations). If these parallels to our present don't get up and slap you in the face then you clearly haven't been paying attention.

This is where the heart of the films message lies. However in order to deal with totalitarian government people have to be informed and to care enough to do something about it. But to do this they have to overcome their fear. The need to overcome fear is portrayed as V torturing and imprisoning Evey so as to break her of her attachment to the illusions of everyday life. Only through caring enough about the future of us ALL over and above our individual safety can we lose our fear.

When we are without fear we can achieve great things. The ability to affect change is within us all, we don't need an external V to show us the way when we have our own internal V.

A great, thought provoking movie for our times. If you care about real freedom I highly recommend this film.
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on 25 September 2008
As a massive fan of the original Alan Moore/ David Lloyd graphic novel, I had my misgivings about this film from the start. It took about 10 minutes for my fears to be realised, and worse. The opening action sequence sees the eponymous hero, V, kill several policemen (or "Fingermen"), as in the comic, but in the most comical, camp action sequence imagineable. Straight afterwards, V decides to introduce himself with a hysterical speech filled with V words. Not good.
A few minutes later, one of the key elements of the graphic novel was also horribly, foolishly bastardised. V's speech went from a brilliant metaphor to being, well... an uninspired speech, which, in summary, said: "Yes, fascism= bad. Me= good."
From this point, the film continued to tear apart Moore's masterpiece. The entire idea of V being an anarchist was abandoned, as was much of the character's moral ambiguity, in favour of cringe-worthy camp and ill-advised sentimentality.
Natalie Portman was about 10 years too old for the female protagonist, Evey Hammond, and had the most ridiculous "working class" British accent I've ever heard. I can't imagine what she thinks working class Londoners sound like, but they certainly don't sound like her.
Indeed, one of the worst elements of the film was the complete inability by the Wachowskis to comprehend that the graphic novel, and film indeed, are set in Britain. Therefore, it might strike you as unwise that two foreign actors were cast as the two BRITISH protagonists. Indeed, the most prominent Brits in the film were John Hurt, as Adam "Sutler", and Stephen Fry, as Gordon Dietrich.
For those who have not read the graphic novel, Hurt's character has been changed from a complex, sympathetic, weak man (who's insidious actions you could almost understand), into a raving, manic Hitler clone. Indeed, the Wachowskis went so far as to rename the character Adam "Sutler" (Susan, in the original) and give him the title of Chancellor, just to spell out that he was, indeed, a fascist.
As for Fry's character, Gordon Dietrich, his character never even appeared in the comic, and was brought in entirely unnecessarily, replacing another character called Gordon, and filling that character's role very, very loosely. Indeed, Fry's role was so insignificant it was painful, and a comedy sketch that the character takes part in at one point in the film was cringe-worthy, taking away any sense of tension or drama in the most appalling fashion.
Finally, I will complain about the ending, while trying not to spoil everything. Suffice to say, the ending was changed drastically. Not exactly the obvious events, but the ending in the graphic novel has much more impact, and is much more fitting for such a dark piece of work.
I could go on for hours more about how this film bastardised a masterpiece, and how it is a woeful mix of the melodramatic and the positively ludicrous. However, I'll end it here. Instead of wasting your money on the DVD, splash out on the graphic novel. You'll be much more rewarded, I assure you.
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