Given the choice of movies opening in theaters today — V For Vendetta, Monster-In-Law, or XXX: State of the Union — you bet your ass I’m going with V For Vendetta, starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, with a script by Matrix creators Andy and Larry Wachowski adapted from the graphic novel by Alan Moore.
Moore, who has repeatedly disapproved of adaptations of his work, fought to have his name removed from the Vendetta film credits and promotions. In a recent NY TIMES article, he said he’d read the Vendetta script and thought it was “rubbish.” And most fans of the graphic novel will probably agree, because the Wachowski’s Vendetta — and agenda — is not exactly that of Moore’s.
So, why did I like it? Because I walked into this movie knowing full-well that I’d have to leave the book at the door. And, perhaps it’s because although it was promoted as an action flick the likes of Mission: Impossible, Vendetta is really propelled by its intelligent monologues, delivered with flair by the masked revolutionary “V” (Weaving) along with Portman’s convincing portrayal of frightened young protege Evey.
Or maybe I like that the main character is a revolutionary; or that the victims become the radicals; or possible because it sheds light on corrupt governments whose beleaguered citizens surrender their civil rights in exchange for what they believe is protection against terrorism.
Was this film a totally faithful panel-by-panel recreation of the graphic novel in the vain of Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City? Absolutely not. What the filmmakers attempted to do was take a futuristic war-torn England and parallel it with current-day U.S. politics and policy by lifting the citizens out of Moore’s dystopia and into a worker-bee existence. This is probably where the biggest line was crossed, whereas V’s back story and Evey’s incarceration scenes help redeem the film for taking the aforementioned liberties.