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V for Vendetta (****)
Directed by James McTeigue
Written by Andy and Wachowski, based on the comic book by Alan Moore (who removed his name from the project) and David Lloyd (whose images help make the film as good as it is)
V for Vendetta
Principal Cast
Natalie Portman -- Evey
Hugo Weaving -- V/William Rookwood
Stephen Rea -- Finch
Stephen Fry -- Deitrich
John Hurt -- Adam Sutler
Tim Pigott-Smith -- Creedy
Rupert Graves -- Dominic
Roger Allam -- Lewis Prothero
Ben Miles -- Dascomb
Sinéad Cusack -- Delia Surridge
Natasha Wightman -- Valerie
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

V for Vendetta is an old fashioned movie, fashioned from words and images instead of villains and violence. It is not as good as the comic book. It is a kinder, gentler terrorism -- a terrorism that blows things up but doesn't actually hurt anybody (except for bad guys of course). But for all of the rouge and lipstick that the movie uses to cover up the skull and crossbones beneath, it keeps the spine of the work, just adding enough romance to send the multiplex audience home thinking that they have been entertained. It isn't as tough minded as Citizen Kane or The Godfather or Chinatown, but here in the Twenty-first and a Half Century, it is about as tough minded as movies get.

It has been observed that all of the negative reviews of V for Vendetta say that it is anti-American. Actually, the problem with V for Vendetta is that it is not anti-American enough. America, out of willing stupidity and short-sighted greed, has replaced morality with prudishness, courage with pigheadedness, education with memorization, and prosperity with nine trillion dollars in debt -- debt owed to the country formerly known as "Red China." And in return, the Chinese fill the shelves of Wal-Mart with sufficient junk to keep the sheep content with being shorn.

Do you really think blowing up a few buildings and killing a few Leaders, is going to turn that around?

I noticed a posting on the IMDB board for V for Vendetta that calls George Bush an idiot. Oh, really? If he's the idiot, how come all of his friends are four times richer than they were four years ago, and you're left holding the bill?

So, the movie is just an entertainment. But it's a good entertainment. It does what it sets out to do. It isn't a sequel or a remake or an adaptation of a television program, which sets it apart from almost all of the genre films of the previous year. Its ideas aren't deep, but at least they are ideas. It has memorable characters and memorable images and a few moments that will come as a real shock to those who have not read the comic book. I predict that it will come to be seen as the best genre films this year.

Copyright © 2006 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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