'V for Vendetta (Two-Disc Special Edition)'
(Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, et al / 2-Disc DVD / R / (2005) 2006 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: The futuristic tale unfolds in a Great Britain that's a fascist state. A freedom fighter known as V (Weaving) uses terrorist tactics to fight the oppressive society. He rescues a young woman (Portman) from the secret police, and she becomes his unlikely ally.
DVD Verdict: "V for Vendetta" is going to confuse a lot of people. Nevertheless, and make no mistake about it, this is movie making of the highest order, combining all the finest elements of great storytelling into a potent roller coaster of a movie filled with great action,intellect and above all, ideas. Its message can - and will - easily be dismissed by naysayers as sophomoric or too "out there," or "anti-american" but there is also an earnestness here that will resonate strongly, and perhaps, frighteningly, to many viewers who will not fail to see the correlation between this fictional tale and the way the world we live in works. Filled with stereotypes and archetypes, "V" is unapologetic in its essaying of morality and in its strongly held sentiment that this tale is "for the people, by the people." Brothers and writers Larry and Andy Wachowski (of Matrix fame) have infused their screenplay with the anger, confusion and hope captured in Alan Moore's original graphic novel - and it's better looking as a result. I truly believe that many who see "V" will be upset by it, but hopefully more of us will be inspired by its bold, blatant message and take a good hard look at ourselves and the way the world works around us and see that, with sacrifice and thoughtfulness, the world can be changed. As Evey, Natalie Portman is cast in something of the "victim" role, but she makes us route for her, and to her credit she goes beyond that making the transformation of her character not only believable, but in the end, noble. Hugo Weaving - the man behind the mask - gives a performance that can only be described as mesmerizing. As "V" he exposes all of the strength and weakness of a character that is equal parts savior and villain. The physical production is beautiful in its realism as it paints a nightmarish world of the not-very-distant future (2020) and is chilling in its depiction of governmental power, socio-political corruption and, ultimately, the complacency of its citizens. Weaving's "V" challenges, and ultimately changes all of that, as he quickly unravels the fabric of civilized society, capturing the public with his bold ideas - and with the promise and permanancy of change through rebellion and political uprising. Most chillingly, the film invokes the dread once feared in "1984" but with a renewed vigor that drives home the horrors Orwell foresaw, and still loom large in our comfy modern world. Chilling? You betcha! For those who know the novel, there is little skimping, and, given the current world situation, one must absolutely applaud the filmmakers for "going there" as far as the ending is concerned. This is film making at its emotional and challenging best. Are there flaws? Of course there are, but ultimately "V for Vendetta" rises far above them in its presentation of a world filled with ideas that have forever been debated, and does it in a story well told, beautifully acted and full of hope for humankind. Not bad work for a movie. Actually, it's magnificent. This is a Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
"Freedom! Forever!: Making V for Vendetta" – The cast and crew of V for Vendetta reveal the intense filmmaking process
The Two-Disc Special Edition features these exclusive supplements:
"Designing the Near Future" - A look at the artistic process of creating the frightening future world of V
"Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot" - The history behind the story of Guy Fawkes
"England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics" - The origins of the original V story is illuminated
Cat Power Montage – Cat Power song played under images of the film
Easter egg: Saturday Night Live digital short