The first few reviews have come out for the upcoming futurist action thriller, "V for Vendetta," and the word so far is that if you like your films dark and philosophical, you’ll appreciate its profound thematic morality struggle as much as the explosive set pieces. Some of you might like Natalie Portman as well.
As you may already know, "V For Vendetta" is a comic book adaptation about a masked vigilante hero in a post-war, totalitarian future England. The hero, V (Hugo Weaving) is a lone remainder of a resistance movement who vows to bring down the corrupt, fascist government through a series of bombings; Evey (Natalie Portman) is the young girl V saves and molds into his protege in his campaign for vengeance.
Fans of the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd are already hoping that this adaptation will fare better than Moore’s previous comics-turned-big screen disappointments ("From Hell," starring Johnny Depp is adrift at 56%, while "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" flounders at 18%). Moore himself has publicly denounced this latest adaptation of his works, and with a track record such as this, who can blame him?
"Vendetta" is screenwritten and produced by the Wachowski brothers — Andy and Larry‘s first endeavor since completing their "Matrix" trilogy with the last two (and, by popular opinion, lesser) installments — "The Matrix Reloaded" (75%) and "The Matrix Revolutions" (36%). Even more worrisome, the man given the ambitious task of adapting "Vendetta" to the screen is first-time director James McTeigue, whose most notable credits have been as first AD on all three "Matrix" films and "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones."
Yet the first few reviews to come out would seem to put the minds of "Vendetta" fans to rest, as it would appear the tale of a masked rebel in totalitarian England not only offers a believable visual cinescape but also invokes a compelling ethical debate over using terrorist means in a fight for freedom.
MTV’s Kurt Loder calls it "a fascinating picture, dark and exciting" and gives kudos to the film’s strong central performances by Portman and Weaving (whose job is made even more difficult by the ever-present, ever-grinning mask his character wears throughout the entire picture).
The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore concurs, noting that the complex and thought-provoking plot works well enough on its own that "Vendetta" is happily devoid of the spiritualist mythology and high-flying special effects of the "Matrix" series.
It remains to be seen whether the aftermath of the London terrorist attacks last July will affect the popular reception of the film, or if audiences in general will have difficulties sympathizing with a terrorist antihero. "Vendetta" was originally slated for a November 2005 release before it was bumped to March 17, 2006.