V for Vendetta. V for vigilance. V for vengeance. V for violence. V for victorious. V for just very amazing. Because I can’t think of another word that starts with the letter ‘V’ to describe how truly amazing this film is. So when I found out that it would be one of the films the class would be viewing, I was more than ecstatic. Very ecstatic. Even if its not the first time I’ve seen it.
Natalie Portman, besides Anne Hathaway, is hands down my favorite actress. And I believe that in this film, she gave one of her best performances, minus Black Swan. The courage it took for her to actually shave off all her hair for the role was solid props to her. But that’s not the only courage that existed in this film. The film was courageous in a sense that it swept over and covered so many beautiful aspects that I think a film should contain.
First, the storyline. Set in a time of revolution when all of England is repressed and is literally given a curfew, we already see the significance of the story. It’s not just about one person, it’s about an entire nation and its fight against a cruel government.
Second, but the story is actually about a person. And here’s where I think Natalie Portman is put to the test, and it is here that she establishes in the film world the type of role she’s best at and that only Natalie Portman can give justice to and satisfy a viewer: good girl gone bad. We see her working for a powerful news station as an innocent woman and then being taken in by the notorious vigilante who goes by, what do you expect, the name ‘V’ and is dragged through a series of torment and torture until she finds herself free and no longer afraid. Her character is so dynamic and so heart- wrenching to watch and the character ‘V’ matches it right on.
Having once been an experimental case, his anger has taught him to lash out on those who enforce pain and suffering into guiltless victims. And even though his way of thinking is purely wrong, he made me believe it was completely right. The only way to stop bad is to kill the people who cause it: the government. I love how their stories intertwine and I even very much appreciate the love you see between V and Natalie Portman’s character. It is one that I found respectful, endearing, and just beautiful in the sense that they didn’t even have to physically be attracted to each other or show any physical acts of romance, but I could feel how much V cared for her, and I could see how much she changed because of him. Despite his vengeance and hatred, his kindness still shown through. So that would be my third aspect. Love in terms of protection, love in terms of teaching and being taught, love in terms of holding on and letting go, love in terms of fulfilling a promise and a purpose. In my opinion, in this aspect, V for Vendetta is a modern Beauty and the Beast–with more significance than just breaking a spell.
And that leads me to my last point, the last aspect I think this film covered that makes it a classic example of a good movie. The mask. There are only a few films that use a mask, but never have they used them to save a nation. I appreciate how the film was so logically thought out that not only did V use the most powerful news station to set fear in the hearts of the enemies but how he persuaded an entire country to be with him on his side, to believe in what he believes, and to act upon it. And it is in the last few scenes that the people of England are seen wearing these masks and creating chaos and pretty much saying: we are the people and this our land, we can do whatever we want. And they were successful in showing the government that it is the people who make up a nation, and it is the people who should have a say.
Overall, the film gives so much hope and is so significant to society and to the individual. One line that I will never forget from a film is the last line from Natalie Portman when she takes on V’s responsibility after his death. “We are all V.” In that one line, in those four words, she says so much. It wasn’t everything to blow up a historic and meaningful monument, the Parliament, it didn’t heal the nation, but it SAID something. It signified the people’s rights, the people’s power, and the people’s voice. V was just the vessel, the instrument, to instill their hope and fulfill their long awaited desire, V was the people. And with that, I must say that this film is not only plot- driven, but character- driven. It is timeless and one of its own. It goes to show that there is purpose in violence, in revenge, in chaos, in fear, in hope, and in love when you’re fighting for something so much greater than you, just as V attempted and succeeded to do. It goes to show that even the heartless can love.