Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent to blow up the King and the Parliament.

Okay, so she can act. I have no idea why she doesn't do it more often, because she is apparently really good at it. Either that or this story really meant something to her. Or she finally got a director that actually knew how to work with actors. Either way, Portman is fantastic in V for Vendetta. And she's not the only one; James McTeigue was a former assistant director on a slew of blockbusters, including the Matrix films, but he has a definite flair for casting and in most cases getting very natural performances. Stephen Rea is perfect as usual, Stephen Fry turns in a fine performance, and the supporting cast all deliver the goods. On the other end of the spectrum, it's nice to see a film that gives John Hurt a chance to really use his theatrical presence.

The cast list of the film lists the title character V as being played by Hugo Weaving, but because of the mask, the actor's primary contribution is his voice and a sleek, cat-like quality to his movements. Much of the character's emotions are instead cleverly conveyed by Adrian Biddle's amazingly subtle lighting effects. Biddle's work on the film is extremely memorable; because of his death the film is dedicated to him, which in some ways is fitting considering that it contains some of his best work.

I admit that I was pretty ambivalent about this film because it was being touted as being "an uncompromising vision of the future from the creators of the Matrix trilogy," but their screenplay (apparently written before The Matrix) has a tendency to feel very Alan Moore-ish. I don't know how accurate the film is to its source; I picked up the graphic novel with the intention of reading it before the film came out, but I ended up getting wrapped up in a Timothy Zahn novel (Angelmass) instead. However, Moore is the author of The Watchmen, which is one of my favorite books ever, and with which this story has many parallel themes.

This is a refreshingly subversive film as well, drawing pretty interesting parallels from the world of the film with contemporary events. The rationale for V's methodology is similar to Bruce Wayne's in Batman Begins (the symbol outlives the man), but here the cause is political, and so resonates differently. The story revolves around political limits, primarily the state versus the rights of the individual, but also of the individual's responsibility to society at large to act against injustice. It does this, however, by emphasizing the characters and their struggles with the world they live in; ironically, this helps put a 'human face' on a character whose face we don't see.

Unfortunately, the film while immediately effective, doesn't really work when scrutinized. There are too many plot conveniences, and there is an element to the relationship between Eve and V that is very wrong. I won't reveal what it is for the sake of those who have not seen the film, but it is something that gives one serious pause.

I saw the film in IMAX, which was pretty impressive, although perhaps a bit overmuch for the film in question. I really wish that they would actually shoot films in larger formats again, though, for while the digital process that creates the IMAX blow-ups is very good at eliminating grain and often feature better color saturation than 35 millimeter high-speed contact prints (especially with a Super 35 source), the fact of the matter is that while it looks better than a standard 35 millimeter print, the image is not as detailed as it should be for a screen that size. Having seen several films that were shot in 70 millimeter, I can honestly say that people really don't know what they're missing. There is a crispness and stability to large format film production that you just don't get any other way. I'm not saying that films should be shot in IMAX, but is 70 millimeter stock so expensive?
Tags: cinema

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