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‘V for Vendetta’ has its moments

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By Johnathan Kroncke

Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving star in “V for Vendetta”. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

By Johnathan Kroncke

Remember, remember the fifth of November.

Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix,” “The Lord of the Rings”) once again puts his acting prowess on display as the star of “V for Vendetta.”

In the near future, the former United States is a quivering mass of turmoil and destruction. The only remaining super power is England, whose government now resembles that of Nazi Germany.

Everything from freedom of speech to homosexuality is outlawed in this new world and no one dares question the ruling party. No one even questions how they came to power.

No one, except for V.

Armed with only knives and a Guy Fawkes mask, V, played by Weaving, is the only hope there is to end the tyranny of this Orwellian future.

Weaving is tremendous as the silver-tongued V, spouting his truth about government, freedom and a little Shakespeare for good measure.

His martial arts skills certainly have not faded since the conclusion of the “Matrix” trilogy as V has several fights in which he must act with lightening-quick speed and agility.

Natalie Portman (“Garden State,” “Closer”) co-stars as Evey Hammond, the girl who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Evey is taken aback by V and his revolutionary ideals as she soon learns that he is more than just a freak pretending it’s Halloween.

Meanwhile, V’s attacks on government buildings and government controlled television stations garner him great attention in the form of London’s finest tracing his every footstep.

They must stop him before Nov. 5 and his promised attack on Parliament, a symbol that this government shall reign no more.

It is hard to avoid the not-so-subtle jabs at the Bush administration. V constantly speaks of how governments should be afraid of their people and not the other way around.

He also states several times that for a government to act without the consent, or rather against the will, of its people is to usurp their rights and freedoms. Forgetting personal political affiliations, the man has a point.

Aside from politics, symbolism is the main them of this movie. Everything from the mask V wears to the final scene of the movie is symbolic of what he hopes to accomplish and of the ideals that he represents.

Andy and Larry Wachowski (“The Matrix”) team up once again to write the screenplay and it is probably safe to say that based on their film history, they are not in favor of control. The brothers do a good job with this comic book adaptation, but not great.

Despite its positive aspects, the movie does have its places that it could improve. It slows to a crawl in more than one place, making the two hours seem that much longer.

The Wachowskis would have also done well to provide more background information throughout the movie about V and the government that has taken over.

Instead, the information that is given is dropped on the audience in chunks rather than spread out over the course of the movie, allowing time for it to sink in.

Overall, “V for Vendetta” has room to improve but leaves an impression with its fine acting and well-written dialogue.

It is much deeper and more sophisticated than the average comic book movie and while the plot can be a little confusing, the message rings clear.

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