The DVD I had delivered earlier this week was V for Vendetta. It is based on a series of comics written by Alan Moore in the early 1980’s and later collected into a graphic novel, which I have read and enjoyed. I had been attracted by the trailers but didn’t get round to seeing it at the cinema so I was keen to see how the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix, etc) and their collaborators had interpreted the story for the silver screen.
The plot is set in a dystopian near-future. At the time Moore originally wrote it, the real-world context was a critique of the Thatcherite Conservatism that was dominating British politics; in 2006, the mind turns to think of homeland security and the increasing number of laws governments are putting in place to “protect us” from things that are feared.
I didn’t come away disappointed. The film manages to be visually adept, challenging, controversial and moving. How many recent Western films have confidently placed a terrorist, the modern bogey-man, as a hero? Overall, the result is a morality play that is strengthened by heroes who have their complexities and faults; it is not realistic but goes beyond that to leave real questions of how much we can secure our freedom without stifling it.
All in all, a worthy rendering of Moore’s work into film.