V for Vendetta

I'm not sure there are enough good things that I can say about V for Vendetta.

It hits you between the eyes almost from the opening credits and barely eases up at all until the last scene. The plot is complex and absorbing, the characters deep and sympathetic, the special effects, whilst a little comic-book-like are smoothly done and rarely, if ever, overpower the storyline.

The movie is set in an alternate version of "not too far in the future", where the USA has been reduced to an anarchistic third-world nation begging the rest of the world for medical and financial aid, allowing Britain to regain its former place as the world's most powerful nation, albeit under the boot of a tyrannical theocracy headed by Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt).

Enter V, a cloaked figure, masked in the likeness of Guy Fawkes, who blows up the Old Bailey on November 5th - a date that needs no explaining to British viewers, but in order to maintain international appeal, is explained in the movie but without belabouring the point - and then issues a challenge to both the government and the British people: In one year's time, on Guy Fawke's night, V will destroy the Houses of Parliament. The government is challenged to stop him, if it can, and the people are challenged to join him - to rise up and reclaim their country from those that have taken it.

What follows is a beautifully done tale of totalitarianism vs patriotism, set against the slowly unfolding story of V's origins and the development of Evey (superbly played by Natalie Portman) from terrified victim to confident freedom fighter.

It's good to have a good vs evil movie that doesn't revolve around "truth, justice and the American way" for a change, a patriotic, stirring movie that British people can cheer about.

The climax of the movie is a scene which is, I'm sure, powerful enough for all audiences, but for me it brought a lump of patriotic pride to my throat the likes of which I've rarely experienced before.

And as if that's not enough, there's a further layer. British audiences will be able to play "spot the Brit" as many British actors have parts, from non-speaking cameos up to major roles. And watch for the Benny Hill homage - it's hilarious.

If you only see one movie this year, see this one. And it's worth going to the cinema for it. Trust me.

Doombreed rating: ******

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