Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Apparently a Must-See

I've been waiting for my copy of V for Vendetta to come in at the library. I've been somewhat remiss in not reading it before now, it being one of the major works of Alan Moore, who I don't think I need to tell you, is a bit of a big thing in the comics world. Anyway, when I saw the first trailer for the movie version, I immediately ordered the graphic novel so that I could read it before seeing the movie. Now, thanks to James Wolcott I'm questioning that decision. Wolcott's praise of the film has gotten me excited, and definitely definitely raised my expectations:

... but when it was over I knew it was the movie our post 9-11 minds craved and unconsciously had been working towards, a movie that conjured the fear of terrorism and repression and didn’t just tell us how we got into the Orwellian predicament we’re in (terrain already attacked by Fahrenheit 9-11, Syriana, Why We Fight), but made the imaginative leap that would lift us out of the news, out of the political present, and stand up to that fear—face it with fury and compassion. The irony is that to face the fear, a mask was required, a mask with a mocking grin.

V for Vendetta may be--why hedge? is--the most subversive cinematic deed of the Bush-Blair era, a dagger poised in midair. Unlike the other movies dubbed “controversial” (Fahrenheit 9-11, The Passion, Munich, Syriana), it doesn’t play to a particular constituency or polarized culture bloc, it’s working on a deeper, Edger Allen Poe-ish witch’s brew substrata of pop myth.

And make no mistake V for Vendetta is fun, dangerous fun, percussive with brutality and laced with ironic ambiguity and satirical slapstick (a Benny Hill homage, no less!). But gives the movie its rebel power is the moral seriousnessthat drives the action, emotion, and allegory. That’s what I didn’t expect from the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix), this angry, summoning Tom Paine moral dispatch that puts our pundits, politicians, and cable news hosts to shame. V for Vendetta instills force into the very essence of four-letter words like hate, love, and (especially) fear, and releases that force like a fist. Off come the masks, and the faces are revealed.

After that review, I'm not sure if I want to ruin the movie by reading the book first. Of course, it could turn out that the book is a work of art several degrees of magnitude greater than the film, but damn I'm excited about seeing this movie now. That, my friends, is a go see it on opening day kind of review. So, who's up for it?

1 comment:

Degolar said...

Certainly interested. When does it open?