Remember Remember the fifth of November....
I am a few days late on this review, but I did, in fact, watch the movie on the beloved Guy Fawkes Day (nothing like good ol' fashion treason). This film has a lot of strengths, and I'll show you the few weaknesses that people tended to miss because it was so good.
On the surface of things, it was a well made movie. The special effects were great (when they needed them), the acting was wonderful (as can only be expected from Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman and a British cast), and the social commentary was poignant, especially for the time it arrived in theaters. Surprisingly more dialogue-driven, the action sequences were a great buffer, and the very Orwellian-fascist future demanded this kind of approach. Considering the dialogue, very little was wasted. It all helped drive the different themes home when we arrived at the close. The social commentary was a brave one, clearly commenting on the neo-conservativism and its rule-by-fear methods. And, although there were some that already backed this at the time of release (much more now, obviously), the hero of the story was a terrorist. A terrorist with ideals, plans to blow up a major government building, kill key members of the ruling government, and to cause uprival. A line from V that truly digs to the heart of this film is, "People should not fear their government. The government should fear its people."
The deeper level is what provides the surface with such strength. The dialogue is powerful and well done because it is riddled poignancy and depth. V, a very intelligent character, drives the meaning well because he knows what's going on; he is the ideal. And in a more subtle fashion, every character has a feeling of rebellion, a little piece of V, in a way, and they are all able to exemplify one aspect of the theme in themselves. Evie is the most obvious, because her role is to begin as a regular citizen and to transform into pure rebel, into terrorist, into V. Without her and her subplot we don't begin to understand V and his tragic flaw: his hell-bent revenge, unable to see or love anything else. This film deals with ideals, coincidences/consequences, and an intimate study of individuals surrounded by them. A few creative moments should be noted: the entire speech given by the fascist Prime Minister at the end, the quick shot of V getting shot during the coincidences monologue, and Evie's comment on V's favorite film.
Unfortunately, like any film, there are some minor flaws. Although the themes are prevalent, they are prevalent to a degree that is strikingly similar to a big mallet with "THEME" written on it in big letters being mashed into one's skull. A moment where this is very clear is V setting up an inordinate amount of black and red (his favorite colors) dominoes so that when he flicks one they tumble gloriously to show off his wonderful symbol. V's powers are also very underplayed, underspoken, leaving most audiences confused or disbelieving, which makes for an awkward moment when he kicks the crap out of a non-descript amount of men before any of them can manage to reload. And finally, McCreedy is suddenly chosen to be the Prime Minister's scape goat as soon as V has decided to offer himself up in exchange for the Prime Minister to McCreedy. Until this point, there seemed to be no reason or inclination that the Prime Minister would turn on and blame McCreedy. Plotholes aside, they are minor and insignificant. The film is well-scripted, well balanced, and beautifully cinematic.