V for Vendetta is a cinematic masterpiece because it forces discomfort onto its viewers, showing them an extremity of governance that most do not want to see. I have seen the movie now several times and every time, I am rendered speechless and pensive at its end. Based on the comic book series of the same name, the film centers on V (played by an eloquent Hugo Weaving), a revolutionary who uses terrorism to draw attention to a totalitarian regime, and Evey (strikingly played by Natalie Portman), a woman inadvertently caught up in V’s fight for justice. Set in England in an alternate universe where the U.S. has descended into civil war and the horrors of bio-warfare have given rise to a totalitarian regime, V for Vendetta unsettlingly recalls images of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, and George Orwell’s1984.
This movie forces us to face the rights that we hold dear, for what we would give them up, and whether we would stand up in the face of a government which granted us security but did not have our best interests at heart. The bold cinematography highlights the intensity of the action in an obvious and sometimes cliché but nevertheless beautiful way, and the screenplay provides countless quotable and provocative lines (e.g. “Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof”). This movie is my favorite, though if you want something funny and light, I’d opt for a chick flick.