I saw V in its original release at about the lowest time in modern US politics, just before the 2004 election. For the previous 3 years, the horror and fear of 9/11 had suffused the country and was being shoved down people’s throats to allow government unprecedented power. Sound familiar? There is a reason it resonated for those of us who took the time to go see it then. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I and my fellow theater goers were practically on our feet at the end cheering. It was both cathartic and instructive and it reminded us of one of the most important aspects of modern life: People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people. It was, and remains, a very empowering movie.
Recently, I re-watched V, probably for the tenth time (if not more). I was feeling frustrated with all the stupidity in Congress over the fiscal cliff, not to mention the rest of the government ails around the world. This movie has the incredible ability to provide a sense of hope… without the need to blow up Parliament or Congress. I imagine I will come back to it often again, if not for the message, for the action and fun with which it is packed.
This movie may also have the best script the Warchowski’s ever adapted–though they were helped immensely by Moore’s (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, Lost Girls) outstanding original material and dialogue in the graphic novel. V’s first speech is among those directly lifted from those pages. Weaving’s incredible performance, who never shows his face and yet imparts an incredible range of emotion from behind a mask, makes all of it sing. And while Portman is solid in her role and journey, it is V’s movie all the way. She simply serves as our surrogate for the transformation.
If you somehow haven’t found this film yet, do. It not only was one of the most overlooked movies of its year, but was also among the most powerful and most lasting. If only McTeigue could direct another like it… sadly his recent release, The Raven, may have been beautiful, but he was unable to make it rise above the mediocre material.