James McTeigue, 2005, USA/Germany (132 mins)
Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt
It’s 2020 and Britain is a totalitarian state run by a hysterical politician (Hurt). Time for a new gunpowder plot, and the mysterious V (Weaving) is the masked man ready to light the fuse. But political ideals are entwined with a personal thirst for vengeance, with V steadily bumping off a shopping list of villains involved in the government conspiracy that created him.
A reluctant protégé, Evey (Portman) cannot decide if he is a deranged psychopath or moral warrior. And neither can director McTeigue, who portrays V as an improbable love interest and martyr-figure long after he has lost audience sympathy. At constant pains to stress it’s prescience on matters of terrorism and the erosion of civil rights, the film trips over its own plot holes and confuses infantile rhetoric with intelligent comment. Still, some cool explosions, an impressive domino rally and the pseudo-philosophy will generate lively post-screening pub discussions. Kate Taylor