I saw it. I enjoyed it. I was inspired by it. I want to see it again.
Unlike other movie reviewers (Michael Medved), I am going to try and leave my political leanings at the door. But, for the sake of disclosure, I am a member of the Libertarian Party and you can take that for whatever it is worth to you.
Before I get into the meat of the movie, you know, the juicy political stuff that has everyone salivating, I want to mention what I thought of the movie as a movie. The film was wonderfully done. The Wachowski Brothers, makers of The Matrix Trilogy where they used the ground-breaking stop-time technique, are the brains behind V for Vendetta. The same technique isn't used in V, but the same detailed choreography in the fight scenes is certainly evident.
The performances from Natalie Portman (Evey), Hugo Weaving (V) and John Hurt (Chancellor Adam Sutler) were incredible. Portman, I think, will be considered one of her generation's greatest actors when all is said and done and this film will be mentioned as an example. Her character runs the spectrum emotionally and physically and Portman takes you on that journey. Hugo Weaving is stuck behind a mask the entire film, but vocally his performance is amazing. You have to see V in the theatre to get the full audio effect. At times I found myself wanting to close my eyes and just listen to V give his monologues. Specifically, the monologue at the beginning of the film. The writing is incredible, but the delivery is astounding.
Much has been made of how this film supposedly glorifies terrorism and terrorists. Also, how this film supposedly draws from the current political atmosphere and bashes America for its foreign policy and even its domestic policy. That, I believe, is in the eye of the beholder (Medved).
If you have not seen the film, and even if you have, I ask you to answer the following questions. Was the American Revolution a right or wrong cause? By fighting against the establishment, would the revolutionists be considered terrorists or patriots in today's world? Is the government (any government) always right? When the government is wrong, is it the right of the people to stand up and do what is necessary to prompt change?
This is what V for Vendetta deals with. The film's basic premise is that the government has gained all power and the democracy that the people once enjoyed is gone. A totalitarian government is in rule and martial law is imposed. The government in power runs a full-scale propaganda machine, namely the British Television Network. As it is, the people within the police state accept the will of the government, because the government tells them it is for their safety and protection. There is no such chance of change, the government won't allow it, you will be jailed. The words treason and sedition appear repeatedly throughout the film. These words are directed at the citizens... the government can't be accused of such acts, those acts happen against the government, not by it.
But there is one individual who has had enough. He is V and he chooses not to forget the long ago plot to overthrow the King of England on the 5th of November, 1605. The Gunpowder Plot is central to the plan of V. But, as was Guy Fawkes in 1605, V is portrayed as a terrorist. Because the government is right and it's motives are pure, any attempt against it is seen as terroristic.
The Wachowski Brothers are trying to point out that an attempt to overthrow the government isn't necessarily terroristic. The government will obviously consider such actions terroristic because they are the ones in power. But, the founders of America were clear to point out that it is the people's duty to keep the government in check. That the government isn't immune to tyranny. The founders implemented the second amendment as a protection for the people against a possible, maybe inevitable, tyrannical government.
V for Vendetta is meant to wake up the masses. It is meant to make you question your freedom, especially in this time we live. One of the truism's in the movie is spoken by V, he says, "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." Fear is another big theme. It is mentioned that one can not truly be free until they no longer have fear. V shows Evey the path towards this enlightenment and it is one of the most powerful moments of the film.
V for Vendetta is a cautionary tale. It might seem as if it is a direct political commentary on America, but it is more than that, it is a warning. This is what will happen if the citizenry chooses to allow the government to trample on their trust.
If you are just looking to be entertained, this movie will do that. The action is intense and if you aren't worried about the complex nuances, well, enjoy. But, for the rest of you, brush up on your revolutionary history. Become familiar with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution again. Go in with a mindset that everything you believe about government and its role in your life, just might be wrong. Keep an open mind.