The hero of the story is a murderous anarchist. The setting is a dark, futuristic London ruled with an iron fist by a totalitarian government that controls its citizens through fear and terror. Minorities are jailed.
Dissent, free expression and religious beliefs are crushed. Censorship is the order of the day. Torture is commonplace. Biological attacks kill thousands of people.
Yes, “V for Vendetta” is pretty much the feel-good movie of the year.
You laugh, but the film, which opened Friday, is expected to join a small, but elite group (think “Pulp Fiction” and “The Matrix”) of dark, twisted flicks that are regarded by a certain segment of the moviegoing population as a cool, pop-culture benchmark.
“V for Vendetta” definitely has a “cool” pedigree. It’s based on a popular graphic novel written in the 1980s and brought to the big screen by the team responsible for the “Matrix” trilogy.
“I like to think that I’m always involved with cool movies,” says producer Joel Silver (“The Matrix,” “Die Hard,” “Lethal Weapon”). “I’m not sure what makes some movies cool, but in this case, we just followed the material.”
A major difference between “The Matrix” and “V for Vendetta,” however, is in the main character. Neo was a sympathetic hero; V is not always so lovable.
“Our hero has a complex morality,” director James McTeigue concedes.
“On the one hand, he has determined to affect social change. On the other hand, he is on a murderous vendetta.
“But, in the end, I see him as a superhero, in that he has been physically and psychologically altered by an event.”
No one will confuse him with Spider-Man. And this story is not about impressing the girl next door.
Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith of “The Matrix” and Elrond of “The Lord of the Rings”) stars as V, a masked avenger intent on bringing down the totalitarian British government of 2020. Natalie Portman, in her first solo starring role, is a young woman who is rescued and befriended by the mysterious V.
Some have concluded that the film’s intended target is the current administration in Washington, D.C.
“I have heard some people say they think it is about Bush’s America,” McTeigue says, “but other people have pointed to Nazi Germany. I had one fellow from South Korea tell me that he thought it was about North Korea.
“At the end of the day, I think it is an allegorical tale about all societies where governments are no longer a voice of the people.”