A Few General Notes on James Mcteigue’s “V For Vendetta.”

Some notes I’d jotted down, while watching it again – spic-and-spammed up, here and there.

“There was something about the film that had been nagging at me since I’d written my initial review for the film, but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it until just recently, and particularly in the opening scenes, the confrontation between V and the Fingermen at the beginning of the film.

The staging feels – artificial, somehow. Not in every scene, but it’s a streak that seems to run throughout the film in certain scenes. In the aforementioned confrontation, for example, there are several moments that really exemplify this – when the Fingermen have Evey up against the wall, all that happens (that we, the audience, can see) is the ‘head guy’ lightly ruffling her clothes a little bit, while the entirety of the set behind him just looks ’empty,’ and not in a deliberate way – it’s as if some piece of set or structure, like a dumpster or even some rotting wood, something that was meant to fill the space behind them, went missing just before they began shooting, but they’d decided to forge on, anyway. It gives the whole thing a weird sort of unintentional ‘theatre set’ vibe.

Everything in this scene – from the clothes to the street and the surrounding set – feels far too ‘clean’ and set. It’s the same problem I had with Snyder’s “Watchmen,” although it was a much larger detriment there. It doesn’t feel like a section of city, it feels like actors on a set, which it is.  This impression isn’t helped by the Fingermen’s dialogue, either. Far from the naturalistic flow of Alan Moore’s dialogue, this scene is replete with lines like:

“-that means we get to exercise our judicial discretion.”                                                                                                                                      “And you get to swallow it.”

And, later on:

“What do you think, lads?”                                                                                                                                                                                                 “Spare the rod, and spoil the child!”

With a few evil cackles thrown in, here and there as Evey screams “Oh, won’t somebody please help me!” behind all of it. Of course, the artificiality could have been intentional, but – to me, at least – it doesn’t seem that way, as this only seems to occur in certain scenes. Another example being example being V’s last stand against Creedy’s men, where the question then becomes – “Even if he’s moving at an ungodly speed, what were the seven or eight other officers doing while he was taking his sweet time mowing them down, one by one?” It reminds me a little of that nineties Ninja Turtles cash-in, “Surf Ninjas,” riffed on semi-famously by that guy, with the glasses, whatever his name was – where, Leslie Nielsen’s foot soldiers just seem so dumbfounded that they’ve forgotten how to use their guns and just fling themselves at Ernie Rayes.

Mainly, this seems to be a problem with the more action-oriented scenes, as it all but disappears in th more intimate scenes between V and Evey, or Finch and Dominic, or V and Ms. Surridge. And, I’m really starting to take a shine to the “Valerie” portion of the film – that ten minute section is just perfect.”

Oh, and who remembers this weird-looking thing, from early 2005 or thereabouts?


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