Cast & Credits
Evey Hammond: Natalie Portman
V: Hugo Weaving
Finch: Stephen Rea
Deitrich: Stephen Fry
Sutler: John Hurt
The premise of the movie is a post-apocalyptic world. Come to think of it what other kind of world is there? The year is 2020 and a virus has over run the world with most Americans dead after the war it started enveloped the world. Now that kinda sounds scarily like a premonition doesn't it? In this chaotic world Britain survives and is ruled by a fascist dictator who promises security but not freedom.
Britain is ruled by a fascist ruler Chancellor Sutler whose face looms from posters and TV screens. He gives orders in a very Big Brother sort of way using a huge wall-sized TV that would be very cool for watching this movie on. Everything is wrong in this new world. Minorities (us Bangladeshi?), gays, and protesters have disappeared into death camps. Secret police known as "fingermen" becaue they only point with fingers to accuse cause chaos. Sounds depressingly like Bangladesh doesn't it?
And then we have the hero, one lone man who stands against al that is evil. This is a masked man named V who moves through London like a wraith despite the desperate efforts of the police. His mask shows the face of Guy Fawkes, who in 1605 tried to blow up the houses of Parliament, in real life history. School children burn effigies of this man on Guy Fawkes Day every year, that too in real life.
On the eve of 2020, V saves a young TV reporter named Evey from rape at the hands of the police. She joins his crusade and tags along for a good deal of things going ka-blooey all happening in the next 12 months.
Yep, this movie is about V's exploits for 12 months, until the night when he has vowed to strike a crushing blow against the dictatorship. The state tries to suppress knowledge of his deeds but V commandeers the national television network to claim authorship of his deeds. V sweeps in like a whirlwind, using martial arts, ingenious weapons and the element of surprise.
This is an adaptation of a cult 80's comics by Alan Moore who has ended up removing his name from the credits. Go figure. It's written and co-produced by the Wachowski brothers of "Matrix" fame though this movie is more literary and less dominated by special effects. That does not mean there is any lack of effects.
"V for Vendetta" always has something interesting going on that makes you think about the character and plot. The casting includes a lot of character actors and it is brilliantly done with memorable characters including Stephen Rea (as Finch) and Rupert Graves as the police assigned to lead the search for V. The good-hearted Finch and his loyal assistant work to uncover V's grim back story against the advice of head fingerman Creedy and Sutler himself. The trail leads to a secret experimental camp where human bodies are thrown into pits and covered with quicklime. It's a grim setting with a lone hero (maybe not quite so lone) sets out to seek justice. It's not just your typical blow=em-up flick but has a healthy dose of plot twists and enough material to get your mental juices flowing. It's a great combination of eye candy and ideas.
When Driver came out it was one of the coolest car chase games with a decent storyline. And the critics panned it. Makes you wonder what the critics really want. To be fair to the game it did not have very detailed cars, graphics or even accurate physics modeling. But despite its flaws the game was hugely enjoyable and at the end of the day that's what really counts.
Sadly the sequel to Driver was a disappointment for the lackluster gameplay as expected form the first. So there I go panning the game like every other critic. Driver3 came out later with super cool graphics but plenty of game bugs but that didn't stop it form being fun. It provided good driving.
Now the fourth addition Driver: Parallel Lines is better than the last although I wouldn't say impressive.
Couple of people I know who have played Parallel Lines have complained it is the most blatant Grand Theft Auto clone to date. But let's face it, GTAIII actually picked up where the first two Driver games left off. So who's cloning whom?
Parallel Lines has a very GTA feel to it because any car based role playing game right now will be compared GTA. It can't be helped. Do I sound like I am defending the game? I am because when you overlook the fact that it GTA-ish then it become quite enjoyable.
This time you're set in 1978 where you are an 18-year-old named TK. The location is New York City apparently because your character deemed it cool for excitement. You have good driving skills (obviously) and hook up with a few criminals to make it big in the cocaine business. Can't help but draw references to the be-a-gangster gameplay of GTA.
Things don't work out quite well and your character gets framed and locked up for 28 years. You get out in the present day with revenge on the mind.
The gameplay includes a big open city broken up into three areas by bridges. Sounds familiar? You earn money this time (sheesh, more GTA reference) with side-missions to spend on car upgrades. But cars will be disposed off in mere seconds at times so spending money on upgrades seems pointless. So earning money can be given a rest.
The story path includes a variety of missions including races, package collection and many other GTA feel-alikes such as stealing a car, fitting it with a bomb and then leaving it for the owner to have a blast.
You also have missions on foot where you meet a little problem with the slightly out-of-focus targeting system. Practice is required because you get into lots of gunfights and most of your enemies are crack shots.
The cop factor is cool and a bit of a hassle like in real life. Police cars drive all over and you can see them on your radar. Speeding, running a red light, or causing a collision while in a cop's line of vision raises your heat level like in NFS.
When cops see and you speed away the heat level rises. If the cops see you get out of that car, the heat is all on you, and they'll chase you regardless of which vehicle you're driving. But the cops are quite dumb so they are easy to avoid which can take out the fun at times. Overall the cops can be annoying because you have to watch out for them and drive carefully. Who wants to do that in a smash-em-up car game?
Graphically it is quite good although it looks better on XBOX. PS2 things can get slightly pixelated but it is still very decent looking. It's better than Driver 3 but still needs to go a little farther. It's a mostly competent GTA clone (there I've admitted it).
Born: 9 June 1981, Where: Jerusalem, Israel, Awards: Won 1 Golden Globe, nominated for 1 Oscar and 1 BAFTA, Height: 5' 3”
Child stars in general have a dreadful time growing up. Cast primarily for their looks (or their connections), the onset of acne ordinarily proves fatal. No longer cute, they are nothing, fit only to be cast into the bottomless dustbin of history. But sometimes child stars have something else to them. Not simply precociousness, but a sense that they are far older than their years. Jodie Foster had it. Haley Joel Osment had it, so did Christina Ricci. Jennifer Connelly had it, too, though she had to wait 20 years for everyone to recognise it. And, of course, there's Natalie Portman, who began her career in two of the hardest-hitting films of the mid-Nineties (Leon and Heat), then acquitted herself well in comedy, ensemble pieces and high drama before starring as the regal love interest in George Lucas's 3-part prequel to the Star Wars trilogy. An extraordinary growth pattern, and all the more so because she also found time to undergo a high class academic education. No fool, her.
Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem on the 9th of June, 1981. Her grandfather had been a Polish Jew and socialist who, when young, had organised special camps to teach agriculture to young men moving to Israel - the first kibbutzim. Her name was not Portman, it was Hershlag. When debuting onscreen, Natalie wisely took her grandmother's name to avoid any interference in her schooling and private life. Her father, Avner, was a doctor, specialising in fertility. Throughout Natalie's youth, he would return from work and announce how many women he had made pregnant that day. At age 8, Natalie would be reprimanded for repeating his stories at school. Her mother, Shelley, from Ohio, was an artist, and later Natalie's agent. Coincidentally, Shelley was conceived on Natalie's dad's birthday, as was Natalie herself.
Since sparkling at age twelve in Leon, Natalie Portman has crafted a career for herself as one of the finest young actors in Hollywood. The roles she picks are unfailingly fascinating, challenging and well-drawn and she's performed with effortless ability in projects both big and small. Here's an excerpt for an online interview.
How did you come across the graphic novel?
Natalie Portman: I was introduced to it when I was offered a part in the film and was just blown away by it. I had not been familiar with the genre and had always just lumped it together with comic books and thought they were, like, things for boys or whatever. But it's great literature and it's just beautiful art. I think we all made this movie out of deep respect and admiration for the original work.
What appealed to you about the role?
NP: Coming from Israel it was very interesting for me to consider the mind-set of someone who goes from being non-violent to being drawn towards using violence to express her political beliefs. I enjoyed the fact that it was a complicated journey that can be interpreted on many different levels. Maybe she's being manipulated, maybe she's finding her true self, and maybe she's just developing pragmatism over idealism.
There's so many ways and levels of interpretation on it. I appreciated that sort of complicated view as it was something I had been thinking about a lot. What would make someone want to do this sort of thing?
What was it like shaving your head?
NP: Obviously for the character it was a very traumatic experience as it's a violence committed upon her, but for me I got to choose to do it so obviously it didn't feel like a violence being committed against me. And it was actually kind-of wonderful; as a woman you're expected to be primping and preening yourself so it was a pretty nice opportunity to get to not think about that stuff for a little.
Was it tricky acting opposite a mask?
NP: Working with the mask, I think it's kind of amazing. As an audience and as a character working opposite a mask, because you're always wondering what's going on behind it you're always thinking, "Are they laughing behind that? Are they smiling behind that?"
You're so engaged with the other person's emotions, namely Hugo's acting, that you almost become that other person. There's this incredible engagement with the character that you feel as an actor opposite it. And Hugo is such a wonderful actor that his performance is so vocally and physically specific. It was a great help, it wasn't like working with blue-screen or something where you have to imagine a performance opposite you; he was giving a very full-bodied performance
What did you think when you read the script?
NP: When I received the script I was just so shocked by the fact that a big Hollywood action movie could actually have substance and something that's provocative and is going to make people think and feel very strong things. Whatever those various reactions would be. I was like, "This is crazy! I want to do this!" *laughs* I thought this was exactly the kind of entertainment I was interested in making. I'm pleased with how it's turned out.
Did you get a chance to sample the London nightlife and culture while you were here?
NP: I don't really go out when I'm working because I really can't keep it together if I do! *laughs* But I have, you know, gone out when I wasn't working. I enjoy working here a lot, actually, because there's a lot of non-clubby stuff to do on weekends that can keep you interested and occupied when you're away from all of your family and friends at home. I love the weekend movies. This is the greatest city to see movies. I love the respect that London has; having a National Film Theatre and how all of the theatres show a repertory on the weekends. That was sort-of my social life while I was here! *laughs* Very nerdy!
V has his shadow gallery, where he stores items that have been banned by the government. If you had your own, what'd you store?
NP: Well, I guess since a lot of what V has are things that are censored, I'll picked things that have been censored. Lolita, one of my favourite books. And... That's