Friday, March 24th, 2006
Remember Remember The Fifth Of November
Even though it’s certainly flawed and easy enough to pick apart if you so desire (overlong, poorly paced, visually uninspired), I found V For Vendetta to be quite riveting. Though the graphic novel was originally intended to be a scathing commentrary on Thatcher’s England in the 1980s, the cinematic version is disturbing timely and topical twenty years later, with only minor tweaks to the story.
Quick synopsis – England is a totalitarian state, V is a freedom fighter/terrorist (isn’t that a sticky wicket) who tromps about in a Guy Fawkes mask blowing up buildings, Evey is a latent freedom fighter/terrorist who inadvertently falls in with V’s cause. There’s a lot of vengeance, pontificating, flashbacks (excessively so), some gruesome deaths and The Wachowski Brothers’ new gimmick – knife time. It’s like bullet time, but bloodier and with streaks. As I mentioned before, the film’s flaws are legion, but that it even exists – I distinctly remember someone saying shortly after 9/11 that there was now no way that this film, which champions a terrorist as hero, could ever be made – is something of a triumph and that it was the #1 film at the box office last week even more so. There are people out there who are expecting to see a sci-fi action flick and instead are going to be hit over the head with none-too-subtle political commentary (and some action, yes). If Michael Moore really wants to get his message across, he’ll stop making documentaries and start producing Vin Diesel flicks.
It’s interesting that Hugo Weaving gets a top billing even though you never actually see him. Which isn’t to say that he doesn’t deserve it – anyone who has to recite all his lines twice, once during filming and once for his voice overs – definitely gets props in my book. But that really could have been anyone in that outfit and doing the voice. In fact, my memory has now replaced V’s voice with Darth Vader’s. Awesome. Also odd – the fact that V’s jukebox would have Cat Power and Antony & The Johnsons on it. But not as odd as the fact that they went with The Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” over the closing credits. Whuh?
MTV has an article about V creator Alan Moore and his long-standing battle against film adaptations of his work, covering all the celluloid travesties based on his creations to date. His formal disavowal of V For Vendetta notwithstanding, it’s certainly head and shoulders above League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen or From Hell. Purists will still surely be outraged but purists exist to be outraged. It’s their thing. It’s what they do.
Another artist who had something to say about Margaret Thatcher back in the day – Billy Bragg – tells The AV Club about how the state of England in the 80s politicized him, answers some questions from Salon and talks to NOW about his new box set, Volume 1. I’ve just realized that the reason he didn’t play much/anything from Worker’s Playtime at his recent show is that it’s not covered in the box set releases – which means that I won’t be able to give away my copy of Victim Of Geography (which collects Talking With The Taxman About Poetry and Worker’s Playtime one one convenient disc) just yet.
The National’s Bryce Dessner talks to Chart about meeting big fan Bruce Springsteen, sibling rivalry and plans for the new album. They’re recording from June through August and are probably looking at a 2007 release for the follow-up to Alligator.
When is the umpteenth SxSW recap worth reading? When it comes courtesy of The Onion’s AV Club. Most exciting to see that they were also floored by Eric Bachmann’s set but that he’ll be putting out a solo album later this year. I thought maybe I was the only online reporting-type person who was at his show – everyone else was seeing the Flaming Arctic Tapes or something.
…and we’re back on a plane this morning! Huzzah.
np – Luna / Penthouse