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Arts Recommends

By The Brandeis Hoot

Section: Arts

November 16, 2012

V for Vendetta

Released in 2005, “V for Vendetta” tells the story of dystopian England in the 2030s, and the efforts of the freedom fighter V (Hugo Weaving) to bring to light the atrocities committed by the government, as well as avenge the wrongs done to him. Along the way, he meets Evey (Natalie Portman), a woman he trains to be his successor and with which he later falls in love.

“V for Vendetta” forces the viewer to ask whether a fighter who commits evil acts can truly be considered a hero, or merely a vigilante, out for vengeance. Revolution against oppressive government powers is also prominent in the film and provides most of the film’s moral justification for V’s actions; this was so well-received that the iconic Guy Fawkes mask, which V uses has become a symbol of demonstrations against governmental abuses of power, such as some of the Occupy Wall Street rallies last year.

Stellar acting also helps to improve the film’s appeal. Some of the best comes from V himself, as his ever-present mask hides his face completely from the audience; as such, Weaving’s voice and body language are the only ways he expresses V’s tortured past and feelings for Evey. Inspector Eric Finsh (Stephen Rae), the detective assigned to hunt down V, is drawn into an incredible moral dilemma, as his search for V’s past leads him to discover deeply buried secrets about the government’s history. These discoveries force him to question his beliefs in order and whether it is worth preserving for a government so willing to exploit its own people.

 

Zach Reid

Skyfall

Skyfall is the fullest modern realization of all things Bond. It bridges the gap between the Bond in our heads and the Bond on the screen. Finally, the fully developed, intensely sympathetic and even more intensely charming Agent 007 that lived in the popular imagination now exists also in the canon.

The writing has surpassed anything in the Bond franchise so far. It allowed actors to use their skills—which, considering the cast (Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney) would be heresy to fail.

Finally, after two films of only momentary glimpses of M, Dench gets an appropriate screen time for her talent and experience. She is the best Bond girl to date.

We see more of everyone, including Bond. The new Q, played by Ben Whishaw, allows the character to move past the lab coat and M finally gets out of the office. Familiar characters are brought back to the franchise, without feeling forced or like writers are catering to the fan base.

Visually, it manages to look like Bond where Quantum of Solace failed. Quantum looked like any other action movie, standing on hills in shimmering heat while the camera pans across scenes of rampant desolation. Skyfall is cinematographically complex. The mise en scene manages to evoke the old mid-century Bond without dating or seeming too overtly camp. It’s raw and as close to realism as Bond will ever be, but without losing the GQ photo-spread quality. Case in point, Bond fixes his cuff after jumping off a moving train.

While Casino Royale was a good look into how Bond became the person he is in Skyfall, the latest film has reached a level of character development that other Bond films force the audience to imagine for themselves. Skyfall is everything we have ever liked about James Bond, finally crystallized into a coherent narrative.

It is a film of which Ian Fleming would have been proud. It brings the franchise both further into the modern world than ever before, while simultaneously bringing it back to its roots: the flippant ease with which Bond seduces his girls, rather than Quantum of Solace’s tortured romanticism, the moments of camp, interspersed with the more modern macabre. And Adele’s bluesy, languid theme, is a sexy update of Nancy Sinatra and Shirley Bassy back in the day. The Aston Martin.

Skyfall is a diamond and as we all know, diamonds are forever.

 

Connor Novy

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