James McTeigue directs Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving and John Hurt in this comic book adaptation of Alan Moore’s dystopian sci-fi drama where a masked terrorist recruits a young woman against the Orwellian regime that oppresses them.
I’m always surprised that Alan Moore resists the Hollywood adaptations of his work so vehemently as, with the exception of From Hell, they are relatively faithful. Overly so, more often than not. This recreates the mid 1980s concerns and depressing aesthetics of its source material. You can see Moore’s trademark patterns in history, densely repeated… that neatly sectored framing unlocking time and space… be used as a direct storyboard in this movie’s best and worst sequences. Sometimes the visual storytelling bravura translates perfectly; Evey’s incarceration or the tragic build up to the 5th of November, for example. Other times you wish Joel Silver gave his producing partners the Wachowskis a hard shake. It is blockbuster cinema. Let it flow and glide. There has to be some conversion to suit the change in media, the passing of time. Open up that action. A singular small studio set for duels or a lone demolition has not the same impact after decades of Die Hard, Speed and Face / Off. The ambitions for the terrorist destruction and Fingermen stand-offs should be grander and less inert. Otherwise we appear to be watching a curiously prestige adaptation of a dated funny book. Portman and Weaving are, as always, inviting to watch.
Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk
We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/