V for Vendetta (2005, GBR/GER) C-132m. SCOPE *** D: James McTeigue. Starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Roger Allam, Ben Miles, Sinéad Cusack, Natasha Wightman. Comic-book adaptation with style about masked crusader V, who sees himself as society's saviour after a totalitarian government is in control of England in the near future. Lost soul Portman becomes his companion, but it's difficult for her to find access to the witty but embittered avenger, who likes to be thought of as a 21st century Guy Fawkes. Story doesn't ring true, but plot is surprisingly intelligent, and film is extremely well-made, from stylish direction to dynamic editing. Also features a fine score by Dario Marianelli. Based on the comic book series by David Lloyd, adapted by the Wachowski Brothers.

© Ron Altman