V for Vendetta (2006)
In 1999, brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski released a revolutionary film, combining the style and inventiveness of the best entries in the science fiction genre with the subject matter and tone of the classical political thrillers of the 1970s. Titled The Matrix, the film put the Wachowski brothers on the map as a force to be reckoned with. However, their two sequels to that film were nothing but sorry, commercial rehashes - which threatened to jeopardize the filmmakers' integrity.
V for Vendetta represents a return to form for the Wachowskis, handing over the direction to long time collaborator James McTeigue. The film is an effective hybrid of classic superhero comics and a political thematization in the vein of this year's remarkable portrait of the former DDR, entitled Das Leben der Anderen. The parallels between the two films are numerous. And for V for Vendetta, a film that in concept is an action-thriller, the remarkable achievement is that it doesn't lag behind when it comes to relevance. It is not about realism, but about staging an exaggerated futuristic scenario to make a contemporary comment. It's not an unfamiliar technique (especially not when John Hurt is cast), but it is more relevant than we'd like to think.
Natalie Portman (sporting an uneven British accent) and Hugo Weaving dance their way through this constantly luscious film, accompanied by delicious dialogue, elegant rhythm changes and that beautiful music by Tchaikovsky. You won't find many instances of movies that can please art house intellectuals and hillbilly requirement at the same time, but this might just be one of those.