[Fresh on 4K] ‘V FOR VENDETTA’ will have you remembering more than the 5th of November

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Connor Bynum // Film Critic

V FOR VENDETTA

Rated R, 133 minutes:
Director: James McTeigue
Cast: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Rupert Graves, Stephen Fry and John Hurt

It’s no coincidence that Warner Bros has decided to re-release a film about overthrowing a fascist government on the same day as the United States Presidential election. But that’s neither here nor there. V FOR VENDETTA is a visually stunning yet thematically ugly film. It pulls no punches in its allegories for real-world politics and is eerily relevant even fifteen years after its initial release. 

Movie Grade: B

Based on the comic book with the same name, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in the not so distant future of 2027. It follows an idealistic young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) who finds herself caught up in a terroristic plot to take down London’s fascist dystopian government alongside a masked vigilante known only as V (Hugo Weaving). It is a bleak film that offers solace in its message that while men may fall in the fight for justice, their ideas are bulletproof. 

Screenshot courtesy of Blu-ray.com

Video/Audio Grade: A-

V FOR VENDETTA arrives on 4K UHD courtesy of a native 4K Digital Intermediate and looks simply fantastic. Textures for skin and hair are crisp as one comes to expect on the format, while costumes and set dressing also bear a pleasant uptick in clarity. In particular, the iconic Guy Fawkes mask is a great showcase for the increased detail as its once clean and smooth surface becomes scratched and scraped by the film’s climactic action standoff. 

Despite being based on a comic book and released around the same time as the visually dazzling 300, V FOR VENDETTA is a relatively grounded film for its color palette. There are moments when the increased color depth of HDR10 stands out for many of its night scenes, fireworks, and sporadic bursts of blood, but like much of the nuance found in the film, the improvements are subtle.

A fresh new Dolby Atmos audio track is included on the 4K disc, and this is likely what will give fans the biggest reason to double-dip. Like the 4K release of 300, this new mix is absolutely brilliant. The Atmos track will automatically divert down to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track for viewers without an Atmos setup. Dialogue is clear throughout the pulse-pounding score, and action beats are given the extra punch that will make use of your fancy audio system. The aforementioned climactic fight scene also makes plenty of use out of the side, and rear channels as V swoops and lunges between his foes and punctuates his moves with squelchy stabs. 

Screenshot courtesy of Blu-ray.com

Extras Grade: B+

In a rare move that hopefully soon becomes the norm rather than the exception, Warner Bros has added new special features on the 4K disc not included in previous Blu-ray releases. It is important to clarify that only the three new features are included on the 4K disc, while the previously released bonus content is still only found on the included 1080p Blu-ray.

4K Disc Special Features

  • James McTeigue & Lana Wachowski in Conversation (13:18) 
  • Natalie Portman’s Audition (14:06) 
  • V for Vendetta Unmasked (23:28) 

Blu-ray Special Features

  • In Movie Experience Director’s Notebook 
  • Designing the Near Future (17:15)
  • Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot (10:17)
  • Freedom! Forever!: Making V for Vendetta (15:57)
  • England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics (14:40)
  • Natalie Portman Rap (2:34)
  • Cat Power: Montage (2:02)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:24)
  • Soundtrack Album Info

Final Grade: B+

Like many politically charged films these days, V FOR VENDETTA is certainly divisive and is not for everyone. Existing fans will be pleased to know this one is definitely worth a second purchase, and curious first-timers will find lots to enjoy. 

V FOR VENDETTA is now available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD.

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