Script: V for Vendetta by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski
Logline: A shadowy freedom fighter known only as “V” uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society. Upon rescuing a girl from the secret police, he also finds his best chance at having an ally.
Remember, remember the second of October.
A day late and a dollar short, but as Roy and I are still doing this for free, I guess that’s not as important as it should be.
Okay, so I forgot the Wachowski brothers had a hand in this script too. That’s cool, as it felt more to me like the first Matrix than it did the second one.
How will my scoring work out?
Like my middlest says, “We shall see.”
(SIDENOTE – Since I can’t copy and paste, I’ll use the PDF page numbers instead of the actual page numbers for ease of reading.)
1.) Can we visualize the description?
Description was really good.
The opening starts out alright, describing Guy Fawkes is okay, but the main point is trying to establish Evey’s voice and character as reserved and measured.
Once that’s out of the way, the Wachowskis again use great wordplay, as in the description of Guy Fawkes and his wife looking at each other for the last time.
In the crowd there is a woman watching the only man she ever loved being marched up the stairs…
…They will never look into one another’s eyes again and they hold this final moment until–
What I liked about this part is I didn’t remember it in the movie. In fact I’m not even sure it’s in there, but in my mind’s eye I’m seeing the pacing of this moment, the tragedy of it, and the love.
If ATLAS is reading this review, this is a perfect example of using present progressive in what I believe Mr. August was hinting at on his site. I wasn’t bothered in the least by it, so much so that I didn’t even realize it was there until I was retyping it just now.
Although a lot of the description is good, I’ll limit the other examples to single lines that stood out.
Even his mask cannot hide his disappointment.
Remember V’s mask is stuck in an eternal smile, so to FEEL the disappointment is truly powerful, and gives any actor a challenge in tone of dialogue and body language.
A rifle butt knocks the question from his mouth.
AWESOME. Simply awesome. This little doozy of a sentence just completed two thoughts with one action. Deitrich is silenced but also assaulted by a soldier.
V’s cloak billows, a manta ray gliding from death to death.
Not only is V a killing machine, we understand that he is graceful in his work.
All of this was good, and made an extremely long script (and movie I’ve seen multiple times) into an entertaining read.
10 out of 10 points.
2.) Does the author use an acceptable format?
Simply put? One hundred and sixty eight pages.
That’s a lot to digest, even if you did have a decent run with the Matrix trilogy.
(To be fair, it did read as quickly as 168 pages can, but that number’s going to be intimidating for anyone at first glance.)
8 out of 10 points.
3.) Is the dialogue free of exposition and rich in subtext? Does each character have a unique voice?
Everyone’s voices were unique, and most of the dialogue was good, even hinting at subtext.
Here are two of my favorite examples as I read.
Win. Like it was a game.
Here Evey’s explaining to V about her parents being activists. She didn’t like her parent’s choices. This final line summed up all her feelings brilliantly, especially considering she’s not quick to share this information with people.
Ah well, if Job could bear his challenges, I suppose I must shoulder mine.
Lilliman is comparing his prostitute being a bit too old to Job, who God basically takes a dump on in every sense of the word. This added depth to the character, that he’s either too lost in himself to realize his hypocrisy, or he just doesn’t care.
I remember thinking this while watching the movie, but although V’s dialogue draws him well, it’s a bit over the top. Especially the whole exercise in alliteration started on page 11. Maybe hearing a bunch of v words is easier than reading them, but it was a lot to digest.
Along the lines of V’s dialogue, I also had a problem with the exchange between V and Evey once he’s done torturing her and she’s had a metamorphosis.
Page 129 after V asks what she’s feeling:
Oh God…I felt…like an angel.
What this felt like is a big let down after what she just went through. V’s pumping it up to be a HUGE self realization, but the moment falls flat with a lame bit of dialogue.
This bit was painful to get through, especially considering there was no pay off for all the overly dramatic text.
However, I’ll end with my favorite use of a voice over on page 122:
…even though I do not know you and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you.
With all my heart. I love you.
Now I’m a sentimental individual, but Valerie’s story, especially this very last bit captures what’s special about the human spirit, we love. Most importantly the ideal she expresses at the end is deep down who most of us want to be, a good person.
(I bought the Blu-ray for this last line alone.)
7 out of 10 points.
4.) Does the writer understand the challenges and rewards posed by the medium chosen in which to tell his/her story? Shorthand version of this is: Is it a movie and not a play?
It was a movie.
To pull off the feel of this film, with the action and the explosions, we’d need to see it on the big screen.
Anything less would take away from the motional impact.
10 out of 10 points.
5.) Is there anything unique in what the writer presents? Are the writer’s ideas, based on this sample, likely to continue to be original?
As it’s based on a graphic novel I’d argue it’s not entirely original.
Some points have to be given though for the style of the adaptation.
Since I’ve never read the graphic novel however, I’ll go middle of the road, but feel free to disagree in the comments if you have a decent argument for how the authors of the script made the story better.
5 out of 10 points.
6.) Does the script have a hook?
We start with Guy Fawkes and Evey’s voice over.
To me it wasn’t terribly captivating since Guy Fawkes dies, AND I still don’t really know why he wanted to blow up Parliment in the first place. Even after watching the movie and reading the script, I still look at him as a type of terrorist, if not just a crazy man.
This might be my own ignorance, but when you compare it to something like the Boston Tea party, I know the reasons behind that, so I can identify with it more.
My main problem is other than being able to use, “Remember, remember the 5th of November,” and give V a cool mask, is there a reason for including Guy Fawkes at all?
10 out of 15 points.
7.) Is that hook effective?
Thankfully, once we meet Evey, we’re getting exposition about the world and how crappy it is, while also playing back and forth between she and V getting ready.
They’re both kindred spirits, just one chooses to keep the struggle within, while V is free to unleash it on the world.
Once out in the world, V saves Evey from three bad cops.
Then he takes her up and shows her a fantastic fireworks show that makes Disney World jealous.
All of it good, and all of it kept moving.
15 out of 15 points.
8.) Is there enough to maintain the hook? Reveals, conflict, etc.?
All other plot points were good.
I loved V’s master plan for liberating London, and also how Evey and the people of London played into it.
No real plot problems here, and I won’t spend a lot of time on it except for the following.
4 Ideas I Didn’t Like
1.) Evey says she loves V. I think the Wachowskis have a real problem with developing love in their stories. It felt forced, and much like Trinity loving Neo, there was no reason for Evey to love V other than the authors said so.
In fact she had plenty of reasons NOT to love him, especially since he holds her captive in the Shadow Gallery twice more or less against her will.
2.) Another idea along those lines was Deitrich is straight in the script. In fact Evey and he are lovers when she runs to his place and hides there.
It’s much more powerful the way the film handles things, as instead of being just a collector of banned art and literature, he’s also a homosexual. His necessity to “play the part” of a straight man and invite young women to his house demonstrates how cruel this society is.
3.) I had trouble with the whole Bexhill thing. What were they doing there? Did it have something to do with ADS? The movie tried to explain more of this, but it didn’t really clear anything up. This has always felt like a HUGE HOLE to me in the story, almost like they were forcing something in that didn’t belong, or trying to explain briefly an idea that required more pages.
4.) Lastly I didn’t like the unnecessary scenes between Creedy and Helen. These scenes could EASILY be eliminated in order to cut down page length. We don’t need anymore evidence to support Creedy is a bad guy, especially with how all the other characters are afraid of him and how they talk about the things that he does.
5 out of 10 points.
9.) Does the story play to a target audience, and have the elements demanded by that audience?
Cost $54,000,000 to make and then grossed over $132 million. Them’s pretty good odds.
The above numbers also argue super hero fans enjoyed it.
10 out of 10 points.
Although not as good as the Matrix, this script was well done.
The simple fact that I digested it in just over two hours at 168 pages should argue towards the above fact.
There were those few plot holes that could have been cleared up, or at least dropped for something easier to understand, but again, it’s a good story.
Total 80 out of 100 points.
Hi Hank! Super interesting review! Thank you! I am desperately looking for the script pdf online and can’t find it anywhere… Is there a chance you still have a copy somewhere?
Thank you for your time,