Natalie Portman graces the cover of the current issue of Entertainment Weekly and the cover story asks the question, 'Is V for Vendetta the Next Matrix?' The buzz is building on the film version of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Lloyd, and the six-page spread in EW (which is published by a sister company of Warner Bros., the studio behind V for Vendetta) certainly won't hurt. The cover story by Joshua Rich doesn't shy away from the controversial aspects of the film about a revolutionary movement in a near future Orwellian England, which, according to director James McTeigue, started out as a literal adaptation of the graphic novel, but was brought up to date with references to a number of contemporary issues such as 'extraordinary rendition,' pedophile priests, and the avian flu.
According to EW there's hardly a current hot button topic that the V for Vendetta movie doesn't address. State-sanctioned torture, the Iraq war, wiretapping, and terrorism are all grist for the mill in this saga of a 'small group of freedom fighters trying to bring down a tyrannical regime' -- and thematic parallels to The Matrix trilogy could hardly be stronger. Cover girl Portman, well aware of the various ways in which the film could be construed, told EW, 'Some people will be like, 'This is an antifascism movie!' And some like, 'This is Iraq!' And some will totally interpret it as the current U.S. government.'
In fact V for Vendetta may be too political and too full of contemporary references for its own good, though it is hard to predict the effect of the barrage of criticism from critics that don't like its politics that the film is bound to evoke. Spielberg's Munich appears to have been hurt by criticism from the right, but the film's downbeat subject matter of the Olympic killings and the Israeli retaliation might be the primary reason for its mediocre box office. Audiences loved The Matrix, which contained a futuristic science fiction version of the struggle against a super-controlling totalitarian society, and the folks behind V for Vendetta hope to tap into the same set of themes, which resonate with the libertarian right, the anarchistic left, and quite a few people in between. According to EW, the producers of V for Vendetta welcome the debate they think the film will stir up, and don't fear a potential backlash. According to producer Joel Silver, V for Vendetta 'is a cautionary tale, and if we make the allegorical connections to what is happening in society right now, that's up to the audience to figure out.'