Despite careful wooing and winning-over of Jeffrey Wells and David Poland (both of whom have been breathless with adoration) by "V for Vendetta"‘s publicists, word trickling in from the rest of the web, post-Berlin premiere, is mixed at best.
In Variety, Leslie Felperin finds the film disappointing in most areas:
Thesping lineup offers an embarrassment of riches, which, unfortunately, the weak helming by [James] McTeigue rather squanders. Bambi-eyed [Natalie] Portman cries affectingly, and looks fetching with a shaved head, but her character is essentially passive and not especially interesting…
A tough review, but hardly a "slam," which is what Wells calls it when he leaps to the film’s defense:
She basically calls it turgid and tedious ("flat as a storyboard") because she’s obviously decided it doesn’t do what good movies are supposed to do, which is grab you by the lapels and turn you around and send you out of the theatre saying, "Man, I just saw something!"
Trust me — "V for Vendetta" does this, so I’m having trouble figuring Felperin out. I don’t want to suppose anything but critics have bad days like anyone else so maybe she ate some bad sauerkraut.
Wells probably shouldn’t looks to Lee Marshall at Screen Daily then:
"V For Vendetta" lurches into inanity around halfway, and though it features a few gritty performances â€“ notably from Stephen Rea as an ultimately decent police chief â€“ this is not a fifth of November that we will remember, remember for long.
It’s hardly surprising that Moore has removed his name from the credits. His creepy freedom fighter, V, wafts through the murky cobbled streets of London slicing the throats of the secret police while spouting pseudo philosophical waffle about the power of ideas in Shakespearean doggerel.
Richard Bernstein at the New York Times doesn’t tackle McTeigue’s film in his Berlin dispatch, but does delicately suggest that Michael Winterbottom‘s much-praised "The Road to Guantanamo" has some serious, troubling blind spots. He also mentions this smidgen about Chen Kaige‘s expensive pan-Asian fantasy "Wu ji (The Promise)":
"The Chinese suffer from the American disease now, trying to copy the recipe for successful blockbusters ad nauseum," Die Welt wrote, consigning "Wuji" to the "fantasy swordplay racket" genre.
We’ve seen about half of "The Promise" (ankled after the first hour) and would like to say here that it is terrible, terrible, terrible â€” florid, silly, bloated. Our face hurt. From the wincing.
+ V for Vendetta (Variety)
+ Vendetta Dissent (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ V For Vendetta (Screen Daily)
+ Beauty, the beasts â€” and me (London Times)
+ Political Films Dominate Berlin International Film Festival (NY Times)