James McTeigue

5.6 V for Vendetta (2005)
6.1 Breaking In (2018)

The Wachowski Brothers wrote the dystopian sci-fi movie V for Vendetta (2005), directed by James McTeigue, an adaptation of Alan Moore's and David Lloyd's graphic novel "V for Vendetta" (1982). The film is mostly a ridiculous pile of cliches, poorly acted, poorly directed, and based on a wildly implausible and incoherent script, with of course a melodramatic ending. The protagonist is a Zorro-esque masked swordsman whose ideal is simply revenge.

England has somehow returned to the status of world power, thanks to a dictator known as the "chancellor". The USA has fallen into civil war and continental Europe is facing a pandemic that started in Britain. One day the beautiful Evey, who works for the national television channel, is late for a dinner appointment. There's a curfew but she still leaves the house. She is stopped by the secret police and almost arrested except that a masked man, dressed in black like Zorro but without the horse, shows up and kills the cops. Minutes later a historical monument blows up and he takes credit for it by hijacking the network of public TV screens and promises to blow up parliament in exactly one year (no explanation is given for why he has to wait for one year). When the masked man is leaving the building of the TV, the cops are about to arrest him (he kills several) when Evey intervenes. She allows him to kill the last remaining cops but Evey is knocked unconscious. The masked man, now labeled a terrorist by the official media, takes her to his hideout. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a magnificent apartment (presumably underground because it has no windows), furnished with "antiques" that are now forbidden, like a jukebox and a projector (the masked man's favorite movie is "The Count of Montecristo"). The masked man tells her that she will be his prisoner for one year. An inspector is assigned to the case of the terrorist but the terrorist has left no traces behind. The terrorist strikes again: he kills Lewis Prothero, who runs the main propaganda program on TV, leaving a rose and a V as his signature. He then sends Evey dressed like a schoolgirl to the bishop, and we understand that the bishop molests children all the time and is please to see an older one. While he is trying to rape her, V jumps in and kills him. Evey is now wanted by the police too, as an accomplice of V. The inspector also finds out that her parents were arrested as dissidents. She looks very suspicious. She hides at the house of her boss Gordon, the host of a popular talk show. Gordon takes the risk of hiding her because he has already broken the law: a secret room contains the kind of "antiques" that are now forbidden, notably a copy of the Quran for which he could be executed. They watch together a show that Gordon has improvised: a sharp satire of the chancellor in which the masked man is revealed to be a clone of the chancellor himself. Gordon is convinced that, at worst, he will be forced to apologize. Meanwhile the chancellor has figured out that the killings have something to do with a top-secret military facility whose records have been erased from all computers. He finds a printed copy of the records. He realizes that the top officials of that facility were Prothero, the bishop and others who have all been killed by V. Only one is still alive: a doctor, who is now the coroner. He arrives too late to stop V. V kills the coroner, and she confesses that she experimented biological weapons on dozens of people, and she apologizes. She remembers that he was locked in cell V (five) and escaped and set fire to the facility and almost died in the fire (which explains why he hides his face, presumably disfigured). Contrary to his prediction, Gordon is arrested by the secret police. Evey hides under the bed and then escapes but she is captured in the street. She is locked in a cell and tortured for several days. Her only consolation is the diary of a previous prisoner, that she finds hidden in a rathole. Evey refuses to help the police find V and is willing to be killed. Then V reveals to her that he staged the whole imprisonment and torture to test her will of power. In one of the most ridiculous scenes of the film, Evey accepts that the experience has made her stronger. Meanwhile, the inspector discovers the real identity of V: the only surviving witness of the top-secret program. The inspector finds this man (of course) and this man tells him that the top-secret laboratory created a virus that killed 100,000 people, a plan devised by the current head of the secret police to create a state of emergency and install the chancellor as the dictator. V manages to distributed thousands of masks like his to the population (it is not explained where he finds the money to make them and where he makes them). The chancellor orders that anyone wearing such a mask should be arrested, but this only creates more chaos. V secretely meets with the head of the secret police and offers a deal: he will surrender in return for the life of the chancellor. As the one-year anniversary approaches, riots erupt. The chancellor makes the mistake of threatening the head of the secret police. V takes Evey to a subway station and explains to Evey what his plan is: he has cleared a line of the subway and restored a train so that it can run from his station to the station of the parliament (it is not explained how and how this could have been done in secret). The train is loaded with explosives (it is not explained how he could get his hands on so much explosive) and he wants her to pull the lever on the one-year anniversary that will start the train and turn it into a missile. The head of secret services delivers the chancellor to V, who kills him. The head of secret services then orders his men to kill V but V survives all the bullets of their machine guns (it is not explained how) and strangles the head of the secret police. V even manages to crawl back to Evey and die basically in her arms. She loads his body on the train and puts roses on it. She is ready to pull the lever when the inspector shows up: following a hunch, he inspected a tunnel and of course stumbled precisely on the right station. Initially he points the gun at Evey but then she tells him that she is ready to die for the ideal and he lets her pull the lever that starts the train that blows up the parliament. Meanwhile thousands of people wearing the mask have assembled in front of the building and the soldiers protecting it don't shoot because they are no longer receiving orders from the chancellor. The inspector asks Evey who V was and she doesn't know. She tells him that he was just one of them and all of them.

Ninja Assassin (2009) is a martial-arts film.

The Raven (2012), written by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare, is a gothic thriller in which the writer Edgar Allan Poe chases a serial killer who kills according to Poe's stories.

Survivor (2015), written by Philip Shelby, is a spy thriller.

Breaking In (2018)

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