V for Vendetta - produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowskis; based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore (who has since disowned the film), and starring a bald Natalie Portman – won't officially premiere until the Berlin Film Festival in February, but ever since its first public screenings in Austin a couple of weeks ago, the film's been trapped in a bit of a tug of war between the left and right corners of the web. The fan boy circles are, predictably, all about it, and even the Hollywood Reporter has come out with a positive review. In contrast, Jason Apuzzo's leading one of the strongest marches against the picture on Libertas. From what I can tell, neither Apuzzo, nor his commenters, have actually seen the film, but that's not stopping them from proclaiming it a national tragedy. Partially in response to the Reporter review, Apuzzo writes: "Those of you who’ve been claiming that this film is just an innocent little adaptation of an 80’s graphic novel series are, um, in for a surprise."

His commenters take this opening and run with it. Calling V "a big slap in the face to “Jesusland”",  Jim Rockford claims that "What makes this film junk as a film and as storytelling is that it’s explicit pro-Terrorist and anti-American, anti-Bush politics fly in the face of the reality: terrorists really DO want to kill us all; they’ve tried very hard." It will fail commercially, he continues, because "being explicitly opposed to what most of your paying customers hold dear is a good way to lose their business." Michael Hutchinson continues the ideological doomcasting: "Now, the Wachowski Brothers were REALLY lucky that they were able to sell The Matrix with its anti-social message because of its flash and style, but its messages were rather hidden and a huge part of the audience just went for the SFX. Here you have a movie that’s all about its message, even in the trailers. Do you really think this can find an audience?"

Of course, the film's success (or lack thereof) may very well rest on one entirely non-political factor: as Alexander "Bejamins" Hamilton puts it on Left Behinds: "...the problem isn't the directors, it's that Evey Hammond is played by fucking Natalie Portman. Because Natalie Portman can't fucking act."

Thoughts?