V For Vendetta is a movie that if you think you normally wouldn’t see, you should! If you are not a fan of graphic novels, you should see it as well! And if you are not into villains and violence, you just might be surprised with this one, because the villain in this movie, while some call a terrorist, others may call a freedom fighter. The villain’s quote “Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gun powder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gun powder treason should ever be forgot” rings like the Joker’s “Riddle me this, riddle me that…” and sends shivers down our spines every time we hear it repeated like a sacred prayer.
V, the leading character, is a man you might just love and hate…or at least that’s how Natalie Portman’s character, Evey, felt in the movie V For Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue. He is a man in a mask, whose purpose in life is to overthrow the UK Parliament in 2020. Within the first ten minutes of the film, we see the first of few violent scenes, where Evey is invited to an event that would be “like nothing she’s ever seen”—the explosion of the The Old Bailey, a courthouse in Britain—the first thing V does to bring down the government to show that “people shouldn’t be afraid of the government, the government should be afraid of people” and that “people blowing up a building can change the world.” Soon after the explosion, V announces in Trafalgar Square to the city that the government “needs to slow down and there’s something wrong with the country—if you want to know who’s guilty, then look in the mirror.” Are you interested yet? At this point, the viewer is swept into a foreign land and time, yet something feels familiar.
Evey is chosen because she lost a brother and parents to a fire that burned down St. Mary’s, a hospital that V was in as well, but escaped. It is implied that the government planted a virus in the hospital, causing a biological attack that killed 178 people. That is the event that links the two characters together in an odd, unidentifiable relationship that is neither nurturing or loving, but appears to help Evey in ways she could not have imagined.
Evey endures as a puppet-like troop (actually, prisoner) of V because Evey wants to make things right too. At least that’s how her political parents would want her to be. The movie shows an overthrow of Parliament from beginning to end, spanning several years. Ultimately, we see that there were many individuals behind V’s revolution, but they are unmasked and unknown until the very end.
The presumed references to 9/11 might scare some, but the book, which it is based on, was written before 9/11. As a post-9/11 movie, one may be able to see many parallels to our government and world terrorism, and it is truly a thought-provoking movie that, after the second or third view reveals original, creative writing that yields deep symbolism and sub-plots that unravel simultaneously. Much like any world disaster, in the movie, life still goes on. Here we have priests attempting to kiss Evey, a young girl, and a comedy show portraying the chancellor as a funny guy, instead of the demon that V thinks he is. One strange and compelling thing to hear, however, was the U.S. with the word “former” in front of it. Can that actually happen? I began to think.
This is a movie to be discussed in film, art, music and political science classes. The beauty of this futuristic, somewhat grimy, London is accompanied by a montage of political underlyings (There is a poster saying “strength through unity, unity through faith” that indicates V’s needs for people’s help) and foreshadowing and irony that makes you peer close to what the voices are saying (“God is in the rain” is often repeated as much as you see the playback of V running, burning to near death, in the fire scene.) The musical score is the icing on the cake, utilized at the most brilliant times, indicating that the events that have occurred are indeed, celebratory.
The cast is superb, as each character had a purpose and told a story. You begin to think the events and characters are real and the situations could someday, somehow arise. However, our feelings toward most characters remain neutral or so up and down because their behavior is so inconsistent. Evey tells V she loves him after he has had her head shaved and sent to a very Hitler-esque prison. It is very good to see that this relationship didn’t turn into anything more than it was, because not once did you see the face under the mask. It is not a relationship of love, but one of loyalty. He was very manipulative towards her, but she always came back for more, knowing that this was bigger than just the two of them and for the greater good.
This is a must-see movie for young adults and adults, not for its special effects (although they were good and not overbearing), but more for the message it is telling about the governments that we exist in and our roles in them. It makes you wonder what our country (and others) will be like in the future and who our V and Evey would be. Overall, I give this piece four out of five stars.