V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is a film based off of a comic book by Alan Moore that is a rich display of political imagery on top of stunning effects.  V for Vendetta finds England under the ruler of a totalitarian government that supposedly represents our government.  James McTeigue is a first-time director for this film, but has worked his magic on the Matrix films, as well as Star Wars episode 2 and we can see the results in the explosions and fights scenes for V for Vendetta.  Although you never see his face Hugo Weaving gives a great performance as well as Natalie Portman making quite a showing for her as well.  V for Vendetta leaves audiences with a strong message and a story that will have them coming back to the movie time and again.

Although many of the action scenes are over the top and filled with explosions and violence, many of the loves scenes in the movie seem to be very artificial like they were placed in there just to keep us moving from dramatic scene to action scene.  These love scenes between Eve and V are artificial are artificial at best due to the both of the characters distraught backgrounds and necessity for each other.  I see V’s need for a replacement incase he meets his own end as well a need for interaction due to at least 20 years of being alone.  Eve on the other hand has a need for any parental roles such in case a father figure or someone who would give strength to her so she could stand up for herself.

The film is a very controversial one dealing with hot button issues that we face today.  The issue of giving up rights for the safety of a country is what many feel has happened today in America with the Patriot Act.  Another is the take over of the country by the conservative party in England which happened in the United States with the Republican Party and presidents such as Ronald Regan and George W Bush.  A problem that seems to face V for Vendetta is that the movie draws it source material from a comic written by Alan Moore at least 20 years ago.  I see the director and the writers trying to make the story relevant to today by trying to use England as America without going as far as saying “this is the United States”.  It seems when you try to fit something established like the comic and put it into a movie setting the story itself becomes molded to fit some aspects of Hollywood such as a love story and political idealism.  This seems to be the reason why Alan Moore has taken his name off most of the films that have been based off of his comics. 

The St Mary’s incident represents that kind of controversy, it was an act perpetrated by the government to put a political party into office.  The main idea was to create a virus that would kill many human lives and allow the government to come and save the day so they could be elected into office in November.  Since the blame of the attack is on terrorism its showing that it may reference atrocities that have happened in the Untied States such as 9/11.  Although no clear link is made in the film to it many of the events afterward creating a culture of fear many believe has happened in the United States of America under the Bush administration.  They also make show how the pharmaceutical company is hand and hand in the government and how much of a killing they made of selling the antis dote to the virus.  This is another clear example of showing how the government is hand in hand with big business.

One thing is for certain is that V for Vendetta separates itself from most comic book movies by delivering its hart hitting story as well as revolutionary ideals played out by deep characters.  Hugo Weaving who played Agent Smith in the Matrix films plays V a man who wares a Guy Fawkes mask and who uses violence to stir the masses and return freedoms to the people at any cost.  Although he is hidden by a mask we feel the emotions of a tortured soul that cries out for freedom.  Many scenes in the movie show his expertise in martial arts as well as his veracious verbose vocabulary.  V seems to represent anarchy in a political system that has oppressed its people.  He goes as far as saying “people should not be afraid of their government, their government should be afraid of the people”.  He has seen first hand the freedoms that have been destroyed by the government as well as the atrocities they have committed and believes that it must be held accountable.  We are never truly sure who V is at the end of the film which was a good choice that is unlike other movies of the genre. 

The character of Eve is played by Natalie Portman a young girl living in an oppressive world that seems to have been beaten in the opening scenes of the movie.  Eve has a childhood filled with tragedy due to the death of her brother in the St Mary’s epidemic as well as the death of her radical parents by the government for standing up.  She is very scared since this happened and hopes for the day when she can be as strong as her parents and stand up. Soon she is introduced to V she becomes enthralled in his radical ideals and works with him even though most of his plans become too violent for her to go through. One scene in the movie shows Eve being put through the torture that V faced earlier in life; although she hated V for it she seems freed by the rain in the end and is no longer afraid of the future.  The character of Eve never needs to know the identity of V because he stands for so much more than a man in a mask but ideals that she has coveted for many years.

Without a villain V for Vendetta would not succeed as well as it did and with High Chancellor Adam Sutler played by John Hurt we are given that villain. He is the antithesis to V and older man who hides from the public underground although his face is broadcast everywhere.  He uses fear mongering that keeps any kind of opposition to his regime underground and weak.   He institutes his values and judgments on everyone leading to arrests known as black bagging where people are dragged away never to return again.  The fear mongering of Adam Sutler’s administration is a clear stab at the Bush administration and the measures they will use to keep us safe from terrorism at any cost. Sutler believes that if the terrorist known as V is destroyed he can keep any type of change from occurring in the country.  What Sutler doesn’t realize is that what V believes in can never be destroyed “Ideas are bullet proof and can not be destroyed”.  Sutler and his administration fall to V and their infighting among themselves mainly due to Mr Creedy’s greed.

V for Vendetta succeeds as a movie that serves as model for a future that may or may not be true.  The movie ends at a point where we are guessing what happens next or if the natural order will be restored.  At points V for Vendetta can be a little drawn out but distances itself from other comic book movies by having a solid story that serves as a political piece against totalitarianism.  As we leave the film we can hear quotes by Malcolm X preaching about being able to fight back against those who attack against us.  Another quote by Gloria Steinem tells of a world order that is not based on race or sex.  These two quotes echo what happens in the film and help the viewer come out of the film with a better understanding of what the director was trying to get across.

-Matt Fischofer


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