V for Vendetta Raises the Bar For the Action Genre

Ryan Hendricks

ENG 215

V for Vendetta is an action packed thriller staring Natalie Portman (Evey), Hugo Weaving (V), and directed by James McTeigue. This story is a modern interpretation of the story of Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was member of the Roman Catholic Revolutionaries from England, and he planned to carry out a plot to destroy the English Parliament Building in 1605. This plot is similar to the plot that V plans to carry out against a fictional totalitarian regime that has taken over the British Government (Britannica.com).

In the film, the main character named V battles a totalitarian regime and conspires to destroy the English Parliament Building. A local reporter named Evey gets caught up in the revolution, and suddenly her life crosses paths with V. Evey’s relationship with V represents one half of the plot of the movie. This portion of the plot is a classic love story with a twist. Through weaving together many different genres, the director of V for Vendetta has created a rather interesting film that never fails to disappoint.

As mentioned earlier this film contains two main plots. The two plots combine into a love story that is wound around an action packed thriller, and this makes for a movie that is filled with plenty of unnecessary violence and warm love scenes. Delicately weaving these two genres together is by no means an easy task. Not only does V for Vendetta successfully combine two genres that are polar opposites; it makes important political statements which add to the intellectual depth of the film.

One of the strongest attributes of this movie is its ability to make political statements. This movie gives its viewers many reasons for denying totalitarianism, and all types of oppressive governments. Many viewers many only notice the action sequence and the at times subtle love story. However, for those of us with an imagination there exists more to this movie. This movie seems to make the case against the American occupation of Iraq. In the movie, the fictitious totalitarian regime uses fear to control the population. This is similar to the American war on terrorism in which President Bush used the treat of weapons of mass destruction to convince American’s to support a war that was unnecessary. It should be noted that this movie was released in 2006, which could give credence to the fact that the director was trying to subtly disapprove of the American occupation of Iraq.

The love scenes in the movie often at times seem out of place, and serve to distract the viewer from some of the subtle political statements. The love story develops between the two main characters, V and Evey. This relationship starts off as one that is necessary for their mutual survival. However, after a few scenes the relationship becomes a loving relationship. In the film, V is forced to torture Evey in order to increase her mental and physical strength. This is one of the tensest parts of the movie: Evey Hammond: “You got to me? You did this to me? You cut my hair? You tortured me? You tortured me! Why”?
V: “You said you wanted to live without fear. I wish there’d been an easier way, but there wasn’t”.

After being tortured and refusing to turn V into the authorities Evey gains the strength of character to confront the many things in her life that have been tormenting her. V also learns from Evey that during the most difficult of times he possesses the strength to carry on with the revolution. Even though the love story is at many times out of place, it teaches us an important life lesson that sometimes we need other people to help us tackle our most challenging life problems.

V for Vendetta is a movie that has many positive qualities that are evident as you watch the movie. The special effects in this movie are phenomenal, and keep the viewer thoroughly entertained. The scene where the English Parliament Building is blown up is an excellent example of special effects being used well in this movie. The color emanating from the screen lit up the room with a wide array of vivid colors.

In addition to making political statements this movie makes social statements as well. Two openly gay characters named Valerie and Gordon Dietrich play an important role in the movie. Both characters are persecuted for being gay in the movie by the evil Norsefire government. This movie aims to combat stereotypes of homosexuals by making their characters play pivotal roles in the movie. Gordon and Valerie are depicted as being some of the most heroic characters in the movie. Gordon refuses to give up his Koran and eventually dies for having illegal written materials. The Koran is more than just a religious book; it serves as a symbol of Gordon’s refusal to give up his personal freedom. Valerie shows strength in the movie by writing her autobiography in a jail cell. This autobiography written by Valerie inspires V to carry on with the revolution when he is confronted with significant obstacles, and thus Valerie’s strength was able to give strength to V.

This movie is an extremely good action film; however it does have some areas that need improvement. With a running time of over two hours this movie is extremely long for the action genre. Consequently, the movie seems to drag at the end, and this made the viewer wonder when the movie was going to finish. The script of this movie is another area that needs work. At times one feels as if the script is restricting the creativity and acting ability of the cast, especially Natalie Portman, who many consider to the one of the best actresses of her generation.

V for Vendetta is an excellent example of an action movie that works outside the normal conventions of the genre. The movie makes important political and social statements that add intellectual depth to the movie. The aforementioned factors combine with stellar graphics, and top notch acting to create a cinema masterpiece that will serve as a standard for many years to come. This is an excellent movie and it received a rating of 9 out of 10 stars. Do yourself a favor and see this movie, “remember, remember the fifth of November”.

Works Cited

“Guy Fawkes: A Biography.” Britanica. 7 Aug. 2008 <http://http://www.britannia.com/history/g-fawkes.html&gt;.


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