V for Vendetta was really cool. I’m an action movie lover
and this was pretty sweet for me because it’s not just about mindless killing.
Well it’s still about killing albeit with a purpose.
In the beginning it is emphasized that everything that
happens throughout the film will be based on an idea, that being Guy Fawkes’
idea of revolution. The alternate universe gives us unfamiliarity and therefore
a sense of fear. Imagining a world in which the United States has been reduced
from most powerful nation, to a hodgepodge collection of infighting tribes, who
wouldn’t be scared?
It’s not a new concept though, totalitarianism and
vengeance. Those are all old stuff. What makes the movie great however is the
portrayal of fear, and the things that it can make you do, or not do. People
always talk about martial law and world war 2 and how horrible they were and
all that jazz. Well, this shows us just how crappy it could be. Media monopoly,
conspiracy, abuse of authority, extreme prejudice, police brutality, it’s a
very real threat that nobody wants to see come into fruition.
The problem with this film however, is that they make it too
simple. Unlike Primer (thank God for that), VFV keeps things easy to understand
by portraying the enemy as inherently evil. Sure V resorts to violence in his
methods, but ultimately there is not much conflict in his decisions as the ones
he brings punishment to are also inherently evil, so therefore no difficult moral
restrictions on his part.
Back in high school my English teacher was quite the
fanboy/comic book geek, so he would often give us comics as reading material.
He made us read Watchmen and V for Vendetta among others and it really felt
like déjà vu when I saw the Evey prison scene because even the angles of the
shots were nearly identical to the panels in the comic. Of course, it was much
more striking in the book because Evey was portrayed as literally a walking
skeleton there (think Auschwitz or Gulag) while naturally the Natalie Portman version, though bald, is still
elegantly beautiful. I think this was necessary though because most people
would lose sight of the point and instead focus on her transformation to
ugliness if they had stayed true to the original.
When the scene shifted to the Valerie Page story, I felt
moved. I believe it greatly changed my views on lesbianism and gay
relationships. I used to consider it as just a passing phase much like the
authorities in the story did, and if it wasn’t i just assumed it came about
from some sort of terrible traumatic experience or perhaps festering
insecurity. As a matter of fact, I even have this friend who is more or less an
open lesbian and I kept on telling myself that this was just because she came
from an all girls school and that college will eventually allow her to outgrow
her curiosity (her ex girlfriend did, and they are still friends). Now, I fully
understand her perspective and I am very regretful for the way I had been
All in all, VFV is great because it caters to popular demand
(flashy action scenes, dramatic emotional scenes), while at the same time
sending a message across (dangers of politics, importance of freedom). Truly
this is a must watch for anybody who isn’t Hitler.