International Writers Magazine: DVD
If you cant
be bothered to read the graphic novel (and at a whopping 286 pages long
you have no excuse not to) then you must watch this film. Updated for
our current social climate, though maybe loosing some of the central ideas,
it provides a daunting vision of things to come. I suggest you do both.
Dir James McTeigue
Starring Natalie Portman
When V for Vendetta
was originally written,over two and a half decades ago, the political
power was very different to the ones in power now, but being politics
thoses differences, eventually become the same. The graphic novel
is as current and vital now, as it was 26 years ago, and to ensure
we never do forget, the movie adaptation directed by James McTeigue
and written by the infamous Wachowski Bros. has impacted on our
screens with a post 9/11 terrorist anti-hero with a nasty streak
V for Vendetta is one of the most powerful films with such a scaving commentary
of our past, and current state of affairs, to be released and appreciated
by a mass audience. Cleverly disguised as just another superhero action
romp, when you sit and watch the film you reap so much more than the skin
deep glossy ideals of most superhero movies to date.
For those who dont know (hang your heads in shame) V for Vendetta
is the story of a post apocalyptic Earth, disfigured by the fangs of nuclear
war and thrown into the darkness of the fallout. England is weak and ignorant
of where to place its faith, and is, until we see the emergence of Norsefire,
a proto fascist state with the power to put England back on track. All
it will cost is the obedience and silent subjugation of the masses. The
undesirables are taken away and the streets put under the control of this
The tiny interweaving
stories, full of challenging ideas and beliefs pushes the main story to
become secondary to the development of the central protagonists relationship
and learning about the past of V. With various insights into his ideals
and the moral high ground on which he stands, but still seeing the horrifically
flawed human beneath the mask, V becomes one of the most likable anti-heroes,
and I can easily understand why the character is easy to relate to.
a heroin. A young orphan girl, already stung by the establishment
for the loss of her parents is discovered breaking curfew. Found
by the Fingermen, all powerful police, she is attacked
with sinister intentions. Enter a hero. A mysterious man, glad in
black and wearing a Fawksian mask defends the weak and
oppressed. He saves the girl and begins to lay waste to the symbols
of oppression throughout London, with his eye sockets fixed upon
But thats not the good bit.
Someone who knows there is a problem, but actively does something to change
it. Another of the interweaving stories is of the police chief sent to
find V, and the path of self realisation and understanding he travels
down thickens the plot to near bursting.
Though the film moves without much physical incident for almost an hour
of the film, every minute is filled with character and plot development
that makes the final conclusion satisfying and just.
A post 9/11 terrorist as the central protagonist hero seems preposterous,
but even more absurd is the fact that we learn to care for the character.
Unlike 1988 there are no longer discussions of concentration camps
for AIDS victims, or the eradication of homosexuality
of the to do list of government. However, increasingly we are becoming
a police state and ever closer to the extrapolated portrayal in both film
© Robert Hillum November 2007
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