Sunday, April 02, 2006

V for Vendetta

"V for Vendetta" is great fun. It is an adventure film with some serious messages included. It is usually possible to wade through the deepest ideas in an adventure film (for example, X men, Catwoman) without getting your ankles wet. This is a bit different.

John Hurt and Stephen Fry are always good value for money and Hugo Weaving in the title role was a revelation with his ability to create a role brilliantly while hiding behind a mask for the whole of the movie.

Terrorism, homophobia, racism and islamophobia are all dealt with in the film in different ways. There are chilling insights into the secret camps where alleged terrorists are tortured for the good of the state. And the media are not exonerated either.

Most crucially the plot shows the way the religious right can use terrorism as an excuse for repression. In the course of the narrative responsibility for a terrorist outrage is shifted to whoever is the current enemy of the state. It comes as no surprise to find out that the author of this "9/11" turns out to be the dictatorship itself.

John Hurt is very good as a dictator and he also plays a caricature of himself on a TV show hosted by Steven Fry's character, Deitrich. Deitrich falls foul of the secret police for his pains. He expected to get away with a grovelling public apology. Instead he is killed when a copy of the Koran, which he kept because of its poetry, is found in his house.

If you have ever had a sneaking suspicion that Guy Fawkes was the only man to enter Parliament with honest intentions, the sight of millions marching in Guy Fawkes masks to overthrow a corrupt government based on lies is inspiring.

And that is where the film falls short. What happens next? It is here that the emasculation of the original story is most keenly felt. The "politics" were not exciting and spectacular enough so they remained on the cutting room floor. The original story of V was not from a socialist but an anarchist perspective but at least didn't leave the basic questions unasked; the original message of the story has been toned down and given the Hollywood treatment.

I still think the film does fulfil in an attenuated form, the concept of the original writer, Alan Moore "../the central question is, is this guy right? Or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn't want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think, and consider some of these admittedly extreme little elements, which nevertheless do recur fairly regularly throughout human history."/

You have to like action/adventure films to appreciate it but if you do, this film is for you.

"People should not fear their governments. Governments should fear their people!"



Blogger ickle_fairwee said...

I think in todays world the government doesn't count for anything. Yes they set the rules, but when it comes to election day. Not many people vote?

8:16 PM  

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