Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
And so the movie begins.
This is such a profoundly intriguing and powerful movie that I cannot imagine anyone not wanting to watch it. Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore (who wanted to have nothing to do with the movie), it’s thought-provoking and makes me think back to the time when I was attending Political Process classes during my undergraduate days.
In the movie, the government uses fear as a tool of control, effectively manipulating the people into quiet subservience. The mass media has become a propagator of lies, a mouthpiece of the government’s fabrications, an institution that commands no respect or trust in the people’s minds. The people have become sheep, empty vessels that follow the way their leaders tell them to go and although they know that truth is being hidden from them, they have no courage and no will to stand up and fight against the blanket of power that enslaves them.
Until one day, a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing anti-hero V blows up a building to the strains of Tchaikovsky’s 1812. The course of history is changed in that one moment and the people play right into the hands of V and are galvanised into action the following year on Guy Fawkes day.
V is neither a hero nor a villain, a mix of brutality and intellectual elegance. On a larger scale, his reasons for his acts are shrewd and accurate. But on a deeper level, you have to question if he is playing the people against the government in cold, cruel retaliation to the monstrosity that was inflicted upon him 20 years ago.
And that is why the movie is so brilliant. It makes you think, question, rather than accept the norms and notions on a silver platter. There really is no right or wrong in the premise of V’s acts, you cannot apply a standard set of moral values to what he has done.
The clever twist towards the end of the movie (for me, at least) is that eventually, the decision to move forward from today’s events into tomorrow’s future (based loosely on V’s words) was not V’s to make. He set the stage but chose to step back, bowing to the fact that he would not be the one to enjoy today’s fruits of labour tomorrow.
Most hot-blooded men I know would be rushing into the cinemas to catch the ever gorgeous and subtle Natalie Portman at work. She was wonderful as Evey, the long-suffering heroine, and is given top billing but I felt that the true star of the show was Hugo Weaving.
Hidden behind a mask and a wig, he could only rely on body language and vocal techniques to bring out the character of V. As thankless as the role of Gollum in LOTR, he managed to bring out the human side of V through the emotions in his voice and the movements in his body. A little slump of the shoulders, a drop of his head — all these and more brought out the nuances of the character.
To sum it up, this is definitely a must-see movie. Run to the theatres if you can.
[Let’s play tag! hugoweaving, natalieportman, vforvendetta]
8 thoughts on “V for Vendetta”
dear..hugo weaving was Elrond…
Brilliant show. Vision of the original author exemplary, and so too the Wachowski Brothers in adapting it for the big screen. Acting was top-notch, though I wouldn’t say Natalie Portman was fantastic; no doubt she’s good however. Anyway, she dropped by my friend’s political science class during spring break to discuss the movie. Amazing 😉 Pity I didn’t get to see her.
hahahaah i was wondering too…what gollum…. hahaha actually i even forgot hugo weaving in LOTR…
if mr chee is as logically articulate, i might actually give a thought about the opposition. Sadly, hes just verbose.
i thought she meant that this role is as thankless as the role of Gollum in LOTR, not that Hugo Weaving also acted as Gollum.
Anyway, Hugo Weaving is fantastic as always. This was one fantastic piece of voice-acting; I’ve always enjoyed his elegant and dignified Elrond, and his snarky turn in The MAtrix as Agent-Something…
dawna – yes, thank you! that was exactly what I meant. My comparison was between the characters of Gollum and V, that both were difficult parts to play rather than that Hugo Weaving were both (he is not, Andy Serkis was Gollum and I would know having watched each episode at least 3 times).
O2 – lucky sods! I believe she would have been rather engaging and intelligent as a speaker. You are right, I was pondering on the mind of the original author after the movie, and thinking how cynical and, well, twisted in a sense it must be.
wah lau jimmy idiot leh u ! wat elrond… humph
and can u believe i overheard a bunch of !_)_@!)#_@!)# commentign that anyone could have acted the V role, cos hide under the mask..they were saying they could do it also..almost turned around and challenged them..almost.
Oh, the original graphic novel was written in the early 80s, when Margaret Thatcher was running for her second of three terms in office.
The author reportedly had nothing to do with this film though, and because of the current events explored in the movie, I suspect most of it boiled down to the directors’ vision, rather than the author’s.