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V for Vendetta

"Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."


I really liked V for Vendetta, so much so that I was inspired to hunt down images and create the icon that's attached to this post. I hope to see it again before it leaves theaters. I doubt that will happen, though, as our schedule is insanely busy right up through June. I'm especially tempted because I learned that there's an IMAX version of it, and given some of the dramatic visual effects in it, it would likely be worth seeing in that format.

The movie lingers in my mind ... it has stayed with me in the past few days since seeing it. How each viewer perceives V has much to do with one's individual perspective. You can see him as a vigilante, a hero, a terrorist, an anarchist, and/or a revolutionary at different points during the film. Are you looking at him through Evey's eyes? Through the eyes of the populace? Through the eyes of the inspector? It left certain things open-ended, which I appreciated. You can see V as a messenger, a harbinger of renewal, or as a manipulator. If the latter, then it's a matter of which manipulation you prefer: his or Sutler's.

I was glad to see something from the Wachowski brothers that didn't prominently feature bullet time. I love the original Matrix, but, like quandry, I felt that the special effects overwhelmed the story a bit at times in the sequels.

The film prompted me to do a bit of reading about Guy Fawkes, the most famous member of a group of radical Catholics who tried to assassinate the king (James I), and blow up the Houses of Parliament. They had stockpiled gunpowder in a rented cellar underneath the building, hence the labeling of the incident as the "Gunpowder Plot." I'm not British, so I lack the context that someone who grew up in that culture would have regarding this annual celebration, which, curiously, has become something like a harvest festivity. I'm glad that V for Vendetta inspired me to research it, because there are more references to the event in pop culture than you might think, particularly by British artists. There's an old song by The Alarm, "The Day the Ravens Left the Tower," that I now understand better, particularly the line "Penny for the guy, sir," which is apparently the traditional way that children request money on Guy Fawkes Night. The "guy" is a dummy or effigy for the bonfire, though it isn't used as much anymore. I didn't realize that Fawkes the phoenix in Harry Potter was also a reference until now.

Despite the mask (which I'm sure will be all the rage at Halloween), V and Guy aren't exactly a 1 to 1 comparison. Yes, they both seek to eradicate a government that they see as oppressive, and yes, they both stockpile explosives and try to blow up Parliament. However, the resemblance ends there, as far as I can tell. V is surgical and precise, not indiscriminate, and he acts alone, for the most part. Also, the old Guy probably didn't have such a fabulously gaudy apron. :)

I feel like I should've been bothered by the Stockholm Syndrome aspect of V. and Evey's relationship, but I just wasn't. Neither one of them had anything left to lose, and in that time, in that place, in that situation, I feel like I don't have the right to judge. After what each had been through, in the environment they were in ... in their insane world, it would feel arrogant and wrong to point a finger at their particular dysfunctions given what each has gone through to survive.

Yeah, I think I need to see it again, if only to process it a little more.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
doc_krashenbern
Mar. 30th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
if you make more, please share. i'm yoinking this one.
tagplazen
Mar. 30th, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
They did so many right things that we were giddy walking out of the theater.
pointedview
Mar. 30th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
As a side note, I liked the visuals for this better than Hero. In that film, I felt like the effects overshadowed the story at times. Here, they were striking, but not overpowering.

I also liked the pacing of the violence in this one. They were a little more parsimonious with it, which heightened the deliberate effect when it was used.
jasondemotte
Mar. 30th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
I'm glad you shared your thoughts on the movie, I had a similar reaction, I had to chew on it for a long time after seeing it, and I still am not sure how I view V, especially after reading the graphic novel. I want to see the film again, and evne then I'm not sure I'll find the answers I'm looking for.

And the fabulously gaudy apron was wonderful. :)
pointedview
Mar. 30th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
I can't decide whether I want to read the graphic novel or not after reading your analysis of it. I'm not sure that I want to add the information from it to my perception, because from your description, I think I'll like the movie's interpretation better.

As far as The Apron goes, you might like this post. :)
jasondemotte
Mar. 30th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
Understandable. I think there's some really interesting things in the book that have removed from the movie, and the comic's interpretation does have it's points (not that I necessarily agree with it). However, I don't think the comic is for everyone, and I'm not sure it's as relevent as the movie is.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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