|04-01-2006, 11:19 AM||#1|
Have a sip of my "special" cocktail.
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: On your Six.
V for Vendetta (A Stone Film Review)
"From time to time the tree of democracy must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants." T. Jefferson
Is this true? Is it possible to create a stable nation that serves it's citizens, or is human nature inevitably prone to create a situation where powerful people take the reins of power and work to screw over the people and propagandize/intimidate/massage them into thinking it's for their own good? And when opposing this oppressive government, is it inevitable to use tactics that, observed by an outsider, would be described as "terrorism"?
I don't know who said it, but I've heard it plenty of times, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." It all depends on who does it, what they do, to whom they do it to and who you ask.
Alan Moore was thinking of those issues when he wrote "V for Vendetta" in the 80s. Of course, he's British, and Brits of a more lefty bent had some pretty nasty things to say about Maggie Thatcher's time as Prime Minister, even more vitriolic than what most American lefties had to say about Ronald Reagan. This story describes an alternate near future Britain under then iron grip of Adam Sutler (Jon Hurt). He's described as a religious fanatic, conservative. And he's not afraid to subvert the meda and put massive troops in the street to seemingly preserve "order" in his country.
But, a government that throws out any semblance of morality and limits in the way it does business, will create it's own baggage that just may come back to haunt them. One particular troublesom crumb emerges in the form of "V", a colorful vigilante in a Guy Fawkes mask. He begins a series of attacks, targeting symbols of the current government. At one point, he makes an appeal on television after hijacking the studios of a particular network, announcing a plan to destroy the Parliament building, along the lines of the Gunpowder Plot of the original Fawkes. He encourages a presume dissatisfied British mass populace to join him. And he meets Evey (Natalie Portman) on the way out, a young woman who has long been dissatisfied with the state of her world, but at first, is not ready to take the drastic steps V advocates.
Also, you have Chief Inspector Finch, a police detective who is the primary investigator pursuing V. But he's also in the inner circle of the government and has had first hand looks at how it really works. And he is full of doubt about his government, his role in it and his attitude towards V.
All this swirls about and heads to a rousing conclusion, sad and ambivalent.
Now, I haven't read the original book (I need to), but it's interesting to view this film in our current times. It's almost proved to be be a cinematic Rorshache for our times. Some of those on the left consider the film a commentary on the Bush administration and it's apparently lackidasical attitude towards freedom and democracy. Some conservatives have apparently noticed the same thing and have lashed out against the film for the same thing.
My thoughts on this? This film and it's original story were no doubt directed against the idea of a government gone bad, but the original context was Thatcherian England and A. Moore's view at the time. Yes, it's scary that you do see such tendencies in the Bush Admin, but I don't think "V" was necessarily a direct commentary. I just think the defensiveness of the Bushies is quite telling. For if such comparisons were nonsense, they wouldn't get the play they are getting.
Also, the film promotions pushed it as an action film. It's really not. It has some gripping action sequences, but that's not the meat of the film. It's a thoughtful treatise on governmental authority and who it's meant to serve.
I dig it. Go see it.