V for Vendetta

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Highly recommended ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā

An excellent heroic story that creatively  re-weaves threads from  classic themes in an original, engaging,  way.   Very topical.   High quality acting across the whole cast,   well constructed sound track and visuals.  Understandable at both superficial and multi-layered levels.

Long review warning ūüėČ

Some  themes that I recognized:

  • Revenge: Alexandra Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Christo” is both explicitly and implicitly referenced.
  • Masked caped hero of justice: a similar theme to “The Mask of Zorro“, ¬† a story familiar to US audiences. ¬† The hero uses a pre-christian runic style ‘Z’ symbol. ¬† V for Vendetta uses a runic style symbol. ¬† Why do I call them runic style? ¬†((not an actual rune)) ¬† Runes were originally created by cutting-wood, straight lines are more easily carved than curves. ¬† Runes are made of short straight lines. ¬† This runic site comments that:

Adolf Hitler added a corrupted form of Runic occultism to his ideal of creating a master race. Several runic symbols were adopted as insignias by the Nazis, probably the most instantly recognisable is the use of Sowelu (the S-rune) by the infamous SS.”

  • Totalitarianism: ¬† Numerous implicit references to the strategies, practices ¬†and timing of Hitler’s rise to and maintainance of power. ¬† Another reference is to George Orwell’s ‘1984’. ¬† For me this was particularly striking because John Hurt played a roll in the film of 1984 and a contrasting roll in this film. ¬† The filming of the scenes starring John Hurt are powerfully reminiscent of scenes from the film 1984. ¬† The analogy to America is very subtle, ¬† I believe it does exist through references to ‘Terrorism’ and how fear is used to manipulate the populous.
  • Scapegoat & Spin: ¬† the gunpowder plot theme is beautifully ¬†used in the film. ¬† ¬†The film exlicitly portrays the story as ‘man against government’. ¬† Implicitly its relevance is far more substantial. ¬† The government of 1605 spun the story that ¬†Guy Fawkes had lead a large Catholic conspiracy to undermine government. ¬†It is likely that the authorities knew of the plot in advance, let it happen, ¬†picked Guy up at the scene, published the treasonous event ¬†then used it to engender sufficient fear to support the subsequent removal of key Catholics. ¬† Many were ¬†hung drawn and quartered for complicity in the ‘plot’. ¬† ¬†Fear invoked. ¬† A national celebration instituted. ¬† We survived, etc. ¬† Politically influenced media spin 401 years ago! ¬†

Other notable points:

  • Use of the 1812 overture. ¬† As a pre-teen I ¬†didn’t like ¬†listening to my parent’s Sibelius albums on a Sunday. ¬† If they HAD to play classical music could they please ¬†put on ¬†the 1812 overture or Holst’s Planet Suite (I liked Mars). ¬† Occassionally they indulged me and I’d jump up and down to the 1812 overture while improvising explosion noises. ¬† It’s a fun game. ¬† I resisted the temptation to jump up and down in the cinema…
  • English rose: The English rose plays several significant symbolic roles in the film. ¬† It’s a ¬†very evocative symbol to me: ¬† The national flower of England; ¬†Represented in ¬†the English Rugby Union team and Football team insignia; The red rose ¬†is the symbol of the House of Lancaster; ¬† The white rose is the symbol of the House of York; ¬† ¬†Famously battling for control of England in the War of the ¬†Roses; ¬† Paul Weller’s poignant accoustic ballard ¬†“English Rose”; ¬† The Damned’s first single ‘New Rose“; ¬† ¬†The concept of an ‘English Rose’ as an outstandingly beautiful ¬†of girl of snow white skin, rose red lips and dark hair; ¬† The idealistic image of roses growing around the door of an English, thatched, ¬†cottage. ¬† I buy myself red roses when I need good heart, courage.
  • Natalie Portman cast as a Londoner. ¬† Why cast an American when there are plenty of talented and capable British actresses? ¬† The rest of the cast were predominantly British. ¬†Presumably Natalie was included to draw the none-British ¬†audiences with a ‘big name’. ¬† Despite my initial reservations I found Natalie’s performance worked extremely well. ¬†
  • The dialogue coach was the first credit following the cast. ¬† Very approrpriate. ¬† Natalie Portman’s accent was increadibly good. ¬† It was subtly regional rather than the often inappropriate ¬†‘plummy’ upper class accent that I found ruined my experience of Renee Zellweger’s ¬†interpretation of the essentially middle-class Bridget Jones. ¬†
  • Church & Monarchy: The light reference to established churches and complete lack of reference to ¬†a monarchy ¬† are ¬†not detrimental to the film. ¬† They are interesting. ¬† The gunpowder plot was conducted on a day when the Monarch, ¬† James ¬†I, ¬†would be in Parliament. ¬† He was part of the target. ¬† The protestant catholic tension was a core point of discontent in 1605. ¬† V does reference religeous corruption and a core spokesperson talks of ‘God’ being with England. ¬† ¬† I noticed no references to Monarchy and the existance of a hereditary class system.
  • Speech excerpts played over the closing credits. ¬† I heard the voices and felt more compelled to stay and listen than when a song typically plays with the credits. ¬† This comment that I later discovered was a recording on ¬†Gloria Steinem was very powerful: “This is no simple reform… It really is a revolution. Sex and race, because they are easy and visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor in which this system still depends.

Frendy Fizzz recently published another, shorter,  praising review.

V for Vendetta
1 vote rating 5

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