Tuesday, March 21, 2006

V for Vendetta

I saw V for Vendetta this weekend and think its phenomenal. The subtle use of symbols, the high octane action scenes and the transformation of a character really solidify this movie as one of the best (as oppose to the worst of 2006). The movie also does a great job of keeping me wondering about what will happen next and weaving many smaller stories into the greater plot. Not to mentioned a Benny Hill homage. Brilliant!

The biggest controversy surrounding the film is it's political bent. It takes place about 10 years in the future. England is now in the grips of a fascist dictator who rose to power when chaos was gripping the world due to America's failed conquest in Iraq. America in the mean time is in the midst of a civil war, but England avoided it due to their... well, who really knows why.

I had no expectation of this movie being anything worth watching. In retrospect, seeing that Alan Moore wrote the graphic novel assures me that this might have a chance. Alan Moore is one of the most compelling writers of the graphic novel genre. His ability to string along a reader through various literary elements is second to none. His work in the Watchmen is a singular, iconic representation of what can be accomplished through the graphic novel medium. On the other hand, Hollywood is notorious for butchering otherwise wonderful comics in an effort to jazz them up a bit. How unfortunate.

So a lot of people got their panties in a twist over the 'political' message. And to that I retort with dinosaurs!

Did you read what the insightful dinosaurs had to say? Did you, huh? Huh? Good. So yeah. In the same spirit that you can't really have unbiased journalism or objective history. What a joke!

Unfortunately, this otherwise moot point of political controversy took away from an otherwise wonderfully crafted film.

I want to talk about Evey's transformation so I must say that in order to talk about this rather intelligently, I'll have to share some information that might spoil the movie.

Evey is the product of culture that's been under siege. She was raised in a government runned facilities after her parents were imprisoned for protesting the government. She has taken up a rather docile and submissive role in stark contrast to her parent's rebelious leanings. She obeys the government because she fears the government.

Evey manages to get herself tangled in V's affairs. V takes her in and she agrees to help him in his crusade. But in the middle of his work she cowers and runs from the scene. She is later captured by the government, tortured and asked to turn V over. This would have been easy enough for her, but she found a note buried away in a hole in her cell. Written on this note is the story of a women who occupied the cell before Evey. Her story isn't fantastical or showy; rather it is one mixed woven with fear then hope and then fear again. Evey realizes that the injustice done to this woman isn't an isolated incident and if she betrays V's location she betrays this young woman. Evey is asked one last time, in a pleading voice by her silhouetted interegator to reveal V's location or she'll be taken out back and shot. With both strength and fear she firmly says "No. Kill me."

With that the man says she's free to go and she realizes soon enough it was V who put her through this. Evey is angry at V for deceiving her, but when she takes a step back she realizes that the 'lie' he created freed her from fears. This is a transformation into an Evey that she likes. This harkens a theme throughout the movie "Artists create lies to show us the truth; politicians create lies to keep us from the truth."

Evey faced death and finally knew what she would die for. In the process she learned how to live. Evey, in struggled breath, runs to the roof for air. It's just started to rain. She basks in the rain and the view of the city. She feels her freedom finally.

This movie moved me in ways that few have. It serves as a reminder to embrace my greatness and that there are battles to be fought. Each age has its battles. And each battle has it heros. And when a hero is called to battle that spirit awakens not just one person but an entire generation. What battles are you fighting? What inspires you?

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