[Mb-civic] V For Vendetta
michael at michaelbutler.com
Tue Mar 28 17:05:35 PST 2006
Subject: Claire Wolfe's Review - V FOR VENDETTA
V FOR VENDETTA.
I finally saw it Saturday.
After the disappointment of Serenity I'd tried not to get my hopes up about
this one. But the beautiful posters kept luring me. "No moviemaker who put
so much craft and restraint into those posters could possibly have flubbed
the film," I kept telling myself. And then there was that slogan: People
should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of
their people. Yeahhhhh ...
So I kept letting my hopes build up ... and up ... and up.
And you know what? V for Vendetta exceeded them. It was better than my most
(Itty bitty teeny minor spoilers follow)
I haven't been so emotionally engaged by a freedom film since Braveheart. I
haven't seen a more important freedom film since The Matrix. No. Strike
that. V for Vendetta is more important than The Matrix because its message
is so unabashedly here-and-now. So in-your-face. Not to mention that like
The Matrix it wraps its message in one hell of an action-adventure story.
This is a movie without compromise. No words minced. No concepts softpedaled
or cleverly coded. V for Vendetta overtly advocates the right, even the
duty, of individuals in the twenty-first century to defend themselves
violently against government tyranny. And the government in question is a
recognizable near-future descendent of ones that now lie oozing and
festering before our very noses.
The movie government isn't a Bush administration clone, as some conservative
critics whimpered (it's British, for one thing). But it's familiar enough
that the Wachowski brothers, who wrote the screenplay, are obviously
warning, "Look, tyranny isn't some distant threat that happens only to
foreigners. When you begin hearing words like 'rendition' or 'detention'
from your own government, it's time to be very, very watchful. And very,
very angry. And to act."
Since I'm late coming in, and since words would fail me anyhow, I won't
attempt a real review. I'll just say if you haven't seen it yet go. Now.
Experience it yourself. And I 100 percent guarantee you it'll be an
It's not a perfect movie. Its imperfections mostly come from its DC Comics
background. ("How can one guy with six knives best a dozen dudes with
full-auto weapons trained on him?" and "Oh, c'mon, surely the security
experts would have anticipated that.") But it is a great movie. Great.
Exciting. Important. Heartrending. Encouraging. This is one to buy the
instant it comes out on DVD. This is one of those rare, rare movies whose
talk is as powerful as its action and whose action will have you cheering
and weeping and clenching your fists. This is one for the freedom film
Yeah, it's imperfect. But it soars beyond its own few flaws. It soars like
its own fireworks.
One last thought. I was curious about why so many critics sniffed that this
film constituted a "defense of terrorism." Having seen it, I understand
where they're coming from. But V isn't a terrorist and this film isn't about
terrorism at all.
V, the man in the Guy Fawkes mask (Hugo Weaving), never once attacks an
innocent person. Never once targets a "civilian" building. He attacks only
government agents, government spokesthings, and government facilities.
Even then (unlike baby-killer Tim McVeigh, the beasts of 9-11, or the
Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld cartel) he does so in a way that minimizes casualties.
Since a terrorist is someone who attacks citizens in hopes of influencing
governments, V is by definition not a terrorist.
Aaron Zelman had a spot-on comment about those "terrorist" critics: "Funny
how no one condemning the movie is complaining about the horrors inflicted
on people by the government." Yeah. Funny, that. The government kills tens
of thousands and torments millions more. But V is the "terrorist" and tsk
tsk how shocking it is for the Wachowskis or us to side with him.
Well, he's no terrorist. But he's also not a "good guy." It's almost funny
watching the negative critics try to claim that the filmmakers want us to
believe that V is a conventional (if also unconventional) hero. Egads.
V does heroic, heartbreaking, heart-lifting things -- and deeply evil ones.
As the character Evey (Natalie Portman) calls him and as he himself later
agrees, he's a monster. A monster created by government arrogance, savagery,
That's also what a terrorist is. A terrorist just chooses innocent targets.
Like Frankenstein's creation, V is a more interesting character because he's
both a monster and a sympathetic, heart-touching one.
P.S. If you go see the movie, stick around for the first couple of minutes
of the credits. You'll be rewarded for the extra time. You might also get a
laugh to discover that one of the companies involved the making V for
Vendetta was Anarchos Productions. :-)
Posted by Claire @ 10:14 AM CST
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