Sunday, March 19, 2006
V for Vendetta
"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". Such is the troubling position one is forced to ponder in "V for Vendetta", the newly released movie based (more or less) upon Alan Moore and David Lloyd's 80's comic mini-series. This is yet another one of those "dystopian future" stories where a "Big Brother" government (this one in the United Kingdom) has taken over and tightly runs the show, oppressing the lives of its citizens and deciding for them what is and is not in their best interest. What shall a people do to break free of this tyranny?
If only there were some mysterious stranger willing to dress in black, hide behind a Guy Fawkes mask and terrorize the fascist regime by blowing up government buildings and deftly assassinating key individuals in the corrupt power scheme. Oh, wait--that would be "V", the hero of the story--or is he every bit as much a villain as the government he seeks to bring down? That's the trouble behind the whole concept. Yeah, the fascist government is not a good thing...but does that make a terrorist a hero? I suppose the movie hopes we will examine the two extremes and decide for ourselves whether or not two wrongs make a right.
While the story (both the original comic and the movie) can be thought-provoking at points (whether or not you agree with the particular slant it unapologetically takes), it at the same time is very simplistic in its view. We are led to believe that strict morality quickly corrupts and therefore equals bad, while personal liberty equals good, period. The reality of the situation, as any thinking individual knows, is morality and personal liberties cannot exist exclusively. Personal liberty needs morality to keep it in check. But true, inward morality (speaking of something deeper than just the basic "thou shalt not kill" type stuff) can't be forced upon a person from the outside--it has to be revealed from the inside, in the heart, or else it will never take. But this begins to tilt things toward far deeper a discussion than I want to ramble on about at this time--this is a Sketch Blog, after all, not a place for me to ramble aimlessly. In summary, then...If one tries to take this movie seriously, the message is, as said before, simplistic, borderline adolescent in its themes of vengeance and anarchy, and is a thinly-veild left-wing wet dream. But taken merely as a fiction and viewing it objectively, one can find themselves entertained and perhaps take home a little food for thought.
Strictly speaking of the movie as an adaptation of the graphic novel, I was pleased. There are changes, but none so major as to greatly disrupt the story for me. Given, I only first read the 20-ish-year-old story a few months ago, just so I'd be familiar with the source before the movie came out. So, while I enjoyed it, I'm not a long-time or hardcore fan of the original. That may be why I'm quick to accept the adaptation without nit-picking. I thought Hugo Weaving played the title character very well, and Natalie Portman did fine as his gradually willing, impressionable young accomplice, Evey, though as has been pointed out by many, her British accent did waver from time to time.
And speaking of Natalie Portman...many have seen the now-infamous Natalie Portman rap from her recent appearance on Saturday Night Live. I couldn't get that completely out of my head while I watched the movie. That's why we have the goofy, pointless sketch that accompanies this post. See?! A goofy, pointless sketch. NOW we're back to what this blog is supposed to be about in the first place!