V For Vendetta

This author does not believe that blowing up the Houses of Parliament would change anything, and contrary to popular belief, neither does V For Vendetta. Anybody who watches this film and comes to the conclusion that blowing up the Houses of Parliament will fix the government needs to re-watch it. It is just a building, and destroying it, no matter how satisfying, would have no real impact because the government would simply find somewhere else to meet. Instead, the message is that the government needs to be disassembled from the highest ranking person to the lowest. It is the people who hold the power, and the building is simply a symbol of that power. On top of that, it is we, the people, who have the real power and we’re simply not using it. When, during the film’s climax, the public finally take a stand there is still the possibility that it will end in bloodshed. With the government disbanded, the military finds itself without any commands and become regular people, with guns, which they choose not to fire. Remember, V For Vendetta was released in 2005, and based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore from 1982. That’s two iterations in two decades and it continues to be relevant now, a decade later. On top of the political message, it’s also a very well made film.

We follow Evey as she encounters the mysterious freedom fighter known as V in his quest to free the country from a tyrannical government. Meanwhile Chief Inspector Finch is hunting him down and stumbles across the horrific history of this same government. This is a film that relies mainly on the performance of its three core cast members and they each do a fantastic job. Natalie Portman gives an emotionally charged performance as Evey, and it is especially impressive during her interrogation scenes. Stephen Rae is perfectly sceptic as Finch from the very beginning. It is clear that he has never completely trusted the government, and there’s a certain amount of joy to watching his suspicions be validated. Then there is the one and only Hugo Weaving as V. Wearing his iconic Fawksian mask, his performance must come from movement and voice alone. Rattling off about 25 words that begin with v in his opening monologue and playing several different characters as V, Hugo Weaving more than proves he is the right man for the role. Of course some of the minor characters are wonderful too. The late John Hurt provides a brilliantly manic power as High Chancellor Adam Suttler. It’s the kind of zealous politician I never would have thought would gain power in the real world, how I wish that were the case. It makes V For Vendetta perhaps more relevant now than ever before. Then there is the lovely Stephen Fry as talk show host Gordon Dietrich in a performance that will unfortunately end up resonating with many in the LGBT community. The scariest aspect in all of this is that the film isn’t set in some post-apocalyptic future, but in a future that could very well be our own.

I haven’t divulged many of the plot details because V For Vendetta just isn’t the type of film that you can read about. Sure, many people have written about it and the context contained within, but the best thing you can do is watch it for yourself. It’s now a tradition of mine to watch it every single 5th of November because the themes ring so strongly. This day, which should be remembered for being anti-capitalist, has instead been capitalised on (reminder: Fireworks Now Available!) and as the years go by I fear that it may lose all meaning, if it hasn’t already. However you’re choosing to mark this November 5th, please remember where we’re coming from and think about where you want to go from here.

Until Next Time…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

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