[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B0019FLTI2][/pullquote] V for Vendetta is a 2006 film based on a graphic novel comic book series written by Alan Moore. Like previous films based on his work (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell), Moore wanted his name removed from the project over his fears for the quality of adaptation. The biggest contribution from both comic book and film though is the now iconic mask worn by the character of V, which was recently seen on members of the Anonymous hacktivist group during the ˜Occupy’ protests, fighting against capitalism after the financial crisis of the last few years. The mask has become a symbol of their cause, much like it is in the film, and provides a wonderful example of life imitating art.
Set in a dystopia in the 2030s, Great Britain is under the rule of Norsefire, a totalitarian government, headed by High Chancellor Adam Sulter (John Hurt). Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) works for the state-run television network, when one night she is almost raped by members of the secret police. She is rescued by a masked vigilante called V (Hugo Weaving) who takes her to the top of a building and the two watch as he blows up the Old Bailey. V later takes control of the television network and urges the people of Great Britain to rise up against the Government by joining him on November 5th the following year and watch as he blows up the Houses of Parliament.
First thing to note about V for Vendetta is that, despite the trailer, this is not an action adventure but rather a deep-seated political piece. Some audiences may go in expecting some Matrix-style fight scenes, of which there are some, but the majority of the film involves talking. And what talking it is. Weaving brings an eloquence to the evocative, enigmatic lead character and uses such incredible language it would make Russell Brand blush. Aside him, is Natalie Portman’s Evey, a character so full of innocence that it’s almost impossible not to root for her, even if she is doing a healthy impression of Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins.
The future-set London of V for Vendetta is bland and depressing, and the visual flair of the comic books is lost somewhere in translation, but within the context of a totalitarian state, it makes sense, even if it’s not particularly interesting to look at. The plot is a little messy and all-over-the-shop, but for a film about anarchy this seems suitably fitting. It is not a wonder that the ˜Occupy’ and Anonymous groups have chosen V as their visage, because he represents every that the extreme right-wing Government would fear, and regardless of your opinions on their cause, you have to admit they strike a powerful image in their fight against capitalism.
But all of this is window-dressing to the V for Vendetta’s central message that brings to light the failings of capitalism and provides a dark and chilling vision of the world if corporations and bigoted madmen gain too much power.