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V for Vendetta depicts the message of political action and tells the audience it could soon happen to their government one day if they allow it to take control and not take a stand against their government. There are a lot of scenes throughout this film that depicts this message. The plot of V for Vendetta is an interesting story. The film takes place in Great Britain, which does not have the same form of Government that we do in America. Although it does not have the same government, it exposes lessons about the United States Constitution.
“Remember, remember the Fifth of November,” says a man that goes by the name of V, who is preparing to destroy parliament over the Gunpowder Plot. Director James McTeigue portrays in his film, V for Vendetta, the corruption of Great Britain’s totalitarian Government and a freedom fighter who is wanting to bring them down. Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) takes over in power and puts fear into his citizens to make sure that they know who is in charge and that it is they, who can only protect them. Hugo Weaving who plays the main character, V, sends out a message to London’s citizen and tells them to stand up against their Government and to not be afraid.
Prior to sending out his message on live television, many killings had occurred with the Doctors who were involved at a detention center that William Rookwood was in before he changed his name to V. He sought revenge for what the Doctors did to him and thousands of other innocent people, and he sought to bring justice back to Great Britain. Along the way of V’s plans, he comes across a young woman, Evey Hammond, walking the streets after curfew and two men decide to attack her for disobeying the rules. Of course V saves her and without realizing it, Evey Hammond will soon become his collaborator.
Inspector Finch played by Stephen Rea is assigned by the Chancellor to take V down for the “terrorist” things he has done and before he does more to panic the Chancellor’s country. After V took over the television station and footage of him was collected by Inspector Finch, the inspector learned for sure that Evey Hammond and V were working together. Inspector Finch was determined to take down V to save his job. As he tries to take down V, he comes across all these questions and mysteries that V’s actions reveal, and he soon start to question his own country’s Government. Many questions appear, are V’s actions constitutional? Is he or is he not a terrorist? V in general is very controversial.
James McTeigue is a director who likes to weave politics into his films. The first thing he portrays in the film is terrorism. In V for Vendetta the first thing audiences will notice is that V’s actions are both like a terrorist and like a freedom fighter fighting for Great Britain’s freedom from a totalitarian government. Killing high government officials and blowing up historical buildings is an act of a terrorist. When the twin towers in New York was brought down by a group of terrorist, many of the U.S. citizens wanted vengeance for their destruction and we went to war are still currently at war in Iraq, but V’s actions might not be like those terrorists. The Old Bailey is the first building V destroys, and it was where major criminal cases happened in Great Britain. There was no justice in the Old Bailey. The Old Bailey was also a historical building, so blowing up this building meant justice and getting rid of the old regime. V’s actions communicate his beliefs, so his actions also teach us about the First Amendment. Freedom of speech could be applied to V. However, with all rules, there are limits to citizens’ freedom, so V’s ways of communication may be questionable and not protected by freedom of speech.
Another lesson in the film is civil liberties. With Chancellor Adam Sutler in power, he has taken all civil liberties from his citizen and replaced them with fear and allowing the government officials to spy on whomever and whenever they want without a warrant. If this happened to the United States, it would violate the Forth Amendment, which gives the right to privacy. In his message on television, V said, “Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.” This quote shows that V’s mission is to awaken the London citizens and stand up against this cruel Chancellor and other political officials, and take back the people’s right to privacy and other rights.
A third lesson is about cruel and unusual punishment. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment and If the Eighth Amendment was a part of Great Britain’s Government, then it would be broken by Evey’s torture which she thought was by the Government. Evey Hammond is found at Gordon’s home and is captured for questioning. She never reveals any secrets of V and refuses to give answers. She chose to go through the torture and beatings even though she could have given up at any time. Here is example of cruel and unusual punishment from Evey’s imprisonment:
Interrogator: I am instructed to inform you that you have been convicted by special tribunal and that unless you are ready to offer your cooperation you are to be executed. Do you understand what I’m telling you?
Evey Hammond: Yes.
Interrogator: Are you ready to cooperate?
Evey Hammond: No.
Interrogator: Very well. Escort Ms. Hammond back to her cell. Arrange a detail of six men and take her out behind the chemical shed and shoot her.
The scenes of Evey’s captivity and the scenes of the young woman pictured in the letter that Evey finds in the wall, gives a crucial image of what London’s citizens went through. The United State’s Eighth Amendment would be broken by these scenes. These scenes make us aware that our own government can soon become a totalitarian government just like In the film, if we the citizens allow the government to take over and let them make our choices, we the people, will suffer cruel and unusual punishment.
The final lesson in the movie is the positive thing citizens can do to save the world. Although V was violent, his actions were good because it did a lot to free London’s citizens from a corrupted Government. He inspired people, got them to rise against their government and to not be afraid. V was a man who stood up and never backed down. V was said to be an ‘idea’, believing he could make a difference, someone to remember, “Remember, remember the Fifth of November.” With this line being repeated through the movie, I have learned this line comes from the Bonfire Prayer, which every Fifth of November, the poem is recited and is declared Guy Fawkes day in England. When the day finally came of the explosion of the Gunpowder Plot, V passed away and passed his plan on to Evey allowing her to have the choice of the freedom of the country or to continue suffering in totalitarian government. She chose to continue V’s plan, causing a domino effect. Another scene in the movie is when V creates the domino image of his symbol and pushes the first domino over. V is the first domino. Then the ripple effect that is created represents everyone. “V is every one of us” says Evey to Inspector Finch while watching the explosion. The last domino that is standing is Evey, who controls the next ripple effect. This shows that everyone can be a part of something that could make a difference in the world. Not just making a small change but a big change by influencing the people around you, socially and politically.
The fact that director McTeigue created this film in England does not mean it is only relating it to the citizens of England because it can also relate to the citizens of the United States. V for Vendetta depict the message of political action and tells the audience it could soon happen to their government one day if they allow them to take control and not take a stand against their government. V teaches that people should not let fear overcome them and they should stand up for their rights and make a change in society. Everyone is a part of change, from a child to a high class government official. There are a lot of scenes throughout this film that depict this message. If people are not loud and do not stand up to the government, the United States could one day turn into a totalitarian government like in V.
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