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Set in the futuristic England government, James McTeigue directs a movie that expresses the rise of rebellion against a government that has been oppressive to her subjects. The movie, at a wider scale, utilizes symbolism in juxtaposing the thoughts of individualism and that of forced conformity. The protagonist, V (played by Hugo Weaving), in time garners the support of the people who are growingly becoming more disgruntled with the totalitarian rule of the government on them (Altinay). The masses’ disgruntlement and loathing of the government’s power are what results in rebellions en masse as well as attempts to do away with the government. V uses masks to hide his identity as well as encouraging people to hide theirs too. This is a strategy V uses to empower the people to be more vocal and truer with their complaints. The analysis of the movie lies about the injustices by the government, themes presented, and the techniques James uses to present the film.
This is perhaps the most conspicuous aspect of the film. Viewers are presented with many aspects of the fascist government that provoke the anger of the masses. Injustices dominate the rule by Chancellor, and on many occasions, citizens feel a violation of their rights. Taking the case of V, for example, the government uses his body for an illegitimate genomic analysis. The testing is done in an attempt to discover the ability of the human body to endure epidemics. In the long run, V develops the ability to be the only human who can withstand the cruelties. This develops his hatred into vengeance against the government by vowing to reinstate a semblance of justice in the country. In a way or another, he plots to kill all those who took part in any way at the Larkhill Detention Centre to castigate the tortures on him, something he actually does (Altinay).
Evey, a young woman, is caught by a dirty undercover cop (finger man) because of a state-mandated curfew. The man tries to assault the helpless lady. He even encourages his fellow figure to assault the lady, showing how the finger men use their power to assault the weak citizens. In his revenge process, V bumped into the woman in distress and helped in saving her. Imminently, the lady helps V in getting out of binds with the detectives, allowing him to make a move and escape. This springs a connection between the two, with V taking Evey to his place where they all face their share of injustices from the government (Altinay).
V’s approach to vengeance leads to many people losing their lives in the process. He kills not only the guilty, but also innocent people too in the process. This, however, does not stop the will of the masses to rebel against the authoritarian government. People flock the parliament all being dressed like V, making it hard for the security to stop them. Demonstrating that the idea This creates different shots, and the whole city is in shambles since there seems to be no control by the government on the people.
The theme of power is widely used in the film to express the magnitude of force an individual has on the society (Altinay). In order to send a message to the people to join hands and revolt against the Chancellor, V unlawfully accesses a news station to announce his action plan. He gives the citizens a date, time, and venue to instigate the revolts against the government. Indeed, the people are hungry for freedom and it seems they only needed a leadership, which was in V. Majority, if not all, heed to the call from V and make November 5th a date to storm parliament buildings. As V said, “People shouldn’t be scared of the government, the government should be scared of the people”; this was very well shown when everyone gathered for freedom (V).The director is creative in the way camera shots of government officials are made. He angles the cameras in such a way that the Chancellor and the government appear to dominate. The finger men use their power to try and assault Evey, who pin pointedly is saved by V. In the process of the revolution, V hacks the government address system and thunderously plays Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture (Wise).
The government has created a lot of extremely strict statutory that throttle and suffocate many individuals. Stereotypic behavior is seen when the government constrains individuals from engaging in other religions, unnatural sexual orientation, and even expression of art. There is also class sophistication of the English, which makes it hard for other ethnicities, like the French, to express their beliefs and customs. The people also develop a hatred for the government, which leads to the uprisings that lead to their freedom. When people are ready to face their government thanks to V, that is when Chancellor realizes he is doomed. Like in Monsters, “When man attempts to rebel against the iron logic of Nature, he comes into struggle with the principles to which he himself owes his own existence as a man. And this attack must lead to his own doom”(Monsters). Meaning that even though government always wants to take control of the country, managed it to take it very extreme. Making it so easy to a point, it wouldn’t last forever.
James cleverly uses V’s mask in ensuring that identity is hidden, and the personality of an individual is only expressed as a symbol. This shows that V is played by everyone, in as much as it is orchestrated by an individual. This is key in showing the role everyone ought to play in the case where there are injustices done by the government. Wearing the mask magnifies V, making him an embodiment of an idea. The mask represents the ideology of revolts, too, as is designed after Guy Fawkes, a man who attempted to blow up parliament (Konzack). James also makes jumps in scenes involving V and the government. This symbolizes the impending fall of the government with the empowerment of the people. V is doing that they will be forever bulletproof, even though people were lost in the battle (Varnado).
The movie uses themes that well reflect the story being conveyed (Altinay). Most of the costumes that V and the majority of the people wear are in grey and black. This symbolizes the mourning they might be in. The mourning in this sense is in the dissatisfaction with government and the hatred that has been boiling deep within. Most of the time, V sneaks about in the night, hence the need to use the camouflaging costumes that help in hiding him. There is also an aspect of red. This might stand for the bloodshed as a result of the revolution. The red also expresses V as an explosive and violent person, but in a good sense. The red might again be used to indicate danger to the government, a show that the citizens have arisen against it, and violated. The masks used, modeled from Guy Fawkes, also represent the urge for a revolution (Konzack).
The music playing every other time V bombs government buildings (House of Parliament and Old Bailey) is known as 1812 Overture. The song was composed by Russian singer Tchaikovsky in the commemoration of the defense of Moscow by the Russians against Napoleon’s troops (Wise). This was during the battle of Borodino, which resulted in a win for Russia. The song plays a major role in escalating the scene and also foretells the forthcoming win for the citizens against the authority (Wise).
The movie V for Vendetta is key in expressing the power that lies in the hands of the people. Through the movie, one understands how the unchecked power of a government can be disastrous to the country and its citizens. There is also an expression of how people have a say in terms of ensuring that a just rule is achieved such that there are no more mistreatments. The makers of the film use such factors as costuming, symbolism, music, and colors in trying to express what the movie is all about.
- Altınay, Buket. 1984 and V for Vendetta: Identity, Anarchy, and Dystopic Futures. MS thesis. Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), 2012.
- Konzack, Lars. “The Guy Fawkes Mask as Visual Communication of the Internet Group Anonymous.” International Journal of Internet Trolling and Online Participation 1.2 (2015): 53-68.
- McTeigue, James. “V for Vendetta” March 17, 2006. https://www.netflix.com/watch/70039175?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C0%2C6f76555c95dcb4264cd4222c0e21d76e81a48bbc%3A9c2ddbf825d5d57d4812ea6b07103ace19d4d33e%2C%2C
- Hoffman, Andrew J. Monsters: Bedford Spotlight Reader. Adolf Hitler, Nature and Race. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2015. Print. October 19, 2019.
- Varnado, Shea. Powerpoint: V for Vendetta. (2019)
- Wise, John H. “The Value and Use of Music in Geographic Education.” (1979).
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