V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

We went to see the movie “V for Vendetta” today. I chose this one for several reasons.

First, it was written by the Wachowski Brothers. Name sound familiar? It should. They made the Matrix series. The Matrix is a favorite of many in this group as it injected mystery and philosophy into the script, which made many think more deeply about life than before.

I therefore expected this movie to provide a couple good hours of provoking entertainment. I was not disappointed.

The second reason I wanted to see this was because of the political and religious implications of the story line. It is quite possible that this movie will have a wide-ranging influence for either good or evil. I wanted to be able to judge accurately what that influence will be.

If we put politics and philosophy aside and judge it on objective quality and entertainment value then it was quite a good movie. Not as good as the first Matrix, but as good as the second and third ones. I would rate it three and a half stars out of four.

One thing that pleasantly surprised me was it contained more dialog and story line than pure action as is the case in so many movies today. The action sequences were great and more enjoyable because there were speaking parts and character development between them. We got to know V, his history and why he thinks and acts the way he does. Ironically, the hero V was played by Hugo Weaving who played Agent Smith, the arch villain in Matrix.

The second major character was Evey played by Natalie Portman who was Queen Padmé Naberrie in the Star Wars series. She was the love interest of Darth Vader and now she is the love interest of V. Her character was also well developed, as movies go, and we got to know her as a person.

The basic plot is this: The year is 2020 and America has basically collapsed as a superpower and is involved in a civil war, but not before it exported a virus to the corrupt English government which used it to kill 80,000 of its own people and then blame it on terrorists. The English were then willing to support a right wing Christian dictator who became a Hitler type figure in the movie. He particularly persecuted gays and people who have copies of the Koran.

V was a part of a forced medical experiment by the government and was horribly burned in a fire. He barely survived, but with a determination to destroy the government in the hopes that a better one would rise from its ashes.

His love interest, Evey, challenged this belief by saying that whenever she has seen a government destroyed it is replaced by something worse, not better. I found this to be one of the more profound statements in the movie.

This doesn’t shake V’s belief and goal which is to blow up both houses of Parliament on the 5th of November next which would be the anniversary of Guy Fawkes attempt to do this in 1607.

In fact, V patterned himself after Guy Fawkes and sought to consummate the failed goal that he had. He even wore a Guy Fawkes mask throughout the movie to hide his hideously burned face.

There are a number of things that bother me about this movie.

[1] This movie makes a terrorist appear to be a great hero at a time when terrorism is such a threat that it could destroy our society as we know it with something much worse than we have now to replace it. In fact, the movie was ready to be released last year around the time of the subway bombings, but was put on hold until the heat around that blew over. Here is a quote from V justifying his actions: “Blowing up a building can change the world.” Blowing up a building creates change all right, but it is usually for the worse. For example, the blowing up of the federal building in Oklahoma or the destruction of the Twin Towers didn’t improve the world for anyone. The trouble with such an effective and professional glorification of a terrorist is that it is likely to inspire some potential terrorists who are now on the fence.

Unfortunately, there are many people ignorant of what the Nazis were really like who equate the current government with Hitler’s Germany and would be happy to blow something up if it hurts political leaders they do not like. If this becomes a cult classic it could influence young people to become terrorists for generations to come. I think they could have made V a much greater hero if he used less violent methods to fight the government. For one thing, in one scene he took over the government controlled broadcasting and put his message of government corruption on TV to all the homes. With more of this type of creativity he could have been an example of a more positive way to fight injustice.

[2] The core idea behind the movie is laced with hypocrisy. It is this: V a cool philosopher, is like Guy Fawkes and is fighting against religious fanatics in government. The truth is that Guy Fawkes was a Catholic religious fanatic who was intolerant of the less suppressive Protestant rule in England and sought to put the Catholics back in power by blowing up Parliament. If he had succeeded the people would have suffered more oppression because the Catholics at the time were less tolerant and more rigid in their thought than the Protestants, who broke off from the mother Church to establish greater, not less freedom. It is thus ironical that V wants to fight fanatics by imitating a fanatic. To this day Guy Fawkes is seen as a villain by the English and each year they celebrate November 5th as Guy Fawkes Day. When I was there in the Sixties, they had great bonfires on every street burning effigies of Guy Fawkes. The smoke was so great it filled the air and created a mist over the land. Many also set off fireworks and this day was the closest thing they had to our Fourth of July, as far as celebration goes. I understand that because of pollution problems that there aren’t many bonfires any more, but it was quite a sight in the old days.

[3] This movie follows the Hollywood stereotype of right wing conservatives and business people making them look like the most evil people on the planet. They even had an evil talk show guy hooked on drugs that was supposed to be like Rush Limbaugh that V killed. What’s odd here is that most left leaning people who claim to be for peace will cheer V and his violent methods on through the movie, but the guy V is fighting is much more like Saddam Hussein than any Christian leader in the world. And what did the left do when Bush drove Saddam out of power? Did they cheer him on? Of course not. If they did not accept violence of war to remove Saddam then why accept the violence of V toward one who is not as bad as the former Iraqi dictator?

[4] Christians are slandered in the movie. First, they are portrayed as so intolerant that Christian leaders prohibit free speech and make it a crime to have a copy of the Koran. Christians have their faults, but there is no evidence that they would take things this far. Every President of the United States and most leaders in England have been Christians and none have shown such a tendency. On the other hand, many Muslim countries make it a crime to investigate or convert to Christianity, sometimes punishable by death. Christians are portrayed as so intolerant of gays that they are willing to persecute them unto prison and death. The truth is that again it is many Muslims, not Christians, who are willing to persecute gays. For example, it was the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani of Iraq who said that “gays should be killed in the worst possible way”. It is true that many Christians are not accepting of the gay lifestyle, but few want them persecuted or imprisoned.

Conclusion: It is obvious that the intent of the writers was to create a movie that would warn us of steps we are now taking that could lead to a dictatorship. Unfortunately, they are warning us of branches of evil rather than the root. I guarantee that they who lean to the traditional left and support forced socialism and sympathize with communism will love the agenda of this movie. The ironical thing is that the Nazi type government which they profess to want to avoid is socialistic. Many forget that the Nazi party was called “National SOCIALISM.”

We are in much more danger of turning into Nazi’s through the creeping advance of forced socialism which ever increases our taxes and diminishes our freedoms. These advocates also seek to take away our freedom of speech by telling us what we can and cannot say in the form of what is politically correct. They even seek to control our thoughts by categorizing some crimes as “hate crimes” because of what the person was thinking when the crime was committed. This direction should terrify any freedom loving person.

Overall I loved the movie as entertainment, but am concerned that some 5th of November we will see another 911 calamity on TV which was inspired by it.

People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people. A quote from “V” from the movie “Vendetta”.

March 26, 2006

Copyright by J J Dewey

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