England Prevails? V For Verdict

From my second view of V For Vendetta on Sunday comes the following verdict vindicated via verbosity….

I wonder if 9-11 made extremism per se a taboo to depict in any light approaching favourable; I say this as much of the radicalism of the source material seems bled out. What remains seem less a case of the anarchy vs totalitarianism of the original, and more a battle between “vox populi,vox dei” and religious fundamentalism (or “vox populi” vs “vox dei” – two sides of the same coin trying to flip each other over for supremacy.) Sound like the political climate in any country you know,dear reader?

(Sorry, miyu_sakura – tis waaay too apparent!)

Taking this point further the Big V himself undergoes a change from virtuously vicious, “Non Serviam!” anti-hero to – in his own words – “a mere vestige of the vox populi”. Moore’s rogue finds himself reworked by James McTeigue and the Wachowskis, given an agreeably disagreeable populist facelift. V’s mistress, alluring Anarchy finds herself shunted in favour of – dumpy ol’ Democracy!? Moore would turn in his grave were he a dead man – as it stands, he merely disowned the project.

The original text proved just as scathing toward the stupefied slaves of Cruel Britannia as it did toward the malevolent masters; the movie makeover gives only a few lines of lip service to the pliability of the people, preferring instead to tread the trodden ground of democratic defiance (an oxymoron on my part, I do apologize!) The film’s overly-idealistic (though admittedly beautiful) conclusion rams the point home loud and clear; compare it to the Pollyanna-free original ending to see where I come from with this.

Another thing – it proves ironic that the opening scene featuring Guy Fawkes carries a voice-over from Evey, declaring that a man may be forgotten, but his ideals will endure. Why? Well it seems to play very much vice versa in the case of Fawkes. Kids like to set him alight on this hallowed night, but do the remember the “right” behind his fight? Questionable…

While were running with Fawkesian ironies, I find it funny that the man himself proved not a fighter for freedom but a fanatic for faith – surely the antithesis of the V character who adopts his visage?

To be fair, Moore may have been alluding to the Gunpowder Plotter’s methods rather than the madness behind them…..

….if that stands true, Mc Teigue & the Wachowskis probably made a mistake in in replicating said allusion and then inserting a fucking speech on the endurance of ideas!!!

All that said, the Wachowski’s seem to do something clever within their altered fictional paradigm. Did anyone else find themselves amused by the chara of Gordon Dietrich? Transformed from Evey’s lover to a closeted homosexual satirist, Dietrich, it transpires, keeps (amongst other subversive artefacts from pre-Norsefire times) a Koran hidden away in his secret quarters! His reason ? He loved the poetry and beauty of the wording, totally putting aside the issue of Islam being as oppressive and anti-gay as Norsefire’s Christianity! In the end it’s this – and not his piss-take of the Powers That Be – which seals his doom.

A clever commentary on the dangers of tolerating intolerance by the writers and director, or an overly-generous interpretation on my part? Decide for yourself……

If this commentary seems too caustic, let me just say that, despite the flaws cited (and some not), I can’t help but love this film! Certain scenes, such as the Valerie segment, play out perfectly and all the more powerfully as moving image; the revised London Underground climax proves a brilliant set-piece, showcasing what the Wachowskis do best; Hugo Weaving pulls a star turn as V and John Hurt’s Chancellor Sutler proves suitably bombastic. On those last points I notice that Weaving and Hurt each do a complete volte-face from their roles in The Matrix and 1984(another popular page-to-screen dystopia) respectively.

To sum up my view, whilst it looks positively anaemic next to the original graphic novel, this version of V For Vendetta nevertheless vibrates with vigour and verve.


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2 Responses to England Prevails? V For Verdict

  1. jsangspar says:

    I really thought it was a dreadful film made without a sense of art, only a sense of spectacle with an undeserved pretension due to its having been adapted from a genius source.
    I think you’re being too generous with the Koran issue, too. It’s a movie with no clear stance except that ‘being famed is better than being alive’.

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