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V for Vendetta
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Saw it last night and thought it was pretty darn good.


So it's the story of a super-strong, super-pissed off mutated guy from hideous governmental experiments designed to develop a supervirus who overthrows a fascist dictatorship in near-future Britain.

There are influences from 1984 (and it's interesting here that John Hurt plays the dictator here while he played Winston Smith in the movie version of Orwell's book). Roger Ebert sees Phantom of the Opera as a primary Though it seems to me that "Repent, Harlequin" said the Tick Tock Man by Harlan Ellison is the most direct influence, featuring a creative, irreverant rebel who overthrows the status quo (though the Harlequin does it with jellybeans rather than bombs, but oh well).

Ebert did say something interesting about the film though, about one of the key lines:

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." I am not sure V has it right; surely in the ideal state governments and their people should exist happily together. Fear in either direction must lead to violence.

Sure, but I think the qualifying idea here is that if one is afraid of the other, this is the way it should be. And surely this is one of the worst types of governments. They're dictatorial and oppressive, rounding up anyone they don't like and torturing them to death. They control the media and squash dissent. V a terrorist then? Well, we've already talked about how that term isn't all that great. He would certainly belong in a different class from al Qaeda, who as I pointed out before, would gleefully maximize the taking of innocent lives (as long as they were Jewish or American), and whose goal in the foundation of a government very much like the one V wants to overthrow. So definitions for contentious words are hard to come by...why not just ask the question of whether or not he's right?

And yes, he certainly seems so. Although, for a highly-intelligent character so articulate and refined, he doesn't really seem to have thought through what's going to happen after he decapitates the current leadership. Or has he? The symbol for his name is very close to the one for anarchy (the red V in a circle).

All these people made it out into the street. Evey blew up Parliament. The worst of the dictators are dead. Now what? V said something early in the film about "making things better". Hard to imagine a much worse government, but what exactly did he have in mind?

Do Evey and Finch found a new democratic regime? As Prime Minister and President? Or do people just run around in anarchical glee, with no laws to temper the less gentle parts of their nature?

Well, at least the film made me think about these things. There were really only a few key action sequences, and much more dialog and character development than one might have expected from the ad campaign. Even though though it doesn't really carry them anywhere in particular, it is a movie ripe with ideas.

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