January 27, 2020

Review: “V” For Vendetta

nataliebald.jpgBecause my son is a fan of the original graphic novel, “V for Vendetta,” my drive home from the theater this afternoon was a seminar in all the ways the new film differed from the novel. Those observations cemented my impression that the film I’d seen not only differed from the original book in ways that were important, but that the vision of this film had been gaudily painted with the heavy-handed strokes of the Bush-loathing left. Such tampering created a flawed, but a not quite ruined, piece of entertainment.

“V for Vendetta” is part “1984,” part “Phantom of the Opera,” part anarchist fairy tale, part “Batman,” part “The Patriot,” and part revolutionary morality tale. Despite decorating this film with all the politically correct bait for the moonbat leftist political audience, a good movie survives, one that will be much discussed and should have considerable positive impact on discerning Christians and anyone concerned with the continuing values of America’s revolution.

The fascist regime against which “V” fights is derived from a number of sources. Big Brother, Hitler and dictatorships from throughout history are all in view. “V’s” fight is one of personal revenge, but it is also one to bring about an end to an era of censorship, injustice, torture, oppression and the perpetual rule of an evil cabal of master manipulators. Unfortunately, the film connects this generic dictatorship with the Bush administration, Christian conservatives, talk radio, the War on terror, and the usual talking points of a Howard Dean speech.

This means the film will one day look considerably more silly than it should have….unless Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney band together, actually take over the world and impression all liberals. Given that unlikely event, I must wonder why the vision of totalitarianism in the movie wasn’t played more generically so that people everywhere could relate to “V’s” fight, and not just homosexuals waiting for the Department of Homeland Security to break down their doors and arrest them for watching Comedy Central.

“V,” to his credit, never utters an anti-religious statement, and his relationship with Evie is centered around a struggle to be free from the fear and lies that evil institutions of every kind and in every era use to perpetuate their power. “V’s” love of literature, art and truth stand in contrast to a world of lies perpetuated through media that is afraid to show any story other than the “official” one.

“V’s” suffering have made him into a kind of superman, but one that is as much madman as super hero. “V” increasingly knows that he cannot save the world, but only give others a means to change it. His eventual choice is to empower everyman; to “fight the powers that be” through every person standing against tyranny.

(I was interested to see that, in the future, Fox News will be the only channel in England, and the blogosphere will apparently have been eliminated. I was even more surprised to discover that the Church of England is going to be populated with conservatives who want to have sex with girls. “Say what?” Yes. Me, too.)

“V’s” intention is to go beyond vendetta and revenge. He wants to return his world to a place where the government is afraid of the people, not vice versa. In this cause, he undertakes the transformation of Evie, and her moment of “rebirth” is ripe with Christian imagery and meaning. “God is in the water” and a baptism of fire and water are strong visuals of “V” and Evie becoming new, empowered and free persons.

“V” is not an apologetic for all terrorism, but it is a strong warning about the abuse of thought, words, media and fear that can take place in a world where there are complexities that make us all afraid. The regime has remade the world into a game of security and survival, with those in power promising one by threatening the other. “V” wants a world where the people decide for themselves what security is worth and what it means. It is a anarchist fantasy, but I believe the founding revolutionaries of America would find much to like in the film. In many ways, the film reminded me of Mel Gibson’s “Patriot,” where the decision of a man to make a revolution personal or something more stands at the heart of the story.

The redemption in this film comes from truth, freedom, the courage to act and tell our stories, but, above all, the courage to love one another. The way of Christ is not the way of “V,” but in an evil world, the way of “V” must be dealt with. It cannot be ignored. How do we stand against the evil of our time when that evil has become part of who we are, how we think and how we live?

Hugo Weaving carries the film with his voice, and the few action sequences in the film are compelling, exciting and very bloody. Natalie Portman gives one of her strongest performances so far, and though her role is substantially changed from the novel, it may be one of the few things that was improved in doing so.

John Hurt’s “Chancellor” is perfect casting, and the rest of the cast plays close to the “1984ish” atmosphere that such a film needs, where individuals experience in their small worlds the horror of what is happening everywhere.

The film will promote much thought, opposition, anger and discussion. Despite its bizarre notion that the Bush presidency is a short walk to a Hitlerian world where homosexuals are killed in camps and the Koran is illegal, the movie still stands as entertaining and effective. I recommend it to anyone who could benefit from a fun bit of anarchist fantasy that even Hollywood’s paranoid leftists couldn’t entirely ruin, though they certainly did try.

Jesus changes the world through transformation, love, suffering and taking the sins of the world onto himself. He calls us to follow him. The message of “V for Vendetta” is unclear. Ultimately, is Jesus the one vindicated? Is the new world “V” gives to England a world where people are different than they were before? Is the regime of the heart just as oppressive as the regime of the Chancellor? Several characters say that “there is something wrong” with the country. Perhaps the truth that evaded “V” is that there is something wrong that cannot be cured by blowing up buildings or executing oligarchs.

Go see it for yourself and make up your own mind. Paralells with Bonhoeffer are welcome. I think this is a very useful movie to use in dialogue with non-Christians, IF you can take on the misrepresentation of Christianity that comes along with the film.

Comments

  1. “The Bush-loathing left” currently represents between 55-60% of the American population:

    http://www.pollingreport.com/BushJob.htm

    Perhaps the Wachowski Brothers were just being “mainstream”?

  2. I wouldn’t mistake the number of people who will answer a loaded CNN survey question for Bush “loathers.” Bush “loathers” are a special breed of political animal, given to tin foil hats, conspiracy theories, excessive profanity and comparisons to Hitler. Saying you don’t approve of the war in Iraq is a little less than that.

  3. Histrion (Jay H) says

    Michael’s absolutely right: disapproval percentages don’t equate to Bush-loathing.

    As for CNN, even if we believe “Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?” is some kind of “loaded question,” it’s the same loaded question the other news media are asking, and it’s the same one they all asked about Clinton when he was president.

  4. Michael,

    Please name some.

  5. Democratic Underground
    Huffington
    Daily Kos