V for Vendetta has a great shot at being the most relevant film of the year and it’s only March. The film is so layered with political subtext and symbolism that you’d have to be asleep or obtuse to miss it. It’s a story of revolution and redemption, of love and sacrifice. It’s got all the action and romance you could want from a big budget summer film but we’re getting it now. Thank our lucky stars for that.
The plot centers around a revolutionary named V. He’s a mysterious masked marauder and an alliterative animal to boot. He loves him some words and spicy soliloquies. Overall this is a positive trait except for a few instances where the dialogue passes too quickly or quietly. From the trailer you can probably tell he and the lovely Ms. Portman cross paths and begin to fight crime together (no, not really). Since I’m airing grievances in this paragraph I’ll also throw out that I noticed one area where more back-story would have helped illuminate. These aren’t deadly errors though and the film barely stutters a syllable from then on.
V lives in a futuristic Britain that’s ruled by a totalitarian state. The state is nice enough to protect people from divisive thoughts and helpful enough to censor anything that might require the people to actually think. V’s goal is nothing less than the total destruction of the government and freedom for the people. His methods are unconventional but his goals are noble.
This future V inhabits is explained through a series of events that are revealed as the film progresses. Peace for obedience is the word of the day and you’ll find yourself whistling Yankee Doodle Dandy more than once. The film has all sorts of parallels to current day right down to a blowhard crazy commentator. What’s that? The Patriot act just passed again? Praise Jesus.
The Wachowski Brothers main goal is to wake you the hell up. They did it with the Matrix Trilogy and they do it again here. They implore you to take a look around, to question the things that those in authority would have you believe. Unfortunately I don’t know if they always get to their goal and I have two main worries regarding this lofty flick. My first concern is that audiences fail to respond with box office dollars. I hope we’re not at the point where thinking about civil rights and government control are considered too much heavy lifting for a Friday night. My final fear is that audiences will flock but fail to “get it.” I know I can’t impart sage wisdom to the masses but I hope a few people understand what I feel is the true meaning behind this flick. If this is film is delivered to box office gold but everyone misses the point that’s a far worse fate than simply being ignored. It will mean we’ve lost our critical reasoning ability as a culture. It will mean the Shaggy Dog‘s rule the universe.
The mythology is that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. What no one ever mentions is that perhaps Rome needed to burn.