“OffG Recommends” is a new series we’ll be putting out intermittently commenting on books, film, television or other arts and entertainment. This November 5th OffG heartily recommends V for Vendetta. Its themes are newly relevant, and its message could not be more timely.
Unfortunately – or maybe deliberately – all most people remember of V for Vendetta is the now infamous Guy Fawkes mask. It became the symbol of Anonymous, and then it became a joke. But the film deserves more than that.
Released in 2005 – bizarrely, a time we can now look back on as much more politically aware – it is an adaptation of an Alan Moore graphic novel set in a dystopian alternative Britain.
The story centres around a masked vigilante, V, who plans to bring down the fascist government of Britain by blowing up the Houses of Parliament and inciting mass demonstrations and anarchy. I won’t go into the details of the plot, because that would defeat the purpose of recommending you watch it. Suffice to say, there is intrigue, action, philosophy, conflict and romance (in the classic sense).
It is a comic book movie, and thus bound by the conventions of the genre. There is a linear narrative. There is a love story. There is a conclusion. There is cartharsis.
These are the hallmarks of popular fiction that so rarely apply to the real world. And though they are well done and interesting, they are not what makes V for Vendetta so memorable.
The casting is brilliant, and the performances good without exception. But what makes the film great, truly great, is the writing.
It was written by someone who truly sees the way power works, and the world it builds is the most realistic dystopian vision ever put to screen. It is our world…but ever so slightly different. People look the same, dress the same, talk the same…but they are scared. All the time. And controlled. All the time.
There are curfews and censors and quarantine zones. Secret police, with limitless authority, stalk the streets and harass the public. The state broadcaster tells nothing but fanciful stories that barely resemble reality, in order to keep people calm and under control. Nobody really believes them, but nobody does anything about it either.
Every evening a former military intelligence officer appears on his nationally televised talk show to spin jingoistic propaganda about the state of the nation. Other television, music and art is all subject to government screening before appearing in public.
…and this world was built as the result of a virus.OffG Recommends….V for Vendetta