Film Techniques Used to Emphasize Themes in V for Vendetta

Category: Film, Vendetta
Last Updated: 17 Oct 2022
Essay type: Conformity
Pages: 4 Views: 2394

In the film V for Vendetta, the director, James McTeigue uses symbolism, costume and dialogue to emphasise the idea of everybody having a right to individuality, and the right - and duty – to resist forced conformism. James McTeigue uses symbolism in the film V for Vendetta to juxtapose the idea of individuality and the resistance of forced conformity. The first important symbol used in the film is V’s mask.

This symbol is shown in all of the scenes V appears in and again in the very last scene. In this scene thousands of citizens gather wearing the masks and remove them. Masks often symbolize a character hiding their identity. This final scene when the citizens remove their masks is important for emphasising the theme. The citizens show that they are no longer willing to allow themselves to be forced into conforming, that instead they will resist.

The other important symbol used by the director is mirrors; at the beginning of the film we are introduced to the characters of Evey and V as they put on their masks for the evening in their mirrors. V is also seen reflected in Delia’s eyes during the fire at Lark Hill. Mirrors often symbolise an unknown identity or not seeing yourself for who you really are. McTeigue uses both of these symbols to juxtapose the right to individuality and the right- and duty – to resist forced conformism.

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He shows the characters in the film doing the opposite of this to emphasise why the viewers need to fight to preserve their own individuality. When speaking in an interview with Ryan Lambie on March 2nd 2012, McTeigue was asked how he feels about people using the masks for political protests and other such activities, McTeigue replied “I think the mask is a good way for people to feel free to do things they might not normally do” this statement shows McTeigue’s desire for the public to fight for their individuality and resist conforming to the wishes of the government.

The second visual feature used by the director in this film is costume. McTeigue shows a change in costume in the character Evey from the beginning to the end of the film, in order to emphasise Evey’s resistance to forced conformism and her journey to find her own individuality. At the beginning of the film, Evey dresses to blend in with the crowds; she wears light colours, nothing that stands out. However towards the end of the film, V helps Evey to lose her fear and discover who she is.

He shaves her head. After this point in the film Evey begins to wear darker coloured clothing such as blacks and greys, and wears her bald head with pride. She does not cover it with wigs or hats. This is similar to the costume changes shown in the film the Matrix, which James McTeigue helped direct. While in the Matrix the characters wear darker clothes, these colours show a change in attitude and the characters’ desires to resist being controlled and forced into conformity by the Machines.

This change in costume is similar to that of V for Vendetta, which shows Evey’s new-found confidence in her identity, and her willingness to resist conforming to the totalitarian society she lives in. In doing this, the director urges viewers to try to find their own individuality and resist the conformism in their own lives. He uses this film to warn viewers of the dangers of not resisting forced conformism, through the lack of change in costume in the other characters.

In 2011 an article was posted on Enotes which reads “V's legacy for change is embodied in Evey, which is reflective of how individuals have to make a conscious choice to embody dissent and resistance… The end desire for anarchy is nothing more than a realization of individuality and individual choice… individuality and personal notions of identity are the opposing forces to totalitarianism… the need for individuality is seen as the antidote to a realm where political control is contingent on silence and a lack of individuality.

Plainly put the author means that V for Vendetta shows that in order to avoid totalitarianism the public must protect their individuality and resist forced conformity. One of the most important verbal techniques used by James McTeigue is dialogue. The director shows the characters’ lack of individuality and resistance to conformity through verbal speech. During the second act of the film V for Vendetta, Gordon states “When you wear a mask for so long, you begin to forget who you were beneath it”.

This statement not only emphasises the symbolism in the film but also shows Gordon’s lack of resistance to forced conformity. McTeigue chooses this line of dialogue to state the need to prevent putting on the mask to begin with. He wants viewers to believe that their individuality is important and they shouldn’t allow society to remove it from them. When asked by Evey to remove his mask near the end of the film V states “Evey, please . . . there is a face beneath this mask, but it's not me.

I'm no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath them. ” By which he means that his identity is not based on the person beneath his mask, he is who he chooses to be. McTeigue uses this line of dialogue to show viewers that their identity is not decided by how they look, that they can choose their own identity by fighting for their individuality. James McTeigue uses symbolism, costume, and dialogue to emphasise the right to individuality and the right – and duty – to resist forced conformity in the film V for Vendetta.

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Film Techniques Used to Emphasize Themes in V for Vendetta. (2016, Dec 26). Retrieved from

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