Politics in Modern Film (V for Vendetta)
The film I focused on for this essay, V for Vendetta, was filmed and produced in 2006 by Warner Brothers. The plot of the film circulates around a mysterious and charismatic masked freedom fighter being hunted down by the totalitarian British government in the near future. Although his full identity is kept a mystery throughout the film, audiences learn he was a victim of a cruel scientific experiment involving “unwanted” British citizens and hormonal drugs.
He spends decades planning out his revenge on those involved. While making preparations for both his revenge and a nation-wide revolution, the character known only as V has a run-in with a young woman working for the broadcasting station he later taking hostage. The day he takes the station hostage, the woman named Evey recognizes him as the same man who rescued her one night from crooked British patrolmen prowling the streets. Evey comes to his aid as V is almost caught and she is knocked unconscious in the process.The rest of the film leads audiences into the ever-thickening plot as a detective investigates and attempts to track down the “terrorist” only to discover an even more sinister power behind the deaths of thousands of British citizens: their own government. Putting this film into a category based on its intended audience was a challenge. The film expresses values both of the mass and subgroup categories. The values shown are ones that indirectly praise American government for its constitutional rights of religion, press and speech, but it also promotes ideas of anarchy.Although both views have their strong arguing points in the film, I believe this film expressed more mass values. This is because the criteria for subgroup values demands that the public must be largely portrayed as being stupid and counter-active to the goal at hand. However, in this film, V must rely solely on the public‘s participation in order to carry through his vision of freedom. In a televised speech to the populace, V makes claims that have resounding similarities to our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Fairness, justice and freedom are more than words. They are prospectives. ” He says. This is, in my mind, one of the most profound quotes in the film, behind his other statement that ”people should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people. ” The timing of the film and its statements on war point directly to America’s involvement in the war on terror and to President George Bush. The movie was filmed in 2005, only two years after the official war in Iraq was launched.The High Chancellor in the film, Adam Suttler, is described as being an ultra-conservative man with no understanding of political process. This parallel seems to encourage a commonly debated political theme pointed out in the White House by Americans opposed to the invasion and the war overseas. The film even makes a blatant statement about America being in an on-going war that deprived it of its wealth and resources. A line reads: “They were a country who had everything, absolutely everything; and now, 20 years later is what?The world’s biggest leaper colony. ” There are still many Americans today who have strong aversion to the presence of American military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The Voice of England”, the a man revered as the biggest spokesperson in the English broadcasting sector, delivers a line in the film as he goes down the list of people unwanted and banished from the country’s boarders. This list, in addition to teens with sexually transmitted diseases and homosexuals, names Muslims specifically.In 2005, there was still unease in America about Muslim-Americans and risks they might pose to national security, much like the unrest about American-Japanese citizens that marked the time after the onset of World War II. Detective Finch, the detective working the V case to track him down before the revolutionary date, has a discussion with his partner after unearthing facts about the government. “If your government was responsible for the deaths of almost a hundred thousand people, would you really want to know? This observation has striking similarity to theories voiced by a small portion of society who claim the attacks on the World Trade Center were carried out by our own government. The number 5 is a common theme in the film: the number of V’s cell in the concentration camp, the fifth of November being the date of the revolution, and the number of branches to the British government [they call the branches the nose, eyes, finger, ear and mouth]. This is also the number of branches of our military: The Army, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air force and Homeland Security Coast Guard.Whether or not this parallel is intentional, it is one I noticed. A blacklist is also mentioned in the film after Chancellor Suttler demands the 1812 Overture, which played during the Old Bailey Statue’s explosion, be added to the back list so he may “never hear it again. ” This is the only Cold War reference in the film which tells me is was intended to be a more general statement about government censorship and control of information made available to the public.One political, or even social, statement made in the film that I agree with is Finch’s statement about how this ”terrorist” still has human emotions, shown by his taking and protection of Evey after she rescues him. I believe one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and people will always be at odds with each other. It is important to remember that even the most violent people do have passions and concerns. When one fights that hard for something, it obviously means a great deal to them. People are quick to forget about the humanity element in wars.During the investigation, Finch and his partner watch V on a video monitor as he stands over Evey’s unconscious body. Finch’s partner says, “He’s a terrorist. You can’t expect him to act like you or me. ” Finch, who sees that V took the girl to protect her out of compassion, responds with “some part of him is human”. Another statement made that I agreed with was one that also amused me. Detective Finch is searching for records of the concentration camp that supposedly imprisoned V years ago, but has little luck finding any.He says, “One thing is true of all governments; the most reliable records are tax records. ” Isn’t that true? This movie used many effective avenues of media to reach its audience. It included and alluded to several other pieces of literature and music within the film itself, which was a very clever device used to influence audience members to explore those hints individually. Literature seen in the film like “The Count of Mote Cristo” and the theatrical play “Faust” may also hold clues to political statements made even more subliminally in the film if evaluated within the context.