"I will not hear talk of freedom. I will not hear talk of individual liberty. They are luxuries. I do not believe in luxuries. The war put paid to luxury. The war put paid to freedom. The only freedom left to my people is the freedom to starve. The freedom to die, the freedom to live in a world of chaos. Should I allow them that freedom? I think not."

Graphic novel, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd. It was originally published as a ten-issue miniseries in "Warrior," a British comic book anthology, in 1981. Due to sporadic publishing and production schedules, it took several years for the story to completed -- in fact "Warrior" was cancelled in 1985, before the end of the tale could be published. In 1988, DC Comics published the previous "Warrior" chapters, in color this time, then published Moore and Lloyd's final chapters, finally completing the series. It has since been compiled into a graphic novel under DC's Vertigo imprint, and it's available in stores for you to buy right now.

"V for Vendetta" is set in a dystopian future in which England is ruled by a fascist dictatorship. There are no known black people, no known homosexuals, no known religious or ethnic minorities. Police powers are absolute. People are propagandized on television and radio by "The Voice of Fate," an influential and soothing broadcaster, and they are watched at almost all times through pervasive video surveillance. Signs throughout the city proclaim "Strength through Purity, Purity through Faith." England prevails, and freedom is dead.

There are two main characters. Evey Hammond is a young girl who runs afoul of a government vice squad. She is rescued by "V", a man wearing a grinning Guy Fawkes mask. V is a virtual superman -- terrifyingly fast and agile, a powerful fighter and merciless killer, endlessly patient, cultured, charming, theatrical, charismatic, impossibly intelligent -- and completely insane.

We learn very little about V over the course of the story. He used to be an inmate at a death camp, he endured terrible experimentation and escaped after these experiments mutated him and twisted his psyche. He wants the people who held him captive dead. He wants the dictatorship destroyed. He doesn't want to replace it with a democracy or a monarchy or a republic. He is a terrorist and an anarchist. He wants the government -- all governments, really -- dead. And he nearly never takes off that mask.

Evey is not at all superhuman and not very insane. She is a normal person who has been ground down by years of living in a world without freedom. Her parents were arrested and presumably killed years ago, she has little money and few resources until she meets V. She likes V and sympathizes with his cause, but she just wants to live a normal life. In time, she is captured by the government and tortured. In time, she becomes a freedom fighter, too.

Is this a perfect comic book? It is not. There are a dizzying number of supporting characters, and you really cannot keep track of which ones are important and which ones are forgettable cannon fodder until the final chapters. There are times when the art seems a bit muddy -- I am tempted to attribute this to the fact that colors were added to Lloyd's black-and-white art. And the story drags a bit toward the middle.

But don't let that put you off. This is a story that blisters the eyeballs. It thrills and excites. It smothers under claustrophobic paranoia, stings with terror, and shouts with the joys of freedom and righteous violence. V is an enigma behind his ever-smiling mask and ever-mysterious pronouncements, but his razor-sharp style and wit make him a very agreeable protagonist -- I hesitate to call him a hero as he can be breathtakingly cruel and capricious. Evey, meanwhile, is the comic's true central character, as everything revolves around her ultimate transformation from oppressed cog into enlightened rebel.

There are so many wonderful moments. There's the shy, bespectacled girl who, finally freed of the government's omnipresent surveillance, celebrates her new freedom by shouting "Bollocks!" There are V's methodical and brilliant murders. There is the heartbreaking letter from the political prisoner, Valerie -- possibly the best single stretch of writing in the entire story. There is so much more, moments it would take too long to explain, moments that would spoil the story for you. I don't want to spoil the story for you, and I don't want to deprive you of the joy you'll know when you find those moments for yourself.

It is a highly political work. It was written when British politicians were toying with the idea of putting AIDS victims in concentration camps, when prominent people were talking about stamping out even the concept of homosexuality, by any means necessary. It was written during a period when police forces were becoming more militarized and surveillance was becoming more common. It was written when many Britons truly feared that they were looking at a pre-fascist government. A decade ago, we could all agree that Moore's Thatcherite paranoia got a bit ahead of itself but still created an exciting fantasy. If you see anything in the description of the government in this story that you see replicated out in the real world around us... I'm sure that's only your imagination. England, as they say, prevails.

You should read it.

"Remember, remember the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and plot.
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot."

The main character, "V" is almost always depicted as wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, except for one scene in which he exchanges the Guy Fawkes for a clown mask of sorts.

An important fact in the plot of "V for Vendetta" is that the reader never gets a clear view of V's true face. In some parts of the book, one can see the outline of his head or ears; however, this is pretty much the most that one ever sees of his face. At one point another character describes him as ugly, but then upon reexamination finds that he is "beautiful" Looking through the book for clues to V's identity brings up little else.

What can be learned about V is that he was originally imprisoned at the Larkhill camp, where he was injected with an experimental hormone mixture which apparently made him gain intelligence and a "magnetic personality", but also drove him insane. Because of his personality, he was able to convince his captors to supply him with fertilizer and paint thinner, which he then used to create napalm, mustard gas etc. After his preparations were complete, V then caused an explosion that destroyed the camp and subsequently disappeared.

Another interesting thing about "V" is that in a couple of instances in the book when he kills someone, it is unclear what he actually kills them with. For example at one point V kills two guards in the dark on a train. There is no sound from the killing and it appears as though he killed them with his fingers by driving them through someone's chest. At another point he kills a man by driving a "blunt object" through a man's chest "with incredible force". I am uncertain, but it appears that V actually killed the man with either the nose or chin of his mask, as his hands were empty at the time.

Also, the Latin saying "ave atque vale" features prominently as it is said by the dying V to his successor.

About the art- there are no written "sounds" in the entire graphic novel- the sound effects are implicit in the drawings themselves and are hence omitted

Release: March 17, 2006
Distributed by: Warner Bros
Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by:Andy and Larry Wachowski

"Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. There is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof."

Famed graphic novel author Alan Moore takes a dim view of film adaptations of his works. There have been several attempts to film his epic Watchmen, all of which failed in the early planning stages. The two projects seen through to completion have resulted in a good but not remarkable horror/mystery flick that's more impressive for being a product of the same minds that were behind Menace II Society than for anything it actually contains, and a spectacular train wreck that did a fine job of squandering the tremendous talent poured into it. For the third try, Hollywood (here personified by Andy and Larry Wachowski of Matrix fame) chose one of Moore's earlier works, a story of terrorism and revolution in a fascist near-future England that bears an increasingly accurate and increasingly depressing resemblance to the modern-day United States. Moore had his name removed from the result, perhaps still smarting from the travesty that LXG turned into, but apparently the third time truly is the charm because not only is V for Vendetta a great comic book movie, it's a great movie, period.

As readers of the comic and the other writeups in this node know, V for Vendetta takes place in the near future- when the comic was written this was the late 90s; the movie gives itself some breathing room by pushing the setting back to 2025 or so. The United Kingdom, recovering from a national disaster (nuclear fallout in the comic, a plague in the movie) has fallen under the influence of a fascist regime, led by a man named Adam Suttler (renamed from Adam Susan, a name which is far more workable printed than spoken), who is portrayed with intensity and maybe a little flying spittle by John Hurt. Phone and video-camera surveillance is omnipresent, undesirable populations of homosexuals, Muslims, and so on have long since been herded into concentration camps or forced underground, and what remains of the BBC broadcasts only whitewashed and harmless news, white supremacy propaganda, and announcements that rations must be regrettably curtailed. We are rapidly introduced to the two protagonists- Evey Hammond, a young woman caught outside after curfew by a vice squad (the book's assertion that she was starting her career as a prostitute has been deleted, and her age has been somewhat increased), and the masked man known only as V, who dispatches the police with ease, dazzles Evey with an alliterative monologue, and treats her to a rooftop view of his destruction of the Old Bailey, the subsequent fireworks show, and the beginning of his one-man crusade against the powers that be.

James McTeigue was an assistant director on the Matrix trilogy, and it shows, particularly in the climactic "knife time" fight of which glimpses can be caught in the film's trailer. He's given a good script to flex the rest of his directorial muscle on, written by the Wachowskis and generally doing a decent job of preserving the feel of the original. With so much material to cover in its two hours and twelve minutes, the plot moves at a good clip relative to the comic. Evey's time apart from V midway through the story is shortened, the power struggles of Suttler's underlings are largely missing, and a major subplot has been added as the impetus behind some important decisions for Finch, the primary investigator following V's case. Some may feel this subplot is misguided but it serves its purpose. That isn't the only change that may offend purists and dedicated fans, either, but on its own merits the movie holds itself together well.

Geek favorite Natalie Portman is believable as a cowed and slightly naive Good Citizen whose self-applied blinders are forced off, sometimes brutally, by government agents and V's scheming, but Hugo Weaving's performance as a man who shows virtually no bare skin, and never his face, throughout the entire movie, is quite a sight to behold. He expresses through hand gestures, the tilt of his head, and his unique voice a complete character with emotions and humanity. That humanity- moments of weakness and indecision, displays of emotion, or moments of being less than absolutely driven- is a significant departure from the comic's V, who was practically a force of nature. This is an unavoidable change, as that sort of character can be pulled off far better in a printed medium than a moving, living one. The more important aspects of V's character, especially those that support the quote beginning this writeup, are all intact- the source material is not simply warped into an excuse for kung fu and Batmanesque skullduggery, but spends the time and effort needed to stay true to its original intent. At times this makes it rather wordy for an action movie; many of the speeches V delivers are greatly cut down from their printed versions, which couldn't possibly have been recited verbatim while keeping the movie a reasonable length or the audience's interest, but there are still uncomfortably long stretches consisting only of reaction shots of characters watching V deliver his message over the airwaves.

That message will be perceived rather differently today than when Moore first wrote it, as it essentially argues that terrorism can succeed and lead to social change for the better. On top of that subversion, the film features a great deal of direct anti-government violence, including the explosive destruction of several London landmarks. The film was supposed to be released on November 5th, a date it frequently references, but was pushed back several months after a series of subway bombings struck real-world London. It may be going too far to say that V for Vendetta is a deliberately political film, but perhaps with American politics being the morass of enforced polarization they are today, the film can't help taking a stronger stand than it intended- it comes off at times as Good Night and Good Luck's toned-down, mainstreamized brother (although one must admit the McCarthy era would have been a lot more interesting if Murrow and Friendly had abandoned televised character assassination and taken to stalking the concrete jungle with Guy Fawkes masks and throwing knives).

V for Vendetta succeeds at what it sets out to do, and then some- while too slow and dramatic to be properly called an action movie, it's good thinking entertainment, true to its source in all the right ways, and just might leave an impression in its audience's minds that lasts beyond the walk out of the theater, which is more than can be said for a lot of films these days. It easily stands with the best comic adaptations, and might just be the first great movie of 2006.

"What was done to me was monstrous. "
"Then they created a monster. "

I'm not going to spoil the movie for anyone. This is an experience, and I believe it should be seen to be felt, and therefore understood.

I haven't read the graphic novel, and probably won't. The movie stands alone, in my opinion, and considering what I've read about the differences between the graphic novel and the movie, I really have no desire to read the novel. The portrayal of V in the novel and the portrayal of him in the movie are apparantly two different portrayals. Never, in the movie, did I get the impression that V was "insane;" driven, perhaps...vengeful--with good reason--definitely, but he seemed completely sane to me. I also didn't get the impression, in the movie, that his intention was to destroy all forms of government. Rather, it was implied in the movie that he was attempting to incite the people to wake up, take control, and overthrow one form of government so that it could be replaced with a better system.

All in all, if what I have read concerning the graphic novel is accurate, I much prefer the movie and will not bother reading the book. The movie is apparantly a more up-to-date viewpoint, with a more hopeful outcome--the implication being that if we become too complacent, too compliant, we may wake up one day to realize that we are no longer as free as we thought we were...and yet, when we DO wake up and realize this, if we think about it, if we're willing, we CAN do something about it.

Let's just put it this way: if things continue on as they are, if we continue to keep our mouths shut, allowing the government to baby-step us out of our rights...

I can see this happening to us. Within our lifetimes.

I think that this movie will stay with Thinking People(tm) long after they leave the theatre. This isn't just a movie in the sense of entertainment. This is more of a wake-up call disguised as entertainment.

If you're looking for a mere action flick, something "entertaining" this movie isn't for you. This is 1984 with a hero who becomes a unifying force, who makes people think, and gives them something to believe in, ultimately changing their world.

Natalie Portman was excellent as Evey. She gave an inspiring and poignant performance, making one forget that one was actually in a movie theatre. The same can be said for Hugo Weaving (V); I was highly impressed with the fact that, though he is behind a mask the entire movie, his gestures, his voice, his bearing as V, conveys facial expression. You forget that it is indeed a mask that he is wearing.

Weaving makes V a very likeable character. One can understand, identify, and agree with his motivations, if not his methods. He's kind of like Batman, Zorro, and the Phantom of the Opera all rolled up into one fantastically heroic figure.

And in the movie (I can't speak for the novel, as I haven't read it), V IS a hero. Whether that was Moore's original intention, or the doing of the directors and Weaving, I can't say. The movie, however, tends to make one rethink one's definition of "terrorist."

This movie inspires discussion, thought, and realization. You have to ask yourself if "terrorism" includes acts which work to loosen the hold of a corrupt government which bases it's powers on fear, and uses that fear to oppress and restrict the rights of it's citizens; when do we say the government has gone too far? When, and how, do we begin to fight back in order to save ourselves? These are the questions that V asks, I think.

It seems to me that, of the negative reviews I've read, most seem to have a problem with the fact that the movie attempts to convey a moral and political warning, rather than strictly being shoot-em-up action flick...which is not entirely true. It's an "action" flick, for those not inclined to see beneath the surface or engage in deep thought about things that are important in the real world; but for those who are uncomfortable with the parallels between our world and the world of V, the "talking" part of the movie, the part that attempts to make people really THINK, is profound, and something that will stay with you long after the movie is over.

V for Vendetta is more than a movie. It has the potential to inspire a more critical state of mind--that is, it does if you go to see more than an "action flick."

Parallels between V for Vendetta and the present day

The movie "V for Vendetta" (2006) is laced with thinly veiled corellations between the fictional world of the film and and the real world we all know and love. Although the literary work was published back when today's leaders were still young bucks, the script was written by the Wachowski brothers to bring the subject material up to date. The resulting innuendo is therefore fully intentional. In this writeup I will outline the significant content that I was able to pick out. If I have missed any, or made an error, please feel free to message me with that information.


References to any subversive as a terrorist. The definition of a terrorist is someone who uses violence against random people to exert political influence. In the movie and around the world, the term is frequently - albeit intentionally - misapplied to anyone who fights to oppose government aims. Because it carries implicitly negative connotations, the stamp of terrorist (an actual stamp at one point in the movie) tends to delegitimate a particular cause.

Chancellor Sutler and Donald Rumsfeld. The Chancellor in the movie has risen from the position of Defense Secretary to essentially military dictator. At one point a character observes that "all he knows how to do" is military action. I believe this is a suggestion that, even in an advanced society like Britain or the United States, a military official might rise from the ranks to seize control in a time of instability. Not necessarily feasible, but it has happened before.

Chancellor Sutler and Adolf Hitler. Although not recent, this parallel bears mentioning. The quintessential moral charismatic leader, Sutler's similarities to Hitler (even the name) are some of the most bare-faced in the entire movie. There is more than one scene of him delivering an impassioned speech while the army parades below the podium. Just like Hitler, he catapulted to the top as the leader of a popular fascist, nationalistic political party. The greatest significance I find in this connection is what history teaches us about the present and future. The potential for a key figure to seize control at the right (wrong?) time, and thereby wield considerable authority and power, is still very real.

The Reclamation, the Holocaust, and US policy. In the "Reclamation" which predates the timeline of the movie, a large number of undesirables were gathered up by a secret police force and removed from society. Non-christians, homosexuals, minorities and political dissidents are included as immoral or unpatriotic. Similar cleansing took place during the Holocaust, and some fear that another episode is not too far away. With the recent focus on "family values," exclusion of "others," and the "War on Terror," it is not entirely unthinkable. Certain elements in society and government are openly hostile toward gays and lesbians, "foreigners" (especially those of Hispanic, Arab, or Asian descent), and Liberals. US policy now permits racial profiling, massive intrusions on privacy in the name of "national security," and indefinite detention.

The media and the Culture of Fear. The British government in the movie attempts to maintain control through manipulation of the media. There are two primary goals there, to gloss over things unfavorable to the government and to instill fear in the population and thereby keep it pliable. A common accusation cast at the White House is that it keeps close contact with media outlets to help steer public opinion. Also claimed is that the government and the media together promote a "culture of fear" by constantly keeping disease and violence at the forefront. In the movie, a news broadcast waves around the danger of impending doom from various sources, including a brief reference to avian flu. Although the media in America is far more free than the government-owned outlets featured in the movie, there is enough of a similarity to give one pause.

Talk show pundits. People in the movie have their very own angry conservative talk show host, scarily similar in its satire to a few we have here in real life. The TV character speaks vehemently to the camera from the perspective of the religious right, practically channeling Bill O'Reilly. He also intones "ladies and gentlemen" and pops pills just like everyone's favorite, Rush Limbaugh. Also like the aformentioned party mouthpieces, some people in the film seem to get tired of his blowhard ranting. It's somewhat disturbing that the writers take great pleasure in setting him up on a self-worshiping throne before doing way with him in a particularly humiliating way.

Electronic surveillance. One part of the movie features a roving vehicle, scanning conversations en masse for certain keywords. Although seemingly exaggerated, this is remarkably similar to what is conjectured by experts to be common US surveillance practices. The suspected programs are too secret to be properly understood, but the technology has been developed to monitor voice and data traffic using computers to do the analysis. Domestic intelligence is key to the US government and others.

Torture and tribunals. In the world of V, torture and special tribunals have become a routine part of life. This is a timely warning, as over the last few years the US government has been fiercely arguing that it is perfectly within its legal rights to carry these things out. Waterboarding, shown in the movie, is one of the techniques that they believe should be permissible. Some people may believe this is an acceptable cost to defeat the terrorists. What about when American citizens are being submitted to the same treatment, as has already happened? This is one of the dangers of permitting government power to go too far.

Extraordinary rendition. Creedy's secret police in the movie, a frightening amalgamation of FBI/CIA/NSA/KGB/Gestapo, are empowered to "disappear" anyone at will. They seem to make their own rules, handling prisoners brutally and whisking them away to locations unknown. While the "rendition" of citizens is not yet being seen in the US as a widespread practice, the government has placed that power within their reach by arguing that it is in everyone's best interest for some people to be imprisoned incognito in overseas detention centers.

Peaceful revolution. The theme of bloodless revolution resonates with the events in former Soviet republics in 2005 and 2006. It has been shown that governments can be forced to change through popular demonstrations when leaders stray from the interests of the people. Few could imagine that such an event could happen in the United States, but I hope that when it becomes necessary that it will.


Seeing the obvious connections, it is clear that much of V for Vendetta's message comes directly from the political convictions of the movie makers. One shouldn't assume that my interpretations of those connections mean that I unreservedly endorse them. I do tend to sympathise with the position, but I think that it is important to keep in mind that this is a movie, and naturally exaggerates and emphasizes things beyond their actual significance. I have great faith in our system and believe that the situation depicted in the film will never come to materialize in our world. For the most part, its usefulness ends at being entertaining and providing a feeling of self-gratification. If you haven't seen the movie, please do...I've tried not to spoil it too badly.

I don't mean to flame or to rain on anybody's parade here, but I do feel that I need to highlight this particular monarch's especially transparent couture.

My girlfriend and I agreed that this is one of the worst films that we've seen recently -- at least since the equally soulless and technically adroit Sin City. She's a future PhD candidate in film: her take is that the Wachowski Brothers have been searching unsuccessfully for a story of great philosophical depth to compliment their obvious technical skill since The Matrix. Friends of ours have told us, predictably, to "lighten up!" and that "it's just a movie!", but, like The Matrix -- a much better film on most levels -- there doesn't seem to be very much winking or nodding in this film and the actual message that it does deliver is somewhat troubling, to say the least.

I'm a future public policy wonk and thus spent most of the film troubled by one difficult fact: the real problem with fascism isn't the campy fashion, the steely aesthetic or the bad facial hair. It's not even necessarily the arbitrariness of the myriad rules that it coldly enforces. No, these are all byproducts of a deeper problem -- a governing philosophy rooted in a propaganda-fueled nihilism.

Now, V for Vendetta would, on the surface, seem to be a very anti-fascist movie. I mean, the main character fights against British Hitler clones, right? But stop for a second. The fascist ethos that it wants so badly to renounce is for all intent and purposes almost exactly identical to the political beliefs promoted by the protagonist of this film. Ask yourself: what good does it do to resolve events the way that he does? What positive values does he actually stand for? Why Guy Fawkes? The answer to all of these questions is more unsettling than you might think.

I say all of this as a huge fan of the obviously brilliant Alan Moore1 and although I freely admit that I haven't read V for Vendetta in graphic novel form, I understand that there, at least, Moore had the good sense to present the character of V as something other than an uncomplicated, generally untroubled romantic lead. Part of what makes Moore so engaging as a writer is that he's not out to deliver simple messages; by contrast, the Wachowski Brothers want their movies both to say something profound-yet-straightforward and, more importantly, to kick ass while they do it.

In short, it seems the Brothers W. sought out to read V for Vendetta as a simple Orwellian mirror held to the present day. Now I don't like Bush either and I certainly won't begrudge them many the parallels that they find with America in 2006. But it is possible to get so caught up with the detail-work of the trees and your desire to say anything of depth that you manage to miss the big, facist forest that underpins your entire two hour narrative. But hey, at least there are lots of explosions.
1. especially Watchmen, which is obviously a masterpiece. Among other things, what Moore does with the letter 'V' in that book is truly unbelievable.
EDIT: A lot of people are asking me for further clarification on this node. I'm happy to provide that, especially on the connection between fascism and nihilism, but in the meantime, I feel that this review (aside from its apparent dislike of Moore) makes the near-perfect case against:

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/cinema/?060320crci_cinema.

Key quote: "there’s no getting around the fact that this allegedly antifascist work lusts after fire and death."

EDIT (2): On second review, most of what irexe says in the fascism node applies to many of the questions about this entry:
Fascism, the word itself derived from the Italian anti-communist combat groups used by Benito Mussolini to oppress the Italian people, literally implies only the practice of violently forcing one's opinion onto others, and the belief that such a practice is justified. The association and confusion with totalitarianism is a common one, but in essence they are not the same at all. Fascism is not a form of government, it is a philosophy that has been adopted by some totalitarian governments. Fascism can be a philosophy adopted by one single individual as well (emphasis mine).
It takes a certain kind of moral nihilism and rejection of anothers' rights to force your will onto them just because you can. That's what the British government does in V for Vendetta. It's also what its protagonist does, with popular support or no.

WARNING: THAR BE SPOILERS!

One thing I find strangely missing from all these posts describing "'V' for Vendetta" the book or the movie is the intimate connection between them and two books: Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" and Bester's "The Stars My Destination."

The movie, and I assume the book, allude in at least two scenes to the classic story of betrayal and revenge. V is a man scuplted by injustice, that injustice is what drives him to exact revenge upon the ones responsible. His name is a constant reminder of his anger, his purpose the only thing for which he strives. V is part of a triumvirate of revenge seekers along with Gulliver Foyle and Edmond Dantes, each is nuanced and a separate character with a common motivation. V is more similar in character to Foyle, both have no past and are willing to commit any evil destroy those who wronged them. But all three end their quests in different ways, suggesting that all three have starkly differing characters behind their quest for revenge. V dies at the end of his quest, having killed those who made him what he was, he destroys Parliament along with himself. Foyle attains a sort of godhood, rejecting his humanity to be reborn once more in the cabinet that had acted as his prison. Dantes regains his humanity after having punished those who destroyed it.

Moore's work is a brother to the works of Bester and Dumas, easily standing shoulder to shoulder with them. They all investigate a basic dark core within the idea of human justice. It is the voice within all codes of law that says "I'm gonna make those bastards PAY!"

Film: V for Vendetta
Year: 2005
Rating: 5/5
Summary: An engaging and important film. Highly recommended.

I avoided watching V for Vendetta for a long time because it was based on a comic book. Most films based on comics offer little depth for the audience to think about, due to the censorship of the American Comics Code Authority. This code dictates strict rules of censorship, such as prohibiting the creation of criminals that the audience could sympathise with and forbidding the promotion of distrust of the law.

V for Vendetta, on the other hand, was a British graphic novel, and as such wasn't subject to this censorship. This is certainly evident in the story, from its violence to its subversive nature and its intent to make the audience think.

Although I still have not read the original graphic novel, I certainly found the adaptation interesting. The modern style and use of Hollywood violence combined with a plot depicting the overthrowing of a dystopian, Orwellian society make this film very similar to Equilibrium. In my opinion, V for Vendetta is better thought out and has more depth to it, but both are certainly worth watching.

This film tells a rather straightforward revenge story of a monster attacking the people who disfigured him in the first place. It is kept interesting by an element of mystery: fragments of the protagonist's past are only revealed as a detective discovers them, following the clues of his murders to work out his motivation.

V for Vendetta has its bad points: the main female character is nearly raped twice, whereas the main male character is strong and comes to her rescue, implying that women are weaker than men. Almost as outmoded is the idea that British people watch Benny Hill, which is clearly referenced by a fictional television show in the film. A lot of slang terms also seem to have been crowbared in to make the film feel more British.

There is also the typical storyteller's idea that the people will wait for a leader to rise up for them rather than take action into their own hands together, but while this isn't an encouraging message to send out, it does indeed make for a great piece of fiction.

These minor setbacks are more than made up for by the good points of the film, which are almost everything else about it, from its style - several single frames are so artistic that I can only assume they were taken straight out of the original graphic novel - to its important call to arms against the slippery slope to a fascist state. The graphic novel's story was updated to reference current events, and the film's message is so relevant today that I'm surprised it wasn't banned.

The protagonist's philosophical stance is that that the ends justify the rather violent means, which at first seems blatantly hypocritical as it is the very same stance that the party members themselves subscribe to. However, I do not believe this to be a flaw in the film so much as the start of a philosophical argument beyond the scope of a story.

The same is true in real life, for instance, in the case of medical corporations versus animal rights extremists, both of whom use their ideologies to justify their violent means. In both cases, the freedom fighters or terrorists would argue that they only use violence against those already using it in turn. At any rate, V for Vendetta isn't simplistic enough to tell the audience what to think or who is right or wrong. Its creators merely try to provoke thought and debate, which is a good goal for any story teller.

The story is interesting, the politics are important, and this film is inspirational. I would highly recommend V for Vendetta to anyone interested in dystopian societies or conspiracies. Although it is violent in places, its warning is one worth being reminded of.

A slight correction is in order - many people have since told me that most American comics now happily ignore the Comics Code Authority, and have been for several decades. They have also pointed out that Hollywood adaptions of comics are generally weaker than the original stories regardless of their country of origin. It looks like the CCA isn't to blame as much as the movie industry.

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