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Saturday, March 18, 2006

V For Vendetta

The graphic novel is better. It's much thicker in terms of ideology and is more difficult to swallow, which is one of the reasons its stronger than the film. The film is a watered down version of the novel that will appeal to anyone who is currently unsatisfied with world, and particularly American politics. Many plot points are in line with those of the novel, but, because of the film watering down and streamlining the content, they are charged differently, in that they mean somewhat different things in the film than they did in the novel. The film's greatest adaptation atrocity lies in the love story it concocts between Evie, Natalie Portman's character, and V. In the novel, V wasn't human, he was the sophisticated and psychotic embodiment of humanistic anarchy. In the film, he's a tragic, humanistic visionary, whose passion is reignited with love for Evie. It severely weakens the film in a polemic sense, while, I guess, strengthens it in a melodramatic sense, for the average filmgoer. Fluff, if you ask me. The ending, though it serves its purpose, feels very unlikely.

As a film it's decent action movie, but staggers beneath the weight of the massive exposition required by its subject matter. I could talk about how its visually fun to watch and the acting, but it really wouldn't serve a purpose, other than to tell you it was well done and served the story very well. V's lair is particularly well-designed.

So, what's the moral of the story? That totalitarianism is bad because it oppresses people from being who they really are. The film particularly champions the oppressed homosexuals in the story, and tells you that their ideological leanings lie not necessarily with human freedom, but within their own set of morals. The film isn't championing pure human freedom, it's championing its own version of freedom, but covertly so. Its subversive because it sneaks the jabs at current conservative ideology, particularly slams against government spying, corporate/government financial deals, and the Christian church.

I'm not advocating totalitarianism. I'm not advocating religious hypocrisy or self-serving government conspiracy. I'm also not advocating what the film touts as true freedom for the masses. What I am advocating is a true representation of what freedom is, and that's not what the film sells you. I'm looking forward to a story that really advocates being open-minded, where the church isn't demonized as simply pedophiles, but taken for what is at its heart, where people who think homosexuality is wrong treat gay people with respect while disagreeing with them.

In all it's freedomistic optimism, the film also fails in dealing with the aftermath of the revolution its story advocates. What rules do you put on society? It doesn't even attempt to mention the need for such a thing, and this disappoints me. In an age where teenagers walk around malls in Che Guevara shirts, its important to teach responsibility with power and independence. Romance may lie in revolution, but the real work exists in maintaining order.

Overall, it's an entertaining, thinking man's action movie with a flawed ideology. V is an incredibly compelling character, and if you're so intrigued by the film, I highly recommend the graphic novel.

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