Saturday, 1 April 2006

'V for Vendetta.' 'G' for Good?

I've heard conflicting reports about the film 'V for Vendetta.' Here's the latest, sent to me by a friend:
I urge you to go and see this film. I have just come back from watching its opening night... The hairs on my neck rose when 'V' paraphrased that wonderful quote from Thomas Jefferson about people fearing the government and vice-versa. The soundtrack was written by Tchaikovsky. The central figure is a courageous hero in the mould of John Galt. The film was absolutely riveting and the message revolutionary. Helen Clark would hate it. Need I say more??
Well, maybe. Helen Clark also hates Ian Wishart, but that doesn't make him worthy of praise. But on the other hand, you dont' see many movies running with a tagline from Thomas Jefferson. However, there's plenty of less ecstatic reviews, this one for example, from TechCentralStation (warning, contains spoilers):
It's darkly gorgeous, it's effortlessly slick, and at all times, it's three beers away from comedy gold.
Not entirely positive then. Or this one from BlogCritics:
If V for Vendetta is a call for revolution it is a passive call indeed.
But then there's this one, from Free Market News, with its ten helpful questions for movie-goers - for example, "'V' states that 'ideas are bulletproof.' How would you interpret the meaning of this statement?":
A few freedom lovers have proclaimed it the most important movie they've ever seen. Some critics, on the other hand, are outraged, calling it a "defense of terrorism." A lot of moviegoers are simply baffled. "I don't get it," is heard a lot from people streaming out of theaters...

We recommend that you see it. If you've already seen it, go again; you might find something new and deeper in it. This is also a ~great~ opportunity to help your half-awake friends and relatives see more of freedom's light.
So how 'bout you? Have you seen it? Is it a defence of terrorism? A celebration of liberty? Or juat another multiplex megamovie?

LINKS: Try on the Mask - TechCentralStation V for Vendetta - some questions to consider - Free Market News V for Vendetta - BlogCritics

Films, Libertarianism


  1. I saw it and loved it! Its stylish and also "Brit drab" at the same time but I thought it worked.You have to pay attention as the back story can sneak past you due to the way they tell it.It will piss off the religious Right and also Lefties smart enpough to see the attack on Socialism that it contains as well.Its really going to depend on the individuals taste and mindset when they see it, and I feel you need to see it at least twice to get the most from it as much may be missed first time around.Great emotional ending and yes Libertarians will have hairs standing on the backs of their necks and a lump in the throat.

  2. I'd say it's a tolerable palimpsest of Alan Moore's 'graphic novel' (that's a big, expensive comic book with pretensions), but I think it does, perhaps inevitably, smooth away some of the uncomfortable ambiguities and thorny questions of the source material. It's a cliche that 'one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter' - but Moore wasn't afraid to rub your nose in the simple truth that V. was a monster created by monsters. But you can't make an $80 million action movie quite that openly nihilistic, can you?

  3. I very much liked the way it made the connection between all
    the atrocities and rebellions, both personal and public. We're all in this together.

    I also liked what they said about how the language changed.
    Hat tip to '1984' there.

    But I didn't think Vee and his movie quite had what it took
    to be libertarian. It's more of the ashes and blood prelude
    to prepare the ground for those who inherit the earth. I
    think that was made perfectly clear but by all means go see for

  4. Robert Winefield1 Apr 2006, 15:02:00

    My opinion:

  5. In the comic, V is an anarchist pure and simple - this is explicitly stated. In the movie, I dunno - it's not so much a statment that government is bad, it's that the particular (fascist) government that V is fighting is bad. I'm no expert on libertarianism, but it didn't seem an overly libertarian film.

  6. Craig, my memory is insisting that I read V as a series of comics. Have I got that wrong?

  7. V For Vendetta was originally published in a British weekly comic called Warrior, (not big, not expensive, but pretty pretentious in the best possible way). Then when Warrior folded, DC, who publish Batman and Superman, finished the story in a 10-issue mini-series. THEN it was published in a big, bad book.

    Moore is pissed because they threw out all of V's anarchist side and the rpoducers falsely claimed he approved of the film, but also because the rights were meant to go back to the creators when the comic had been out of print for a year. But the trade paperback market was just taking off and it has not been out of print for the last 20 years. Bit of bad luck, that.

    Still, the movie isn't as good as the book and the book isn't as good as the movie. It's worth a look and might be illuminating to somebody with a terrible education, but the explosions are fuckin' cool.

  8. The explosions were cool - as was the music they were set to.

    It's a pity there wasn't more philosophy in the film. An educated man such as V should have tried to stay alive to offer the populace a political philosophy by which to institute new government.

    Naturalistic pity, that.

  9. Yeah yeah, and MacBeth should have this and Hamlet should have that.

    The guy was hurting. The future was not for him. That's the story.

  10. I enjoyed the film as a call to arms against tyranny. In fact it was inspiring and very much pro-freedom.

    I think pro-freedom while not being explicitly libertarian is about as good as you could get from Hollywood. Also, when you're fighting against a dictatorship, does it matter what happens afterwards? If one of the assassination attempts on Hitler had succeeded, would we care that the assassins had no plans for an orderly takeover of Germany?

    Another good point was the un-politically correct endorsement of violence to defend values. Not a hint of pacifism.


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