Spoiler Warning: Some events in the film are given away here.
On its opening night, I viewed the blockbuster film “V for Vendetta” starring Hugo Weaving (insomuch as you can have a star whose face is never seen) and Natalie Portman.
It’s plot was good. It’s acting was pretty good. It’s message was . . .
That depends. Those who criticized the film cried out that it could lead to another McVeigh by promoting terrorism. And surely seeing Big Ben blow up while Tchaikovsky is blasting might seem like a promotion of terrorism. Many of these critics seemed to believe that the movie overplayed the foul deeds of the facist British government in order to create sentiment for Weaving and his cause.
I personally liked the movie, for its developed plot and solid acting. And, in a not so small detail, I disagreed with the critics who saw the film as portraying Weaving’s character, V, as a good guy. There are no good guys in this film. You could argue that V is more evil than High Chancellor Sutler, the facist dictator of Britain. V has no problem whatsoever in the murder of people, a characteristic we assume (but are never directly shown) he shares with the British government. There’s a kicker. The part of the movie that leads me to my conclusion about the nature of V. Evil.
Natalie Portman plays V’s ally, Evey. As a fugitive, she hangs out in her Uncle Gordon’s home. The government comes to kill Gordon, who had mocked Sutler on his TV show. Evey is captured. She is tortured. They ask her for information about V. She won’t give it. She is tortured some more. Finally, they give her one last chance to give information and get off free. She doesn’t.
And she gets off anyway.
It wasn’t the government who captured her. It wasn’t the government who tortured her.
It was V.
V is a bad guy.
V decides it’s up to him to kill the top government officials before he blows up Parliament with a train filled with explosives. In a gruesomely violent scene, he kills the guys, but in the process, is fatally wounded himself. He allows Evey to make the decision whether or not to blow up Parliament. She does.
Evey is a bad guy. (Or naive, as she buys rather easily into the opinion of a person who tortured her.)
Chief Investigator Finch (portrayed very well by Irishman Stephen Rea) allows Evey to blow up Parliament instead of arresting her.
His nature is more ambiguous, as he never completely trusts another major character in the story.
The government is filled with bad guys.
Damn it, everybody’s a bad guy.
And maybe that’s the message.