V for Vendetta (2005)

By 2028, the world is on the brink of implosion. The United Kingdom is governed by the Fascist Norsefire Party under Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt). Immigrants, homosexuals, atheists and other opponents of the regime are declared undesirable.

The Commentary

Before his name became that of an aircraft carrier, an airport or a metro station, De Gaulle was an eminently heroic figure. His love of France had not prevented him from comparing the French to calves after the signing of the Armistice in 1940. Indeed, many of our fellow citizens had crashed and left their fate in the hands of Philippe Pétain. Nevertheless, some resistance fighters had decided to join the shadow army.

The Pitch

A state television employee joins the resistance.

The Summary

By 2028, the world is on the brink of implosion. The United Kingdom is governed by the Fascist Norsefire Party under Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt). Immigrants, homosexuals, atheists and other opponents of the regime are declared undesirable.

Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), an employee of the British Television Network, is rescued by a masked man named V (Hugo Weaving), an admirer of Guy Fawks.

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November.

Evey stays with V for nearly a year and helps him kill many members of the Plan.

Evey takes advantage of her contact Gordon Dietrich (Stephen Fry), also an opponent of the regime, to convey a satirical message in prime time. Evey is arrested and then tortured. The messages she receives from another prisoner Valerie Page (Natasha Wightman) give her the strength to hold on. At the end of her power, she must denounce V but assures that she prefers to die. It was actually V who captured Evey.

You tortured me! Why?

You said you wanted to live without fear. I wish there had been an easier way but there wasn’t.

To test it and harden it!

While investigating V, Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea) discovers that Sutler was behind the St Mary’s virus, which allowed him to stir up the terrorist threat and take power.

I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want every man, woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos. I want everyone to remember why they need us!

V makes a pact with Creedy (Tim Pigott-Smith) the leader of the militia. He promised his surrender in exchange for Sutler’s elimination. V takes the opportunity to clean up. In the confrontation, he is mortally wounded. He asks Evey to sacrifice him by placing him in a subway full of explosives to destroy Parliament.

Thousands of people wearing Fawks masks silently crowd into the streets to watch the fireworks. From now on, everyone is free to remove their mask.

The Explanation

V for Vendetta, is a dish that can be eaten cold.

If fascism is akin to a virus, V could be the antidote. It shows how Sutler used fear to paralyze crowds, take power and better establish his total domination. Through him, we understand how we can all work together to restore our freedom. V sleeps in all of us.

He was Edmond Dantés… and he was my father. And my mother… my brother… my friend. He was you… and me. He was all of us.

Just as fascism is built behind a man and thrives on the cult of the leader. Freedom also needs a man, Fawks, who knows how to disappear for the benefit of his cause. Just like the one who frees us from fascism prefers to disappear behind a mask, or a yellow vest. He is no longer a man, he becomes an idea. This mask becomes the face of freedom as the yellow vest represents anger. No one else can become A V, everyone can wear their mask and stand behind the idea they stand for. And you don’t come to an idea. Creedy is relentless. He can kill V, not what he stands for.

Die! Die! Why won’t you die?… Why won’t you die?

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

V is not afraid to denounce the weakness of the people. For ease, we prefer to watch TF1 rather than fight. If fascism comes to power, it is our fault.

But again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty you need only look into a mirror.

You can blame politicians for all evils, if you don’t engage in resistance it’s useless. Protest, vote white or even not vote… It does not have much effect. We must go further by denouncing or sabotaging. Blow. Putting his life on the line. Cut your hair.

V represents trust in the people. He believes in the rise of these masses that fascism is trying to dumb down to better control them. Power is in the hands of the people, not their government. He can overthrow any dictator.

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

V has a method, a little extreme, to achieve his ends.

Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.

He wants to show Evey that you don’t get out of extreme situations easily. When you’ve been in the sewers you have to be able to go through a tunnel of excrement to get by like Andy Dufresne. You have to go to the end of yourself and overcome hatred to find your truth. Despite the threats, Evey won’t give up. She is not afraid of death, which she prefers to betray V. She’s free forever.

And even though V was brutally tortured in his youth and he’s tough on Evey as Terence Fletcher is tough on his student, he hasn’t forgotten his joie de vivre. The unfortunate treatment he endured did not destroy his appetite for life and his love for the masked ball of the Creole Company. V has a taste for partying.

A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having!

He is not the sad clown, he is rather the friendly terrorist who knows how to entertain the crowds. The promise of a better, spectacular society, made of fireworks and good times, even if it requires destroying Big Ben. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.