Monday, March 20, 2006

V for Terrorism? Not really!

The debate over V for Vendetta

After watching V for Vendetta over the weekend, I was quite surprised to realize that the majority of reviews I'd read about the movie which criticized it for glorifying terrorism were quite misleading. Let me explain:

Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from The Matrix) stars as the enigmatic character known only as V in this film adaptation of a 1980s comic book series that was written to protest the excesses of the Thatcher administration in Britain. It is set in a futuristic Britain where a totalitarian government is in power led by the ruthless (and seriously scary) Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt) who seems to be a composite of Hitler, Stalin, Dubya and Big Brother. Into this society, where freedom of speech is curtailed and secretive police wield unimaginable power, steps V who kick-starts his revolution by blowing up the Old Bailey one night. He then gives an ultimatum to the government and the people that in exactly one year's time he will be blowing up the British Parliament house.

The key words here are "night" and "ultimatum". Though V's acts can be classified as terrorism, the fact is no innocent person is killed as a result of his actions. By blowing up the Bailey at night and pre-warning the public about his intentions for the Parliament, he obviously ensures that no one will be inside those buildings when they explode. It is, hence, disingenuous to call him a terrorist because in the present world order a terrorist is one who deliberately kills innocent people. V is not one of them and the movie does not glorify terrorism!

Funnily enough, a few hours after I caught V in the theater, I happened to watch Gandhi, Richard Attenborough's 1982 masterpiece, on DVD! Two movies that are so different from each other yet share the common theme of attaining freedom from a suppressive British government. And among the two, V's approach seems to have yielded better results as he manages to unite the people in a (seemingly) successful revolution in the short period of one year. Gandhi? Well, it took a while, didn't it? :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"V for Vendetta" was entertaining, but it glaringly lacked the elements of a "good" movie. As I had discussed with one of my friends, it is an English version of an Amitabh/Rajni's movie where the hero is cloyingly glorified. And it does send out an incendiary message and as my friend puts it, its comtemporary insinuations were blasphemous, to say the least.

But again, you would probably not feel that the 2.3 hours were wasted, but would come out feeling nothing great about the movie, but still would have managed to kill (murder?) the 2.3 hours (did you notice the movie wee bit too long?).


9:07 PM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

Well, I thought the movie was good fun, not great and I didn't think V was "cloyingly glorified" except maybe in the very last scene. Until then, he has a reasonably tough job trying to win over Evey who is initially reluctant to help.

There is also the fact that this is a comic book-based world. So everything is exaggerated, including the level of repression that the people undergo and it is made to appear that V is the only one opposing the govt. Plus, he is a kind of superhero so it is not entirely surprising that things are heavily stacked in his favor

2:47 PM  

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