V for Vogue

Saturday, September 6, 2008

V. A masked character brilliantly played by Hugo Weaving in the movie V for Vendetta. I’ve watched this movie several times before and yet it never failed to steal my attention and stick me to the couch until the very end every time it is aired on television.

Apart from Natalie Portman’s committed role as V’s unlikely accomplice, Evey Hammond (she was required to have her head shaved on camera for a pivotal sequence in which Evey is imprisoned and tortured to reveal V’s identity), Hugo did a remarkable job in bringing the mask to life – a task which requires the actor to have a lot of experience and (specifically stated by the director, James McTeigue) a theatrical background. Though aided by lighting and cinematography, the actor needed to convey a great deal of emotion solely through his voice and body language, as no part of his eyes, mouth or face are visible behind V’s façade.

The movie itself contains a message which I think is relevant to the real world. A world of political chaos, greed for power and the silent urge of the people to rebel. It is no different than the world we are living in. Full of lies and betrayal, false promises and government-toppling schemes.

An excerpt from a speech in the movie (Ayn Rand influenced) from the character “V”:

“Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives.”

My favorite scene in the movie is the stunning sequence in which V touches off thousands of dominoes meticulously arranged in an intricate “V” pattern on the Shadow Gallery floor.

No doubt, V for Vendetta is a vividly vivacious and voluptuous volley of a very violently fun time.