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V for Revenge knew that our future will be bleak

The Verge is a place where you can consider the future. So are the movies. In yesterday’s future, we review the film about the future and consider the things it tells us about today, tomorrow and yesterday.

The film: V for Revenge (2006) directed by James McTeigue

The future: Fi V for Revenge, a lot went wrong very quickly, and there doesn’t seem to be much to do about it. The film is set in 2020 and London is now under the authoritarian rule of the fascist High Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt), the leader of the extremely Nazi-seeking Norsefire party.

The parallels for 2020 of the real world are alarming: the “St. The “Mary’s virus” unleashed a pandemic on the world, reminds us of the United States (which really doesn’t fit into the London-centered plot of the film) and sent it on our way to economic destruction and civil war. The Norsefire party, which has gone on a wave of neoconservative support, locks up gay citizens, anyone who practices a religion other than the state-sanctioned church, and is supported by state-run media. Surveillance is almost random, with government vans regularly sweeping the streets to listen to citizens.

This is the world in which we meet Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), a free employee of the British Television Network. One night, she is threatened with sexual assault by the secret police and is subsequently rescued by V (Hugo Weaving), a superhuman terrorist in the guise of Guy Fawkes. Like Guy Fawkes, V has a plan to set up Parliament and kill several members of the government responsible for taking Norsefire and, it is revealed, his own creation. The film ends before we find out if he wants success, but not before the citizens of London are inspired to also don his mask and take to the streets.

The past: V for Revenge, although it does not mean work as the Alan Moore and David Lloyd comics on which it is based, is a film that is not apologetically about a terrorist. In March 2006, this felt radical for a blockbuster film written by the Wachowskis as their first major project after the Matrix trilogy. Reviewers were fascinated by this.

“The most beautiful aspect of the film is the way in which terror turns into a crucial hero while remaining politically correct,” Guardian film critic Philip French wrote in his review. “What fails is to create a credible future or avoid pomposity.”

“With all rights, this should be the worst time imaginable to get rid of V For Revenge, a film with – there’s really no polite word for it – a prone terrorist hero who says things like “Violence can be used for good,” and “Sometimes blowing into a building can change the world.” “start Keith Phipps” review for The AV Club. “So why not V For Revenge play as such a crowd pleaser?

Only five years have been removed since 9/11 and so many years in the U.S. War on Terror, a blockbuster film that values ​​a radical felt terrorist in a way that was almost immediately arrested. The film softens this very obvious edge with sharp allusions 1984, which makes George Orwell feel as much a tribute to Lloyd and Moore.

Alan Moore, the comic book writer on whom the film is based, refused to have his name appear in the film or on any material that promotes it. (Moore made it abundantly clear that he objected to it any adapting his work out of principle, regardless of quality.) Purists object to the film reducing the very specific response of the source material to Thatcherite England to the American metaphor of the Bush era (in a story where America is specifically set aside) or by the way the film has turned into a V more of a hero who thinks than a wool extremist. But time had a way of rendering all these points effectively moot. The film meets a lot differently now.

The present: In retrospect, both the strengths and weaknesses of V for Revenge it is in the absence of its specificity. Its Orwellian aesthetic gives it a kind of relentless veneer, and its arguments about fascism and the sudden death of freedom are the old ones that become painfully relevant whenever there is a new attempt to undermine democracy. by those in power.

The film’s most enduring symbol is a mask, one that was adopted as a sign of real-world protest by the hacktivist group Anonymous in early 2010 when Occupy Wall Street was the most well-known activist movement in the world. United States. Unfortunately, a Guy Fawkes planting mask intended to indicate a shiny anonymous solidarity over something vital about institutional oppression: it doesn’t apply in the same way.

In 2020, the attacks on democracy are misleading and unnecessary, and we know very well that subtlety is not a state of achieving authoritarianism. In fact, as critic Scott Meslow wrote in 2018 V for Revenge He has more bite than he did with the release, now you can tell he doesn’t go far enough.

“Imagine a universe in which the death of one shot of an innocent little girl could inspire an entire society to rise up against a military police force,” Meslow writes. “Imagine the resistance to an anti-democratic political movement that rises, in part, from strong but principled members of that political movement. Modern adaptation can dismiss all those points as too optimistic.”

V for Revenge Not particularly concerned with the details – the foam concessions to the fascists are told in a bleak cascade, and the resistance is sparked by one dramatic act. The universe of the film is small; the only perspective outside of Evey is that of Finch (Stephen Rea), a Scotland Yard inspector who is on V road and discovers that the government has engineered the crisis that led to its strength. Through Finch, we work it all together, and with the best touch of the film, it is described in a dramatic montage: corruption, domination, and revolution coexisting as the events depicting the film are interconnected with scenes. taking place over a final 30 minute film.

This affects a lot, but shines on both works is to defend democracy – how many people you need to stand next to you to protest actually prefer the rule of fascism as long as the fascists align with them, how institutions are not built for democracy but for normality, and how the people who run them always choose the latter over the former.

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