Sunday, September 03, 2006

Yeah, what she said ...

We watched V for Vendetta last night and while I found it to be a little uber-melodramatic at times, for the most part it was intriguing. I think Eva nailed it with her critique, which I offer to you now:
After the first half hour I dismissed V for Vendetta as 1984 for theatre geeks, but after watching it in its entirety, I have come to the conclusion that is beyond that. It is most definitely a homage to 1984, and the theatre comes into play mainly because the movie is based on a comic book, and relied on the flamboyancy of both the media of theatre and comics.

Almost instantaneously, we encounter the same motifs; a repressive government, anonymity of this government’s threats, interpersonal relationships forged through a shared disdain for the current system and tested by different ideals of its correction. We even encounter some of the same visuals, large central networks on huge television screens in every home and every town-square, all broadcasting propaganda.

The main difference between this movie and 1984 was not the medium in which it was distributed, nor the different media used to spread revolution (which in 1984 was much quieter.) The main difference is the era in which it was written.

Orwell was a socialist who became disillusioned with the movement from what he saw being done under its name in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The writers of the original graphic novel V for Vendetta were Brits, disillusioned not only with their government but that of the United States, which it closely mirrored. At least in name, these governments professing socialism were left wing, and this is one of the key differences between the two. In V for Vendetta the government is quite right wing, abhorring Islam and homosexuality, whereas in 1984, sexuality and religion as wholes were punished, leaving everyone equal in risk of persecution.

Another difference was the length of time between the publishing dates and the setting of the dystopian fiction. 1984 took place over 40 years after its publication, whereas Vendetta gave about 30 years in the graphic novel and less than 20 in the film. Vendetta shows a more eminent future, not only in the timeline but because of the issues at the centre of the plots. Communism was not terribly widespread. With except of Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland and East Germany, it was fairly contained to the USSR, China and Cuba. However, the right wing Judaeo-Christian ideologies as exemplified by some lobbyists and politicians in the United States and factions of Great Britain are being used to “rebuild” the Middle-East, potentially leading to the wider spread of these ideologies as practices.

buttz, lolz


Allison said...

"I dismissed V for Vendetta as 1984 for theatre geeks"
That was one of the reason I hadn't gotten around to watching the film yet.
Your review was very insightful and raised good points. Time is the biggest factor in most films of this genre, which is why "V" seems so melodramatic.
From what you've said, it reminds me a bit of "Blade Runner"

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There was perhaps a touch of Blade Runner to it, Allison, although I remember Blade Runner as being extremely steeped in the mood of the setting. V was less so, perhaps because it was not so far in the future. I saw Blade Runner about 100 years ago, but it packed quite a powerful punch. I'd like to see it again.
Glad you liked Eva's review!

Ben Heller said...

Sounds like a homage to lots of things portraying a totalitarian repressive state, like Huxley's Brave new World, George Lucas's movie THX1138, 1984, Bladerunner etc etc.
I'll have to look out for it.

Anonymous said...

Bladerunner was THE cult film of my time. When the Director's Cut came out 10yrs. or so later everything made sense - I didn't realize how much the narration distracted me. Then again, I missed out on the Ritalin I could have been prescribed if I had only been born 10 yrs. later.

Eva has raw talent, momma B you rock the parenting house.

karen said...

Review is spot on, I saw it recently and wasn't really all that bothered but I actually really enjoyed it - it's definitely worth a look.

Karen said...

I'm not a fan of graphic novels or comics in general, although my brother is a HUGE fan, and I try to avoid movies based on them. My brother summed up the movie in two words when I asked him how it was: conspiracy theories. While I love the idea of a good conspiracy theory (moon landing, Kennedy, 9/11...) the movie just didn't catch me from the previews. However, I LOVED 1984. Your review (Eva's) is great and definately makes me want to run out and rent this!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I guess it did follow in the long tradition of portraying rebellion against totalitarianism, Ben, which is always good to pump one up for a prolonged campaign against ... oh, Office Depot, say. It was an interesting film.

I didn't see the director's cut of Blade Runner, Michelle, but I really do want to see that film again, or even better, the director's cut. I loved the stylishness of that film.
Trust Eva to do this review as an examination of political systems and end with "buttz lolz".
15-year-olds *shakes head*

I enjoyed it more than I thought I would as well, Kees, although it got a trifle too Phantom of the Opera at times for my liking - must have been the mask thing.

I actually did not realise it was based on a graphic novel until I read Eva's review, to be honest, Karen, so it certainly doesn't have that comic book feel to it. I can recommend it.

Mint Sharpie said...

I'd love it, except for the eerie likelihood of a similar situation actually happenning. *shudders*

What do you have against 15-year-olds?!? *death glare*

John Mutford said...

That's the 2nd time in the past week someone's recommended this film to me. But tell Eva her insightful review was what made me decide to actually go out and rent it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You're absolutely right, Minty. I found the fact that parts of it weren't really all that far-fetched to be particularly chilling.
I've nothing at all against 15-year-olds, except for the fact that I live with one and know how their mammal minds work.

Eva will be very gratified to hear that, John. She sent an email to her former drama teacher about this film as well.

Serah said...

The film never hit me like "the matrix", I didn't really expect it too but I was hoping for just a little...yah know. I did enjoy it despite the disappointment. I didn't mind the melodrama so much since I knew to expect that comic book feeling. When is another movie going to blow people's minds-I just don't know.

After watching the movie: Any time I make the toast w/ egg combo, I call it the "anarchist's breakfast of champions"!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Anarchist's breakfast of champions! That's rich, Sarah! May I quote you as my quote of the day?

Serah said...

absolutely! ;)

Will said...

I've been meaning to see this ... so I think this review seals the deal. That whole 1984 thing always seems to appeal to me.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think it's worth seeing, Will. I had some problems with some of the love stuff; it just rang a little false. But a good portrayal of a dystopian society.

Anonymous said...

Great review- did Eva write that? Wonderful.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

She did indeed, Jacquie. She may one day be a film critic like yourself.