Friday, April 07, 2006

V for Vendetta (movie review)

This film draws inspiration from Orwell, plus from all too familiar fascist "reality TV" fashions. Oppressive government is a nightmare and leads to dark paranoias, often leading to mass uprisings. This sequence gets played out over and over again, never exactly repeating. Like 1984, Vendetta goes ahead and simply maps to some future distopia, vaguely (or not so vaguely) extrapolating troubling trends in our own time.

It's also Beauty and the Beast, a genre I've not specialized in, although King Kong was an eye-opener. V is certainly a monster, and for 20 years has occupied himself plotting a delicious revenge against his torturers. Then he meets the girl, and the whole grotesque fantasy becomes surprisingly back burner.

But he goes through with it anyway; it's all he knows, what he's scripted to do. Then he hands the baton off to a next generation (to which this girl belongs). There's love between this girl and another girl too, under the masked one's auspices -- very complicated, yet touching and real (I couldn't believe those idiot parents disowning this most beautiful daughter, plus passing on getting another one).

Dawn and I saw it together. She said "a little more gratuitous violence than I like" and I got it. I took the whole thing as a sick and twisted fantasy piece, a simulator (OK, a wardrobe). And the product of a feverishly fertile UKer imagination -- they really know how to make 'em, those IngSoc types. Actually, we're talking Wachowski brothers, of The Matrix fame. Definitely a bold contribution to the literature.