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Vacillations on V for Vendetta

February 3, 2007

I recognize that my thoughts on this movie are long overdue — I stated in an earlier post that I would reflect on movies I watched during Christmas break soon and it has been nearly a month since then.  Clearly, my definition of “soon” is not that of the common man.  In truth, however, I must say that the delay in these reviews has been because of homework and other responsibilities mixed in with a good dose of laziness towards posting on this blog.  That has all changed, however, and I am adopting a more responsible attitude towards this blog.  Thus, after that brief explanation, let me now get down to the subject matter of this post.

When my older brother came down from college for Christmas break, he had a list of movies he had seen with college friends that he wanted to share with us; one of these movies was V for Vendetta.  Before my brother’s hearty recommendation, I had no desire whatsoever to see this film.  I trusted World Magazine’s description of the movie as “Vile” (subscription required) and was not interested in being brainwashed from the movie screen.  My brother, however, tends to have very good taste in movies, so I had to see V for Vendetta after he listed it as one of his all-time favorite movies.  After seeing the movie, my feelings were somewhat mixed.

I must admit, this is one of the best movies I have ever seen.  Everything I can remember about it was excellent — the storyline, the acting (a main protagonist who wears a mask throughout the whole movie yet still comes across well is quite a feat of acting!), the music, the action, the score.  This is one of the greatest works of cinematic art that I have seen (not that I’m claiming vast experience or anything).  Yet I resist listing it as one of my favorite movies — it can be one of the best in quality without being one of my personal favorites.

The reason for my rejection of this movie as a favorite in spite of its inherent quality is because of the ideas it presents.  As I expected, the movie is a sort of political statement against right-wing, conservative Christians.  Homosexuals are portrayed as an oppressed minority that (in the not-too-distant future) will be slain en masse as a result of the government’s loathing of these people.  Also, my brother made the keen observation that the symbol of the ruling government in the movie (which he claimed is representative of the Bush administration) is nothing more than a double cross (see image above right).  A coincidence?  I think that doubtful.

In the end, I vacillated over whether I was right or not about V for Vendetta.  I was definitely right in that it is, to some extent, a political movie that tries to get you to see the world through a secular humanistic worldview.  But, I must admit, I was wrong to avoid watching the movie because of that.  True, many of the ideas it presents are anti-Biblical and anti-Christian, but that doesn’t mean we have to hide from it.  I recommend V for Vendetta for Christians who want to understand how secular liberals see us — it’s rather a scary image.  I will also close with an excellent quote from the film’s protagonist, “V” — it is one of the best quotes I have come across in any movie I have seen:

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

It almost sounds like something straight out of John Locke, a modern rendition of the people’s right to dissolve their government.  Perhaps the filmmakers were not that misguided after all — they recognize the importance of freedom and the terrors of tyranny, yet they incorrectly assume that America’s current government and Christians are going to bring about the government portrayed in this movie.  The movie’s premises are good and correct, but its conclusions are ultimately faulty.  Still, it’s a movie worth watching and thinking about.

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