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Old 03-18-2006, 02:36 AM   #1
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V For Vendetta Pro Terrorist

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In a political environment that can brew controversy out of allegorical children's fables or a documentary about penguins, it is hard to imagine the intensity of feeling that will greet "V for Vendetta," a movie whose heroes are terrorists.

One foresees news talk shows in which red-faced pundits denounce the filmmakers and call for boycotts. Given a film as entertaining and solidly crafted as this one, such attention could turn into strong box office.

Of course, plenty of films -- particularly those set in dystopian futures like this one -- identify with revolutionaries. But most put heavy sci-fi clothing on their brave new worlds, while "V" takes pains to tie its reality to our own. Although based on a comic book, it isn't as heavily stylized as a superhero movie. Its score and production design, both rich and inviting, are heightened without suggesting that this near-future London is an outright fantasy, though the new government, a restrictive state led by John Hurt's Sutler, is draped in some awfully Nazi-ish iconography.

If the film's look and feel refuse to flee from the real world, its dialogue takes every chance to connect to it. We are told about the recent past, that "America's war grew worse and worse, and eventually came to London." Hot-button terms like "rendition" are sprinkled about; dissidents are handled as in a third-world dictatorship; and our hero (who calls himself V) lectures citizens who have surrendered their liberties to a government that promised to protect them from terrorism.

As V, Hugo Weaving has the unenviable task of playing the entire film behind an immobile mask. He rises to the challenge, bringing the character to life with body language and his sonorously nimble voice.

V has a flair for the theatrical. He introduces himself to London on Guy Fawkes Day with fireworks and a symbolic bombing, then hijacks a television broadcast to announce that he will return a year later to destroy the Houses of Parliament. He suggests that citizens who feel oppressed by their rulers should join him there. And then he's gone, leaving some very anxious politicians in his wake.

The viewer's proxy here is Evey (Natalie Portman), who accidentally becomes a part of V's plans. With her, we work through many of the expected reactions to V's approach -- and if she eventually comes around to his way of thinking, the film certainly doesn't present the choice as an uncomplicated one. The filmmakers (Andy and Larry Wachowski adapting the screenplay, James McTeigue at the helm) are clearly on the vigilante's side, but they give viewers room to question his motives and methods: Has he psychologically programmed Evey? Is the city of London about to become a war zone simply because V has a personal grudge? The serious tone "Vendetta" takes encourages such moral nitpicking.
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Perhaps the issue is what objective measure defines a terrorist. Means, ends and targets - the will to smash a state apparatus be it a Nazi, Stalinist or Islamist one is a good measure different than striking against innocent people. To strike out for freedom or at least the abolition of state control is not the same as striking to establish a state devoid of freedom.

Maybe instead of placing moral equivalence into the argument it could be conducted objectively.

As I have said CCTV measures, blanket surveilance projects and internet search monitoring programs are dificult to remove one emplaced and will be used by any leader who wants more control - it's not their fault, by their very nature they cannot help but use the tools at their disposal. Procecuting a war against an existential threat that right now lacks a serious state actor requires an evaluation of what liberties we have to protect and how we may do so - North Korea is (probably) free from acts of non-state terror, but that is a product of the slave state. Free speech again a wonderful thing, banning the glorification of terror simply means that the bastards aren't all in the same place and it becomes a lot harder to trace and monitor the networks - if someone wants to kill you, it's good to have a heads up.

Both the book and it would seem the film take government of the day as the model for proto-fascist regimes (Thatcher for the book, Bush for the film). That is the creators prerogative - the threat does come from statists at home and abroad, one mustn't ignore those tendencies even when couched with the benefit of being "other".
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Old 03-18-2006, 03:06 AM   #2
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It's great entertainment, a great read, the film yet to be determined and if it encourages discussion about civil liberties and a state controlled society, more power to it.

It appears to be a great adaptation of the graphic novel based on the previews. Rotten Tomatoes has 100 fresh, vs 33 rotten so it is being accepted by critics so far.

Anyone who is "afraid" of this film because they think it is pro-terrorist, well, bollocks to them.
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Old 03-18-2006, 03:37 AM   #3
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I hope it dissuades a few people from the lure of CCTV and National ID cards.
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:05 AM   #4
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I saw it last night. Many people will say it is "pro terrorist" but I prefer to think that it shows that sometimes situations are a little bit grey (only as far as govt corruption/oppression and the people rising up against that- not that terrorism is necessary, good, whatever) and not always black and white-and what can happen to people when they are treated in a certain way. I would never support any pro terrorist message, but this is a movie that just makes you think about things in the way that Munich did. Of course people will see parallels to the war on terror and to other modern day situations, those are definitely there.

There are so many interesting lines of dialogue in it, I wish I could remember all of them. "the people should not be afraid of the govt, the govt should be afraid of the people"

I also think it's the kind of movie that should be seen in a theater and not on DVD, I think visually it might be better that way.
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:22 AM   #5
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I am very much looking forward to seeing this movie. From what I've seen & heard, and what I remember from the comic books, it should promote a wealth of thought & discussion. I saw a brief interview with Natalie Portman this morning & she was discussing how it was such a great role for her.....Having been born in Israel, she said, terrorism didn't happen for her on 9-11---it's always been in her life. Personally hating terrorism, but having to work out in her mind how a woman against violence could ultimately decide to use violence against what she hated more--it became a very thought-provoking role for her.

I hope one discussion that will come from this is "How do we define 'terrorism'?" It really is true that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Recall that even in our own Revolutionary War, we Americans often fought as guerillas/terrorists. We see it as "okay" because we were fighting for what we believe are infallible 'American' principles.

On the most part, I subscribe to the notion promoted by Bono that "Ideas are not bigger than people." This movie makes you really think--is there a line that, once crossed, ideas are bigger than people? Perhaps when those ideas are, in your mind, based on the good of people? On the most part, I personally am awfully pacifist. However, with my boyish, adventure-movie-inspired mind, I've often imagined myself doing the same as V, as Porman's character, and as so many others--joining the Rebellion to fight the evil Empire.
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:43 AM   #6
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Not sure I'll like it, but it sparked my interest visually. I'll have to check it out.

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Old 03-18-2006, 10:49 AM   #7
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i just hope the W. brothers did not ruin the comic as much as they ruined their own matrix creation

well, hugo weaving & natalie portman give hope for good acting though
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by a-mole
i just hope the W. brothers did not ruin the comic as much as they ruined their own matrix creation
yeah, as long as they keep V to one movie, they should be okay...
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:12 AM   #9
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I'll have to check this movie out.
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Utoo


On the most part, I subscribe to the notion promoted by Bono that "Ideas are not bigger than people." This movie makes you really think--is there a line that, once crossed, ideas are bigger than people? Perhaps when those ideas are, in your mind, based on the good of people?
There's actually dialogue and an entire scene at the end of the movie that deals with this very subject

I had no idea it was based on a comic book until I saw the DC Comics logo in the opening, I know nothing about comics. They showed a teaser Superman trailer too.
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Old 03-18-2006, 12:39 PM   #11
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Anarchy is overrated.
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Old 03-18-2006, 03:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


There's actually dialogue and an entire scene at the end of the movie that deals with this very subject

I had no idea it was based on a comic book until I saw the DC Comics logo in the opening, I know nothing about comics. They showed a teaser Superman trailer too.
There have been some great comics published over the past few decades. Go find a copy of Watchmen. That is considered one of the greatest single comic storylines ever, it is collected as a single trade paperback. Even if you haven't read a comic, it is an awesome read.
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Old 03-18-2006, 06:24 PM   #13
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Yeah, i saw the movie. It was pretty lame and meaningless.
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:00 PM   #14
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I saw the movie
I liked it.
it was pretty good.

it will be number one this weekend

26-30 million range.

I expect some right-wing fundies will attack it.
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:43 PM   #15
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I expect some right-wing fundies will attack it.
Glad you liked the movie. But can't we have just ONE movie; where the terrorists of Islamic radicalism that fly planes into buildings, blowup bombs in crowded markets, decapitate innocent hostages, and riot over cartoons... are the bad guys. And those that brave their lives to stop them are the heroes.
Just ONE.
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