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V For Vendetta Essay

1510 words - 7 pages

The 2005 film, V for Vendetta directed by James McTeigue and based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore, depicts the interplay of personal and political power through the protagonist known by the single letter V (played by Hugo Weaving). The film is set in London in the year 2038 where the country has become a totalitarian state under the supreme control of High Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt), who is portrayed as an omnipotent leader. V rescues a young girl called Evey (played by Natalie Portman) from Sutler's police known as “the Fingermen” and sets about on his quest of revenge to mark the 5th of November forever in history, and remind the people of London that “people should ...view middle of the document...

Mum wanted to leave the country. Dad refused. He said that if we were to run away, they would win. Win, like it was a game.” The use of the simile “game” highlights the powerplay taking place in the film; the supreme rule of the High Chancellor and how the more power he obtains, the more he abuses it.

While the totalitarianism regime uses fear and deceit to manage reality, V uses rebellion and terrorism to regain human dignity. V uses his personal power of anonymity to strike fear into the heart of the government and hope into the hearts of the nation. He reminds London through his speech when he overtakes the British Television Network (BTN) that true power resides with the people. In V's speech, he says that “words will always retain their power” and points out that “there is something wrong with this country” and highlights the nature of the regime; that in times when problems corrupt reason, the High Chancellor promised resolutions in return for obedience. The power of V lies not in his violent acts nor the anarchy he creates. It is in the power of ideas; the power to give courage when people have no hope and the power to give strength when people are made to feel weak. V plays on this, saying in his final battle when Mr Creedy, a government man, asks “Why won't you die?” to which V responds, “Behind this mask there is more than just flesh and bone. There is an idea. And ideas are bulletproof.” It is this notion that holds the true meaning of personal power and how one uses it.

Techniques used to display the use of political and personal powerplay are integral throughout the film. V describes himself upon first meeting Evey as “a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate.” The use of the simile, also the recurring of his namesake, “v”, emphasises his character as intelligent, giving him his own personal power. The juxtaposition he proposes of “victim and villain” show insight into his intent of anarchy through the idea of inspiration or hope. Personification is also used to highlight the importance of the government. The different sections of the totalitarianism regime are referred to as different parts of the body; the High Chancellor being referred to as “the Head” (and aptly so as he only appears in a significant portion of the film as a large head projected onto a screen), the BTN being referred to as “the Mouth” (as the media report the government's latest triumphs or exploits) and the henchmen of the High Chancellor being referred to as “Fingermen”. This personification suggests that the government holds power over the people because it is a much larger “person” in itself. Lighting and high camera angles are used to show distinct power relations between High Chancellor Sutler and the rest of his government. When in cabinet meetings or conferences, the High Chancellor appears as a face on a screen, looking down at his representatives, who are always partly shadowed to show...

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