Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mmmm....Vendetta

Those of you seeking subtlety, look elsewhere.

Those of you looking to experience a refreshingly direct, idea-rich blockbuster from the boys behind the Matrix, V For Vendetta is Easter candy come early.

Is it a great movie? I dunno. Is it a damn good movie? Absolutely.

If Winston Smith had been a hideously deformed super hero, the film version of 1984 might have looked something like V For Vendetta. It's genuinely thought-provoking, and it's also rather entertaining.

At the end, I'd argue that V's "message" isn't that Liberals are good, and conservatives are bad. It isn't that America is monstrous. It's that the people are responsible for their governments. We reap what we sow. That's a message worth remembering.

8 Comments:

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I've always been hesitant about movies with a purported message. It's probably a personal thing, but I always have this feeling like I'm watching some propoganda film with the creator trying to convert me with the "truth." It's probably unreasonable, but I feel like it would be too sheep-like to find myself converted at the end of said film.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

But that's the whole point of the film, my friend. While it's definately a call-to-arms (and a somewhat simplistic one) it's also not a clear cut film by ANY MEANS.

For instance, the "hero" of the film is not clearly a hero. And there's the shadings that make it clear that the filmmakers, while obviously (and sometimes egregiously) referencing modern day America's political climate, are creating a pastiche fascist government, one that you'd have to be a fascist to support.

Then there's the ending, which, depending on how its read, can be either the triumph of the individual over the state, the collective will of the people retaking the government, OR (most interestingly) a rousing condemnation of the people as responsible parties to the destruction of government, without any real hope of redemption.

I think viewing a movie that's based off a 20 year old comic as a conversion device leaves out the fact that this is a universal polemic, more akin to 1984 than Fahrenheit 9-11.

Watching a film doesn't guarantee your agreement with it. It should be the opposite way around. You should challenge the film, and appreciate those moments where what it has to say rings true for you.

Going to see a film at all is inherently sheep-like activity. But a smart guy like you can watch a fictional dystopian flick without succumbing to any subliminal control. :)

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Oh, I know. It's not that I think I can't handle it. It's just that I don't appreciate anyone trying to do it to me in the first place. It's just a pet peeve.

In the end, I'm just more comfortable feeling like I'm in the minority. I feel uncomfortable agreeing with people's ideas because it makes me feel like I'm not looking at it critically enough.

And it's not good or bad, just a personal psychological thing. I'm more comfortable disagreeing with messages (no matter how complicated) than agreeing with them.

It's why I'm uncomfortable with joining rallies of any kind unless I disagree with the message. I wish I could explain this better, but so tired taking care of the puppy...

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

I guess I undertand. I'm certainly more contrarian than not.

It would also explain your Potter re-reading.

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

addendum:
That must make appreciation of pop-culture/art extremely difficult for you, though.

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I loved it adn the review I wrote up for it focuses less on the political story (though there's a goldmine there) and more on the love, masks, grace, and redemption messages. Mat's right, there's a lot going on in this movie.

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

It sort of goes to how I like things broken up:

Art (i.e., movies) seem intended at least on some level to induce an emotional response. I do not like mixing those emotional responses with political reasoned thought. It seems sort of unfair.

Like let's say I wanted to convince people that my politics are right. And the people that disagree with me are wrong. Well, I just make a movie. And my protaganist agrees with me. And I take the people who disagree with me and I characterize them as either stupid or cruel or both. And I could make all sorts of fancy claims about how my story is about truth, justice, fairness, and the individual triumphing over some cynical moral equivalence. And I make my protaganist have a really good sense of humor.

Even if I were to agree with the message (I would hope I would if I made it), I don't think I'd want to see that (unless I have a killer sex scene in there). Something about preaching to the choir just doesn't sit right.

It's sort of the same reason why I don't like gimmic art. I don't trust the motive of the artist.

Which, yes, as you've recognized, makes appreciation of pop culture/art difficult for me. I appreciate it for its entertainment value, not for the message. But to each our own, I guess. You're much more sophisticated about this stuff than I am.

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Hardly mor sophisticated, my friend. We just take it in differently. There's nothing wrong with anything you said. It's how you feel, and it makes sense.

 

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