Plot: “In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of “V”, plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.” (imdb.com)
Director: James McTeigue
Stars: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Stephen Rea
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
“Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”
It’s that time of the year again, November the 5th. Time to rewatch (or watch for the first time for those who haven’t seen it yet) this brilliant film. A little bit about the story: the film is set in the future, England is ruled by Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt) a fascist dictator who is depriving the people of their civil rights and wants their conformity in exchange for security. The only person who is standing against him is a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, only known as V (Hugo Weaving). V meets Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), a young woman working at a TV network, one night when he saves her from being raped by policemen. The film shows the events that occurred for the next 12 months, up until the night V has vowed to blow up the Parliament.
V’s famous line “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people” is one of the most well-known quotes of the film. Is he right? Keep in mind that V is trying to overthrow a totalitarian regime and plans a revolution. Is he a terrorist? A hero? Something inbetween? I’ll leave that for you to decide.
The plot is interesting and totally captivating. The script is witty, intense and intelligent (but not in a pretentious way). Visually, everything looks dark and beautiful. Definitely a film that sticks with you and makes you think. Is it entirely fictional? Is it a cautionary tale, is this what our future is going to be like? All I can say is, this film is very intriguing.
V for Vendetta is a film filled with talented actors. Hugo Weaving as V is simply incredible, his ability to capture V’s emotions using just his voice and body language is amazing. Natalie Portman’s performance is so dynamic and, at moments, heartbreaking. Throughout this one year we see Evey transform from a law-abiding citizen to V’s companion. Stephen Fry (one of my favourite people on the planet) plays Deitrich, a TV host and friend of Evey’s, who openly mocks the government even though he is aware of the dangerousness of his actions. Stephen Rea and Rupert Graves, also worth praising, play the two policemen leading the search for V.
History behind the Guy Fawkes mask for those who are interested: In 1605, Guy Fawkes along with a group of English Catholics led by Robert Catesby planned to assassinate King James by blowing up the House of Lords with gunpowder on November the 5th. However, they were discovered before they executed their plan. The authorities found Guy Fawkes in the House of Lords guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder. He was captured and tortured. Most of the other conspirators left London when they found out they were discovered. Their trial was on 27th of January 1606, Fawkes and the remaining 7 conspirators were convicted and sentenced to be hanged. The 5th of November is now called Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night. It is custom in Britain to light bonfires to commemorate the failure of Gunpowder Plot, burn Guy Fawkes effigies and let off fireworks. (x)
In conclusion, V for Vendetta is one of my favourite films which I always rewatch on November the 5th. The scene pictured above is one of the film’s final scenes and it’s quite emotional; everyone taking off their Guy Fawkes masks with Evey’s monologue in the background. To me, V for Vendetta is a must-see. Enjoy!