I saw V for Vendetta today, just like I said I would. Damn, Natalie Portman's hot -- even with a shaved head. (I have a thing for shaved heads, you may know.)
First of all, I loved it. There are three reasons why I loved it:
- Natalie Portman is hot, and a damn good actress.
- Hugo Weaving is cool, and a damn good actor.
- The Wachowskis are geniuses, and damn good writers.
This film has reaffirmed my beliefs that Natalie Portman is my favourite actress and Hugo Weaving is my favourite actor. And the Wachowskis made my favourite movie back in 1999.
I'm only going to say one more thing about the film, before I get into the philosophical ideas which underline it. I loved the Matrix for reasons including great action, lots of special effects, and deep philosophical ideas. But one big reason why I loved the Matrix was because the Wachowskis packed so much symbolism and meaning into every bit of the script that every time you watch it, you pick something new up, despite having watched it hundreds of times. For example, at the beginning of the Matrix, when the police officers break into the room where Trinity is on the computer, there are three torches shining on her, create a triangular shape, on the wall. This is obviously linked to the idea of the Trinity. Damn good stuff.
In V for Vendetta they put in just as much depth into the script. For example, near the beginning of the film, when asked by Evey Hammond (played by the distractingly beautiful Natalie Portman) who we was, V (masterfully played by the brilliant Hugo Weaving) makes a monologue littered with words starting with 'V'. In fact, he uses 55 words beginning with 'V'. This is interesting because this can loosely be translated to the Roman numerals "VV", assuming that you consider each digit, rather than the whole number (which would be "LV"). What else is interesting is that 55 is equal to 5 x 11 -- the 5th of the 11th is the 5th of November, which is the date of Guy Fawkes' attempt on the Parliament, and also the date when V blows up the Old Bailey, and then Parliament is blown up a year later. Damn good stuff.
Now for deeper things. The first question that you walk away with after watching this film is "Terrorist or Freedom-fighter?" Like Rob has said, this is rather late to be asking this question, as it has been asked and over-asked for the last several years. And so, I find a different but related question: "Is it justifiable if you use violence to do something good?"
Let's do some role-playing. There is a generic bad guy who is about to kill two innocent people, and the only way you can stop him is to kill him. Do you kill him? Most will answer yes. Now here's a similar, but much tougher question: There is a generic bad guy who is about to kill two innocent people, and the only way you can stop him is to kill an innocent person yourself. Do you kill the innocent person to save the two other innocent people? You can't just look at it logically and say "Which is the lesser evil?" because you are the one making the choice on which set of innocents die. Ponder...
But that's no where near as interesting as one of the philosophical themes or motifs (or whatever the hell they call them) of the film: coincidence. Many of the characters of the film, especially V, don't believe in the notion of coincidence: "There is no such thing as coincidence, just the illusion of coincidence." But if you do not believe in coincidence, then you must believe in something connecting events, whether it be Fate or God or Gaia. Do you believe that you have Free Will to choose what to do with your life, or do you believe that every choice you make is not really a choice, but just causality playing its role on the neurons in your brain, causing you to make a certain 'choice' because of the way your brain is wired? I would hate to live with the idea that everything is run by causality.
I'm just going to ramble on a tangent for just a moment longer. The idea of causality is flawed, as it implies that every event is caused by a stimulus, which in turn would be its own event. This means that a giant tree of events would exist and there must've been an initial event at the start of time (ie. the Big Bang) which was caused by something. Either something outside of the existence of the universe from 'before' the existence of the universe must have started the Big Bang.
Wow, that's really off-topic.
"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-à-vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."