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  V for Vendetta (2005)  
  Rating: (8.4/10) (45 votes)
 
   
General:
Directors: James McTeigue
   
Writers: Andy Wachowski
Larry Wachowski
   
OMDB: 0353592
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Country: USA, Germany
Language: English
Duration: 132 min
   
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 Cast: (all known cast)

Natalie Portman Evey Hammond
Hugo Weaving V
Stephen Rea Inspector Eric Finch
Stephen Fry Gordon Dietrich
John Hurt Chancellor Adam Sutler
Tim Pigott-Smith Creedy
Rupert Graves Dominic
Roger Allam Lewis Prothero
Ben Miles Dascomb
Sinéad Cusack Delia Surridge
Natasha Wightman Valerie
John Standing Bishop Lilliman
Eddie Marsan Etheridge
Clive Ashborn Guy Fawkes
Ian Burfield Tweed Coat Fingerman
 Awards: (awards this movie has receieved)

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 Wikipedia: (detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta theatrical poster
Directed by James McTeigue
Produced by Joel Silver
The Wachowski brothers
Written by The Wachowski brothers (screenplay)
Starring Natalie Portman
Hugo Weaving
Stephen Rea
John Hurt
and Stephen Fry
Music by Dario Marianelli
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Released March 17, 2006
Running time 132 mins.
Language English
Budget $54 million (US) [1]
IMDb profile

V for Vendetta is a 2006 action-thriller film set in London's near-future, and follows V, a freedom fighter, who uses terrorist tactics in pursuit of both a personal vendetta and sociopolitical change in a dystopian Britain. The film is an adaptation of the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. V for Vendetta was directed by James McTeigue and produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers, who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond, Hugo Weaving as V, Stephen Rea as Inspector Finch and John Hurt as Chancellor Sutler.

After the release date of November 5, 2005 was delayed, the film opened in conventional and IMAX theatres on March 17, 2006 and has been generally well received by critics. Due to ongoing conflicts with the film industry, Alan Moore did not endorse the film. The filmmakers removed some of the anarchist themes that were present in the original story and added a current political context to the film. Due to the politically sensitive content of the film, V for Vendetta has been the target of both criticism and praise from different sociopolitical groups.

Plot

The story is set in the near future, when Britain is ruled by a totalitarian regime called Norsefire. It follows Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), a young woman who at the start of the film is rescued from state police by a masked vigilante known as "V" (Hugo Weaving). After rescuing her, V shows her his spectacular destruction of the Old Bailey. The regime explains the incident to the public as a planned demolition. But this is proven to be a lie when V takes over the state-run TV station the next day. He broadcasts a message urging all of Britain to rise up with him against the oppressive government on November 5, one year from that day, when V will destroy Parliament. Evey, who coincidentally works at the TV station, helps V to escape. V brings Evey to his lair, where she is told that she must stay in hiding with him for her safety. She stays for some time, but upon learning that V is killing government officials, she escapes to the home of one of her superiors, Gordon Dietrich (Stephen Fry). Unfortunately, the state police raid Gordon's home shortly after, and Evey is captured. She is incarcerated and tortured for days, finding solace only in notes left by another prisoner, Valerie. Evey is eventually told she will be executed unless she reveals V's whereabouts. An exhausted Evey says she would rather die, and surprisingly is then released. Evey discovers that she has been in V's lair all along, and that her imprisonment was staged by V. By forcing Evey to experience what he had gone through long ago, V hoped Evey would understand that our integrity "the very last inch of us" can be more important than our own lives. Evey initially hates V for what he did, but comes to a revelation after facing her own death and knows she can now live without fear. She leaves V, promising to return before November 5.

V (Hugo Weaving) and Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) in the shadow gallery. Evey is taken there after V seizes control of the BTN.
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V (Hugo Weaving) and Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) in the shadow gallery. Evey is taken there after V seizes control of the BTN.

Meanwhile, Inspector Finch (Stephen Rea), through his investigation of V, eventually learns how Norsefire came to power and about V’s origins. Fourteen years ago, Britain suffered from war and terrorism. The ultra-conservative Norsefire party and their deeply religious leader Adam Sutler (John Hurt), led a reactionary purge to restore order. So-called enemies of the state disappeared in the night and the country was deeply torn over the loss of freedom. Then a bioterrorism attack occurred, killing about 100,000, spreading more fear and panic across the country. The fear the attack generated allowed Norsefire to silence all opposition and win by a landslide in the next election. “Miraculously”, a cure for the virus was discovered soon afterwards, though the fear continued. With the silent consent of the people, Norsefire turned Britain into a bigoted totalitarian order, with Adam Sutler appointed as High Chancellor. However, the viral catastrophe was actually created by Norsefire as part of a ploy to gain power. The virus was engineered through deadly experimentation on "social deviants" and political dissidents at Larkhill detention center. V was one of the prisoners, but instead of dying from the experiments, he gained heightened mental and physical abilities. V eventually destroyed the center in an explosion, escapes, and vows to have his revenge on the regime for the crimes they've committed.

As November 5 nears, V's various schemes cause chaos in Britain, as the population grows more and more intolerant and subversive towards government authority. On the eve of November 5, V is visited again by Evey, whom he shows a train he has filled with explosives in order to destroy Parliament through the abandoned London Underground. He defers the final act to destroy Parliament to Evey, due to his belief that the ultimate decision should not come from him. He then leaves to meet Party leader Creedy who, as part of an earlier agreement, has agreed to bring V the Chancellor in exchange for V's surrender. Creedy kills the Chancellor in front of V, but unfortunately for Creedy, V does not surrender and instead kills Creedy and his men. V is mortally wounded in the process and returns to Evey. He thanks her, dies, and is then placed onto the train with the explosives. Evey is about to send the train down the track when she is discovered by Inspector Finch. However, Finch (who has learned much about the corruption of the regime) allows Evey to proceed. At the same time, thousands of Londoners march on Parliament to watch the event, wearing Guy Fawkes masks that were sent by V. Because Creedy and the Chancellor are dead, the military stands down in the face of a civil rebellion. Parliament is destroyed in a dazzling explosion set to the 1812 Overture. On a nearby rooftop Evey and Finch watch the scene together and hope for a better tomorrow.

Development

The film was made by many of the same filmmakers involved in the making of the Matrix films. In 1988, producer Joel Silver acquired the rights to two of Alan Moore's texts: V for Vendetta and Watchmen.[2] The Wachowski brothers were fans of V for Vendetta and in the mid-1990's, before working on The Matrix, wrote a draft screenplay that closely followed the graphic novel. During the postproduction of the second and third Matrix films, the Wachowski brothers revisited the sceenplay and offered the director's role to James McTeigue. All three were intrigued by the themes of the original story and found them to be relevant to the current political landscape. Upon revisiting the screenplay, the Brothers set about making revisions to condense and modernize the story, while at the same time attempting to preserve it's integrity and themes.[3]

Moore explicitly disassociated himself from the film adaptation, continuing an ongoing dispute over film adaptations of his work. He ended cooperation with his publisher, DC Comics, after its corporate parent, Warner Bros., failed to retract statements about Moore's supposed endorsement of the film. Moore said that the script contained plot holes[4] and that it ran contrary to the theme of his original work, which was to place two political extremes (fascism and anarchism) against one another. He argues his story had been recast as "current American neo-conservatism vs. current American liberalism".[5] As per his wishes, Moore's name does not appear in the film's closing credits. Meanwhile, co-creator and illustrator David Lloyd supports the film adaptation, commenting that the script is very good and that Moore would only ever be truly happy with a complete book-to-screen adaptation.[2]

Production

V for Vendetta was filmed in London, UK and in Potsdam, Germany at Babelsberg Studios. Much of the film was shot on sound stages and indoor sets, with location work done in Berlin for three scenes: the Norsefire rally flashback, Larkhill, and Bishop Lilliman’s bedroom. The scenes that took place in the abandoned London Underground were filmed at the disused Aldwych tube station. Filming began in early March, 2005, and principal photography officially wrapped in early June of 2005.[2] V for Vendetta is also the final film shot by noted cinematographer Adrian Biddle, who died of a heart attack on December 7, 2005.

To film the final scene at Westminster, the area from Trafalgar Square and Whitehall up to Parliament and Big Ben had to be closed for three nights from 12 - 5 a.m. This was the first time the security-sensitive area (home to 10 Downing Street and the Ministry of Defense) had ever been closed to accomodate filming.[6] Prime Minister Tony Blair's son Euan Blair worked on the film's production and is said (through an interview with Stephen Fry) to have helped the filmmakers obtain the unparalleled filming access. This drew criticism for Blair from MP David Davis due to the content of the film. However, the makers of the film deny Euan Blair's involvement in the deal,[7] stating that access was acquired through nine months of negotiations with 14 different government departments and agencies.[6]

One of the major challenges in the film was how to bring V to life from under an expressionless mask. Thus, considerable effort was made to bring together lighting, acting and Weaving's voice to create the proper mood for the situation. In order to prevent the mask from muffling Weaving's voice, a microphone was placed in his hairline to aid post-production, when his entire dialogue was re-recorded.[6]

The film was designed to have a future-retro look, with the heavy use of grey tones to give a dreary, stagnant look to totalitarian London. The largest set created for the film was the Shadow Gallery, which was made to feel like a cross between a crypt and an undercroft.[8] The Gallery is V's home as well as the place where he stores various artifacts forbidden by the government. Some of the works of art displayed in the gallery include The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck, Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian, a Mildred Pierce poster, and The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse.

Cast

  • Hugo Weaving as V: James Purefoy was originally cast as V but left six weeks into filming due to difficulties wearing the mask for the entire film.[9] He was replaced by Hugo Weaving, who previously worked with Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers on The Matrix trilogy as Agent Smith. However, parts of the film still contain scenes from Purefoy with only a voiceover from Weaving. When taking into account the stuntmen who also played V, there were actually several V's in the film.[10]
  • Stephen Rea as Eric Finch: In the film, Inspector Finch's Irish background causes his loyalties to be questioned by Creedy. Actor Stephen Rea is also Irish and, interestingly, was once married to Dolours Price, a former member of the IRA, imprisoned for bombing the Old Bailey.[11]
  • Stephen Fry as Gordon Dietrich: Talk show host Gordon Dietrich is a closeted homosexual who, due to the restrictions of the regime, has "lost his appetite" over the years. This has some parallels with Stephen Fry, who is also homosexual and has famously practiced a celibate lifestyle for over 16 years. When asked in an interview what he liked about the role, Stephen replied, "Being beaten up! I hadn't been beaten up in a movie before and I was very excited by the idea of being clubbed to death."[12]
  • Sinead Cusack as Dr. Delia Surridge: Dr. Surridge was the head physician at the Larkhill detention center.
  • John Standing as Bishop Lilliman: In regards to his role as Lilliman, Standing remarks, "I thoroughly enjoyed playing Lilliman... because he's slightly comic and utterly atrocious. Lovely to do."[3]
  • Tim Pigott-Smith as Peter Creedy: Creedy is both Norsefire's party leader and the head of Britain's Secret Police, the Finger. While Sutler is the Chancellor, the real power of the regime lies with Creedy.[3]
  • Rupert Graves as Dominic: Dominic is Inspector Finch’s lieutenant in the V investigation.
  • Natasha Wightman as Valerie: Valerie's symbolic role as a victim of the state was received positively by many LGBT critics. Film critic Michael Jensen praised the extraordinarily powerful moment of Valerie's scene "not just because it is beautifully acted and well-written, but because it is so utterly unexpected [in a Hollywood film]."[13]
  • Ben Miles as Dascombe: Though never explicitly mentioned in the film, Dascombe is Sutler's head of propaganda.[3]
  • Clive Ashborn as Guy Fawkes: The story of Guy Fawkes is described in the beginning of the film and serves as the historical inspiration for V.

Publicity and release

Natalie Portman speaking at the 2005 San Diego Comic-con.
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Natalie Portman speaking at the 2005 San Diego Comic-con.

The cast and filmmakers attended several press conferences that allowed them to address issues surrounding the film, including its authenticity, Alan Moore's reaction to it and its intended political message. The responses given at the conferences made it clear that the film was intended to be a departure from some of Moore's original themes. In the words of Hugo Weaving: "Alan Moore was writing about something which happened some time ago. It was a response to living in Thatcherite England... This is a response to the world in which we live today. So I think that the film and the graphic novel are two separate entities." In regards to the political component of the film, the filmmakers have said that rather than provide answers, the film is intended more to raise questions and add to an ongoing dialogue that is already present in society.[16]

The film takes extensive imagery from the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, with V behaving as a latter-day Guy Fawkes in his plans to destroy the Houses of Parliament.[2] The film was originally scheduled for release on the weekend of November 5, 2005, the 400th anniversary of the infamous plan, with the tagline "Remember, remember the 5th of November", taken from a traditional British rhyme recounting the Plot. However, the marketing angle lost much of its value when the release date was pushed back to March 17, 2006. Many have speculated that the delay was due to the London tube bombings on 7 July and 21 July. The film-makers have denied this, saying that the delays were from more time being needed to finish the visual effects production.[17] V for Vendetta had its first major premier on February 13 at the Berlin Film Festival.[16] It opened for general release on March 17, 2006 in 3,365 theatres in the United States, the United Kingdom and six other countries.[1] Major theatres decorated the exterior of their buildings with Norsefire flags.

Music

Main article: V for Vendetta (soundtrack)

The V for Vendetta soundtrack was released by Astralwerks Records on March 21, 2006. The original scores from the film's composer, Dario Marianelli, make up most of the tracks on the album. The soundtrack also features three of the vocals played in the film, which include: "Cry Me A River" by Julie London, "I Found A Reason" by Cat Power and "Bird Gerhl" by Antony and the Johnsons. These songs were a sample of the 872 blacklisted tracks on V's Wurlitzer jukebox that he "reclaimed" from the Ministry of Objectionable Materials. The climax of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture appears at the track "Knives and Bullets (and Cannons too)". The revolutionary sounding Overture is played at key parts at the beginning and end of the film.

Three songs were played in the ending credits which were not included on the V for Vendetta soundtrack. The first was "Street Fighting Man" by the Rolling Stones. The second was a special version of Ethan Stoller's "BKAB". In keeping with revolutionary tone of the film, the song contains excerpts from "On Black Power" by black nationalist leader Malcolm X, and from "Address to the Women of America" by feminist-writer Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem can be heard saying: "This is no simple reform... It really is a revolution. Sex and race, because they are easy and visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor in which this system still depends." The final song was "Out of Sight" by Spiritualized. Also in the film were segments from two of Antonio Carlos Jobim's classic bossa nova songs, "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars". These songs were played during the "breakfast scenes" with V and Deitrich and were one of the ways used to tie the two characters together. Beethoven's Symphony No.5 also plays an important role in the film, with the first four notes of the song signifying the letter "V" in Morse code. Gordon Dietrich's Benny Hill-styled comedy sketch of Chancellor Sutler includes the "Yakety Sax" theme. Amusingly, Inspector Finch's alarm clock begins 5 November, with the song "Long Black Train" by Richard Hawley, with the foreshadowing lyrics "Ride the long black train... take me home black train."

Differences between the film and graphic novel

For more information: V for Vendetta.

The story of the film V for Vendetta was taken from an Alan Moore comic originally published between 1982 and 1985 in the British comic anthology Warrior. The series was later compiled into a graphic novel and published again in the United States under DC's Vertigo imprint and in the United Kingdom under Titan Books. Even though the film is based on the graphic novel, there are several key differences between the two that make them fundamentally different from one another. For example, Alan Moore's original story was created as a response to British Thatcherism in the early 80's and was set as a conflict between a fascist state and anarchism, whereas the film's story has been changed by the Wachowskis to fit a modern political context. Alan Moore charges that in doing so, the story has turned into an American-centric conflict between liberalism and neo-conservatism, abandoning the original anarchist-fascist themes. As well, there was an emphasis by Moore in the original story to maintain moral ambiguity and not portray the fascists as caricatures, but as real rounded characters.[5] The time limitations of a film also meant that the story had to omit or streamline some of the characters, details and plotlines from the original story.[3]

While V is characterized as a romantic freedom fighter in the film, V is portrayed as an anarchist with questionable tendencies in the graphic novel. He neither cooks breakfast for Evey, nor is he concerned about the loss of innocent life and is instead portrayed as something bizarre. Evey Hammond undergoes a more drastic change in the novel than she does in the film. At the beginning of the film, she is already a confident woman with a hint of rebellion in her, whereas in the graphic novel she starts off as an insecure, desperate young prostitute. By the end of the graphic novel, not only does she carry out V’s plans as she does in the film, but she also clearly takes on V’s identity. While the film portrays the Chancellor as a power hungry totalitarian figure, the novel paints him as a sympathetic and troubled character.

The setting in Moore’s original story was also much darker than the relatively secure setting of the film. In the graphic novel, a global nuclear war has destroyed Continental Europe and Africa, but has spared Britain. However, Britain stands isolated, and with a nuclear winter causing famine and massive flooding, there is a real fear that a collapse of the government would lead to disaster. (This makes V’s efforts to destroy the regime even more questionable.)

Norsefire in the film is largely based on present day fears of an ultra-conservative regime gone mad, whereas Norsefire in the original story is based on a fascist regime closer to that of the Nazis. In both stories Norsefire actively participates in the systematic elimination of homosexuals, racial minorities, and political dissidents from society. But whereas the ultra-conservative regime of tomorrow also targets Muslims, the fascist regime of yesterday is explicitly focused on the protection of racial purity. Despite playing down racial elements of the regime, the film retains the Aryan superhero Storm Saxon.

Several characters were completely omitted from the film, including Ms. Almond and Mr. and Mrs. Heyer. Also, the computer system "Fate" is completely missing from the film. (In the original story, Fate was a Big-Brother-like computer which served as Norsefire's eyes and ears and also helped explain how V could see and hear the things he did.) V's terrorist targets are different in the graphic novel, as he destroys Parliament and the Old Bailey in the beginning, and destroys 10 Downing Street for the finale. Finally, whereas the film ends in relatively peaceful overthrow, in the graphic novel there is a violent collapse of authority.

Themes

The film V for Vendetta can be viewed in the tradition of the other cautionary dystopian stories like It Can't Happen Here and Nineteen Eighty-Four, with the addition of some Matrix-style action elements. The story retains some of the anarchist themes of the original story and turns them into a medium for examining topics of terrorism and state control within a modern context. On a theatrical level, V for Vendetta sets the Gunpowder Plot as the V’s historical inspiration, contributing to his choice of timing, language and appearance. (For example, V’s pseudonym is Rokewood). Evey and V’s relationship contain many of the romantic elements from the Phantom of the Opera, where the masked Phantom takes Christine Daaé to his lair in order to reeducate her. Revenge is a central motivation for V and the film makes explicit connections to similar themes in the Count of Monte Cristo. The film also incorporates the idea of V as the embodiment of an idea rather than an individual, depicting V without a past, identity or face.

The Norsefire regime takes totalitarian imagery from many sources: fictional and non-fictional.
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The Norsefire regime takes totalitarian imagery from many sources: fictional and non-fictional.

As a film about the struggle between freedom and the state, V for Vendetta takes imagery from many classic totalitarian icons both real and fictional, including Nazi Germany and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.[3][16] For example, Adam Sutler (who was named after Adolf Hitler)[16] primarily appears on large video screens and on portraits in people's homes, reminiscent of Big Brother. In another reference to Orwell's novel, the slogan "Strength through Unity. Unity through Faith" is displayed prominently across London, similar to "War is peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength" in Orwell's Oceania. There is also the state's Orwellian use of mass surveillance, such as closed-circuit television, on its citizens. (Britain currently has the world's highest concentration of CCTV.)[18] Valerie was sent to a detention facility for being a lesbian and then had medical experiments performed on her, similar to Nazi Germany's treatment of gays during the Holocaust.[19] The Aryan-sounding Norsefire regime also uses red and black as their party colours, similar to the Nazi party. Norsefire has also replaced St George's Cross with the Cross of Lorraine as their Nordic-style national symbol. This was also the symbol used by Free French Forces in WWII, as it was a traditional French symbol of patriotism that could be used as an answer to the Nazi's Swastika. The media is also portrayed as highly subservient to government propaganda, a characteristic of totalitarian regimes in general.

Modern fears of totalitarianism

“We felt the novel was very prescient to how the political climate is at the moment. It really showed what can happen when society is ruled by government, rather than the government being run as a voice of the people. I don’t think it’s such a big leap to say that things like that can happen when leaders stop listening to the people.” — Director James McTeigue[3]

With the intention of making the film relevant to today’s audience, the filmmakers included many modern day references as well. For example, the culture of fear montage of news stories ordered by Sutler contains references to an avian flu pandemic. There is also pervasive use of biometric identification and signal-intelligence gathering and analysis by the regime. Many have also noted the numerous references in the film to events surrounding the current American administration. These include the "black bags" worn by the prisoners in Larkhill that have been seen as a reference to the black bags worn by prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.[20][21][22] Also London is under a yellow-coded curfew alert, which is similar to the U.S. Government's color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System.[23][24] One of the forbidden items in Gordon's secret basement is a protest poster with a mixed U.S.–UK flag with a swastika and the title "Coalition of the Willing, To Power." This is likely a reference to the real Coalition of the Willing that was formed for the Iraq War.[15] (At the same time, it also appears to be a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of Will to Power). As well, there is use of the term "rendition" in the film, in reference to the way the regime removes undesirables from society.[22] There is even a brief scene (during the Valerie flashback) containing real-life footage of an anti-Iraq war demonstration, with mention of President George W. Bush. Finally, the film contains reference's to "America's war" and "the war America started" as well as real footage from the Iraq War.

Much of the modern U.S. imagery is personified in the character Lewis Prothero. For example, his combat record seems to be an allusion to the war in Iraq and other parts of the Middle-East with strong political tensions ("Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria: before and after, Sudan").[25] As the talk show host “The Voice of London”, Prothero evokes the image of conservative American pundits like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, (particularly with Prothero's and Limbaugh's drug use).[14][15] Furthermore, with his rhetoric about God, gays, and Muslims, Prothero is likely to be a caricature of religious right-wing commentators like Pat Robertson.[23] (Prothero mentions that the U.S. itself has collapsed due to "Godlessness").

Despite the American specific references, the filmmakers have always referred to the film as adding dialogue to a much broader set of issues than the U.S. administration.[16] When James McTeigue was asked whether or not BTN was based on Fox News McTeigue replied, "Yes. But not just Fox. Everyone is complicit in this kind of stuff. It could just as well been the Britain's Sky News Channel."[24]

The letter V and the number 5

“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 a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone 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, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.” — V's introduction to Evey

In his battle with Creedy, V primes his daggers into the letter "V" before throwing them.
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In his battle with Creedy, V primes his daggers into the letter "V" before throwing them.

There is repeated reference to the letter “V” and the number five throughout the film. For example, V’s introductory monologue to Evey (above) begins and ends with “V”, has five sentences, and contains 49 words that begin with “V”. Similar references are made through V's background, choice of words and action. V is held in Larkhill cell number “V”. It is revealed that his favorite phrase is “By the power of truth, I, a living man, have conquered the universe”, which translates into the 5 "V"ed Latin phrase: “Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.” In a dance with Evey, the song V chooses is number five on his jukebox. When V confronts Creedy in his home, he plays Beethoven's "Fifth" Symphony, whose opening notes have a rhythmic pattern that resembles the letter “V” in Morse code (···–). The Symphony’s opening was used as a call-sign in the European broadcasts of the BBC during World War II in reference to Winston Churchill’s “V for Victory”. The film’s title itself, is also a reference to “V for Victory”. In the battle with Creedy and his men, V forms a “V” with his daggers just before he throws them. After the battle, when V is mortally wounded, he leaves a “V” signature in his own blood. The destruction of parliament results in a display of fireworks which display the letter “V”, which is also an inverted red-on-black “A” symbol for anarchy. Like the Old Bailey and Larkhill, Parliament was destroyed on the fifth of November.

Reception

As of May 2006, V for Vendetta has grossed (USD) $69,563,652 in the United States and $57,800,000 elsewhere, for a worldwide gross of $127,363,652. The film led the United States box office on its opening day, taking in an estimated $8,350,000 and remained the number one film for the remainder of the weekend, taking in an estimated total of $25,642,340. Its closest rival, Failure to Launch, took in $15,604,892.[1] The film debuted at number one in South Korea, Taiwan, Sweden, Singapore and the Philippines.[26] Despite the film taking place in Great Britain, the film did not reach number one at their box office on the opening weekend; instead, The Pink Panther took the number one spot. V for Vendetta also opened in 56 IMAX theaters in North America, grossing $1.36 million during the opening three days.[27]

The critical reception of the film was largely positive, with the film review collection website, Rotten Tomatoes, giving the film a 75% Fresh approval.[28] Ebert & Roeper gave the film two thumbs up with Roger Ebert stating that V for Vendetta "almost always has something going on that is actually interesting, inviting us to decode the character and plot and apply the message where we will."[29] Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton from At the Movies state that despite problems with not being able to see Hugo's face, there was good acting and an interesting plot, adding that the film is also disturbing with scenes reminiscent of Nazi Germany. [30] Jonathan Ross from the BBC blasted the film, calling it a "woeful, depressing failure" and stating that the "cast of notable and familiar talents such as John Hurt and Stephen Rea stand little chance amid the wreckage of the Wachowski siblings' dismal script and its particularly poor dialogue."[31] While Harry Guerin from RTÉ states the film "works as a political thriller, adventure and social commentary and it deserves to be seen by audiences who would otherwise avoid any/all of the three", adding that the film will become "a cult favourite whose reputation will only be enhanced with age"[32]

Comments from political sources

Overall the film V for Vendetta deals with issues of race, sexuality, religion, government control and terrorism. Its controversial storyline and themes have, inevitably, made it the target of both criticism and praise from different sociopolitical groups.

An anarchist group in New York City has used the release of the film to gain publicity for anarchism as a political philosophy. However, the group felt that the film waters down the anarchist message from the original story in order to satisfy mass Hollywood audiences, and instead focuses on destruction without proposing any alternatives.[33] Despite the lack of acceptance by anarchists, the film has brought renewed interest to Alan Moore's original story, as sales of the original graphic novel rose dramatically in the United States, placing the book firmly in the top sales at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.[34]

Many libertarians, especially at the Mises Institute's LewRockwell.com see the film as a positive depiction in favor of a free society with limited government and free enterprise, citing the state's terrorism as being of greater evil and rationalized by its political machinery, while V's acts are seen as 'terroristic' because they are done by a single individual.[35] Justin Raimondo, the libertarian editor of AntiWar.com, praised the film for its sociopolitical self-awareness and saw the film’s success as "helping to fight the cultural rot that the War Party feeds on".[14]

Several conservative Christian groups were critical of the film's negative portrayal of Christianity and sympathetic portrayal of homosexuality and Islam. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, called V for Vendetta "a vile, pro-terrorist piece of neo-Marxist, left-wing propaganda filled with radical sexual politics and nasty attacks on religion and Christianity".[36] Don Feder, a conservative columnist from Frontpage Magazine has called V for Vendetta "the most explicitly anti-Christian movie to date."[37] Meanwhile, LGBT commentators have praised the film for its positive depiction of gays, with writer Michael Jensen calling the film "one of the most pro-gay ever".[13]

Dave Saldana from the left-wing media group ZNet says that the regime’s treachery could have “come from today's newspaper [citing] secret tribunals, secret prisons, political scapegoats 'disappeared' and tortured, a too- cozy relationship between Big Business and government, TV blowhards and corrupt religious leaders helping the government do its dirty work, and a ruthless political henchman pulling the strings.”[38] However, David Walsh from the World Socialist Web Site criticizes V's actions as "antidemocratic" and cites the film as an example of "the bankruptcy of anarcho-terrorist ideology" stating that because the people have not played any part in the revolution, they will be unable to produce a "new, liberated society."[39]

References

  1. ^ a b c V for Vendetta (2006)”. boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 6 May 2006
  2. ^ a b c d V for Vendetta news”. vforvendetta.com. Warner Brothers. Retrieved 31 March 2006
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Production Notes for V for Vendetta”. official webpage. vforvendetta.com. Retrieved 14 April 2006
  4. ^ MOORE SLAMS V FOR VENDETTA MOVIE, PULLS LoEG FROM DC COMICS”. comicbookresources.com. Retrieved 5 June 2005
  5. ^ a b A FOR ALAN, Pt. 1: The Alan Moore interview”. MILE HIGH COMICS presents THE BEAT at COMICON.com. GIANT Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2006
  6. ^ a b c V for Vendetta - About the production”. ssfworld.com. Retrieved 22 April 2006
  7. ^ (March 23, 2006) “How E got the V in Vendetta”. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2006
  8. ^ Warner Bros. (2006) V for Vendetta Unmasked [TV-Special]. United States: Warner Bros..
  9. ^ James Purefoy Quit 'V For Vendetta' Because He Hated Wearing The Mask”. starpulse.com. Retrieved 7 April 2006
  10. ^ Rebels without a pause. Portman and Weaving fight the power in V for Vendetta”. MTV.com. Retrieved May 3, 2006
  11. ^ Film Interview – Stephen Rea / ‘V For Vendetta’ - The Rea Thing”. eventguide. InterArt Media. Retrieved 13 May 2006
  12. ^ Exclusive Interview with Stephen Fry - V for Vendetta”. filmfocus.com. Retrieved 19 April 2006
  13. ^ a b V for Vendetta: A Brave, Bold Film for Gays and Lesbians”. afterellen.com. Retrieved 6 April 2006
  14. ^ a b c Go See V for Vendetta”. Antiwar.com. Retrieved 8 April 2006
  15. ^ a b c Debbie Schlussel. “"V" for Vicious Propaganda”. FrontPage. Retrieved 17 May 2006
  16. ^ a b c d e V for Vendetta Press Footage”. Warner Bros.. Retrieved 30 April 2006
  17. ^ Natalie Portman's 'V For Vendetta' Postponed”. sfgate.com. Retrieved 25 April 2006
  18. ^ Parenti, Christian (June 3, 2002). “DC's Virtual Panopticon”. The Nation. Retrieved 13 May 2006
  19. ^ In 'Vendetta,' disastrous U.S. and British policymaking gives rise to terrorism -- what a shocker”. sfgate.com. Retrieved 3 May 2006
  20. ^ Gunpowder, treason and plot”. The Age. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 19 March 2006
  21. ^ Owen, Gleiberman. “EW review: 'V for Vendetta,' O for OK”. Retrieved 19 March 2006
  22. ^ a b David Denby. “BLOWUP: V for Vendetta”. The New Yorker. Conde Nast. Retrieved 13 March 2006
  23. ^ a b V for Vendetta”. Christianitytoday.com. Retrieved 29 April 2006
  24. ^ a b Germain, David. “'V' for Victory”. Monterey County Herald. Retrieved 10 April 2006
  25. ^ Rainer, Peter. “V for verbose vigilante”. Christian Science Monitor. First Church of Christ. Retrieved 17 March 2006
  26. ^ ‘V’ for (international) victory”. Boston Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2006
  27. ^ V for Vendetta Posts Strong IMAX Opening”. vfxworld.com. Retrieved 22 March 2006
  28. ^ V for Vendetta (2006)”. rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 6 April 2006
  29. ^ Ebert, Roger. “V for Vendetta”. rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 16 March 2006
  30. ^ V for Vendetta”. atthemovies.com. Retrieved 23 April 2006
  31. ^ Ross, Jonathon. “Jonathan on... V For Vendetta”. BBC. Retrieved 23 April 2006
  32. ^ Guerin, Harry. “V For Vendetta”. rte.ie. Retrieved 23 April 2006
  33. ^ A for Anarchy deleted scenes”. aforanarchy.com. Retrieved 8 April 2006
  34. ^ V for Vendetta Graphic Novel is a US Bestseller”. televisionpoint.com. Retrieved 2 April 2006
  35. ^ V for Vendetta”. lewrockwell.com. Retrieved 20 March 2006
  36. ^ Time Warner promotes terrorism and anti-Christian bigotry in new leftist movie, 'V for Vendetta'”. WorldNetDaily. Retrieved 4 April 2006
  37. ^ The Media's War on the "War on Christians" Conference”. frontpagemag. Retrieved 6 April 2006
  38. ^ A Political Parable With Swordfights”. Znet.com. Retrieved 9 May 2006
  39. ^ Confused, not thought through: V for Vendetta”. world socialist website. Retrieved 27 March 2006

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