- V for Vendetta (film)
] There is even a brief scene (during the Valerie flashback) that contains real-life footage of an anti-Iraq war demonstration, with mention of President
George W. Bush. Finally, the film contains references to "America's war" and "the war America started" as well as real footage from the Iraq War.
Despite the America-specific references, the filmmakers have always referred to the film as adding dialogue to a set of issues much broader than the U.S. administration. 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 NewsChannel, also a part of News Corp."
The letter V and the number 5
Similar to the graphic novel, there is repeated reference to the letter "V" and the number five throughout the film ("V" is the roman numeral for "5").cite news |last=Boudreaux |first=Madelyn |url=http://www.enjolrasworld.com/Annotations/Alan%20Moore/V%20for%20Vendetta/V%20for%20Vendetta%20Revised%20-%20Complete.html |title=An Annotation of Literary, Historic, and Artistic References in Alan Moore's Graphic Novel, V for Vendetta |publisher=Madelyn Boudreaux |date=2004-08-13 |accessdate=2007-01-04] For example, V's introduction to Evey is a monologue containing 49 words beginning with the letter "V" (50 V's including the one he draws on the wall, and 53 V's in the entire monologue, with V and the V on the wall making 55). V also finds it appropriate that this person that he has just met is named Evey, which could be interpreted as E-V, with E being the fifth letter of the alphabet and V the fifth from last. In Latin IV is pronounced the same way as Evey's name. With implicit and explicit references to
Guy FawkesDay, "V" echoes the fifth of November 1605. During his imprisonment at Larkhill, V was held in cell number "V". V's Zorro-like signature is also the letter "V". Also, there are 5 members of the Chancellor's board during the meetings they have throughout the film. Before the destruction of the Old Bailey, the bell which is ringing out, presumably Big Ben, tolls 5 times before the music intervenes and the explosion commences. During said explosion involving the Old Bailey, the fireworks form a red V configuration, completed by a circular firework, thus resembling not only V but the V for Vendetta logo. During his broadcast on the BTN, the red lights shining on the backdrop are angled to form a "V". It is revealed that V's personal motto is "By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe", which according to the film translates into the 4 "V"ed Latinphrase: "Vi Veri universum Vivus Vici". However the ancient Romans wrote the letter 'U' as 'V'. Therefore, if his motto is written as the Romans would have done, all 5 words start with V. Even if he didn't, though, "universum" at least contains a "V" in it. In a dance with Evey, the song V chooses is number five on his jukebox (although every song in his jukebox is number 5) and the title of it is five syllables long ("Cry Me a River"). 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 film’s title itself is a reference to "V for Victory",cite news | last=Skinn | first=Dez| work=qualitycommunications.com | title=CI #181: Special Web Preview of V FOR VENDETTA | url=http://www.qualitycommunications.co.uk/ci/preview181.htm |accessdate=2007-01-04 ] cite book |last= Moore |first= Alan |coauthors= David Lloyd |title= V for Vendetta|publisher= DC Comics|pages = Inside Cover |year= 2005 |month= November |isbn= 1401207928 ] the fifth symphony and the painting over Nazi posters with the V (as happens with Norsefire posters in the film) were both part of the Campaign. As V waits for night to fall, he arranges a complex domino pattern in black and red which forms the V logo. In the battle with Creedy and his men at Victoria station, V forms a "V" with his daggers just before he throws them. As they fly through the air, they form the letter "V" five times before hitting their targets, who are standing in a "V" formation. Succeeding in taking down all of Creedy's men, Creedy's gun fires five rounds at V before clicking empty. After the battle, when V is mortally wounded, he leaves a "V" signature in his own blood. After V battles Creedy the clock stands at 11:05 forming a "V", another Guy Fawkes reference given that the 11th month is November (the only month with a V in its name), and the 5 obviously being the fifth day. On the 5th of November, Evey is wearing a v-necked sweater. The destruction of Parliament results in a display of fireworks which form the letter "V", which is also an inverted red-on-black circle-a, representing anarchy.cite web | work=lewrockwell.com | title=A for Anarchy, E for Execution | url=http://www.lewrockwell.com/chu/chu14.html | accessdate=21 November | accessyear=2006] Additionally, the movie presents two plots; broadly speaking, that of V's past and the rise of Norsefire versus his "current" plot to blow up the Parliament building. Over the course of the film, these two elements begin to converge as the plot forms a sort of "V". When V appears on television nationwide, the black curtain behind him features two red lights angled in a "V" pattern. The film's title also contains 5 syllables. Also, according to numerology, the number five represents change and/or revolution. Number five is also 5th in the Fibonacci sequence ie 1,1,2,3,5.
As of December 2006"V for Vendetta" had grossed (USD) $70,511,035 in the United States and $62,000,000 elsewhere, for a worldwide gross of $132,511,035. The film led the United States box office on its opening day, taking in an estimated $8,742,504 and remained the number one film for the remainder of the weekend, taking in an estimated $25,642,340. Its closest rival, " Failure to Launch", took in $15,604,892. The film debuted at number one in the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Swedenand Taiwan.cite web | publisher=Boston Herald | title=‘V’ for (international) victory | url=http://theedge.bostonherald.com/movieNews/view.bg?articleid=131388 | accessdate=2006-03-22] Despite taking place in the UK, the film did not reach number one at the UK box office on opening weekend; instead, "The Pink Panther" took the number one spot. "V for Vendetta" also opened in 56 IMAXtheaters in North America, grossing $1.36 million during the opening three days.cite web | work=vfxworld.com | title=V for Vendetta Posts Strong IMAX Opening | url=http://www.vfxworld.com/?sa=adv&code=3631a5a1&atype=news&id=16457 | accessdate=2006-03-22]
The critical reception of the film was fairly positive, with
Rotten Tomatoesgiving the film a 73% Fresh approval.cite web | work=rottentomatoes.com | title=V for Vendetta (2006) | url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/v_for_vendetta/ | accessdate=2006-04-06] Ebert and Roeper gave the film a "two thumbs up" rating. Roger Ebertstated 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". Margaret Pomeranzand David Strattonfrom " At the Movies" state that despite the problem of never seeing Hugo's face, there was good acting and an interesting plot, adding that the film is also disturbing, with scenes reminiscent of Nazi Germany.cite web | work=atthemovies.com | title=V for Vendetta | url=http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1601485.htm | accessdate=2006-04-23] 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."cite web|last=Ross |first=Jonathan |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2006/03/14/film_2006_v_2006_article.shtml |title=Jonathan on... V for Vendetta |work=BBC |accessdate=2006-04-23] Sean Burns of " Philadelphia Weekly" gives the film a 'D', criticising the films treatment of its political message as being "fairly dim, adolescent stuff," as well as expressing dislike for the "barely decorated sets with television-standard overlit shadow-free cinematography by the late Adrian Biddle. The film is a visual insult." On Alan Moore removing his name from the project, Burns says "it's not hard to see why," as well as criticising Portman's performance: "Portman still seems to believe that standing around with your mouth hanging open constitutes a performance."cite web|last=Burns |first=Sean |url=http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/view.php?id=11780 |title=V for Vendetta |work=PW |accessdate=2007-07-28] Harry Guerin from the Irish TV network 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". He added that the film will become "a cult favourite whose reputation will only be enhanced with age."cite web|last=Guerin |first=Harry |url=http://www.rte.ie/arts/2006/0315/vforvendetta.html |title=V for Vendetta |work=rte.ie |accessdate=2006-04-23] "V for Vendetta" received few awards, although at the 2007 Saturn AwardsNatalie Portman won the Best Actress award. [cite news | author = David S. Cohen | title = 'Superman' tops Saturns | publisher = Variety | date = 2007-05-10| url = http://www.variety.com/awardcentral_article/VR1117964717.html?nav=news&categoryid=1983&cs=1 | accessdate=2007-05-11]
The film was nominated for the
Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Formin 2007.
Comments from political sources
"V for Vendetta" deals with issues of race, sexuality,
religion, totalitarianism, and terrorism. Its controversial story line and themes have, inevitably, made it the target of both criticism and praise from sociopoliticalgroups.
anarchistgroups have rejected the film, while others have used it as a means to promote anarchism as a political philosophy. On April 17, 2006 the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists (NYMAA) protested DC Comicsand Time Warner, accusing it of watering down the story’s original message in favour of violence and special effects.cite news |last= Launder |first= William |url= http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2006-05-02/launder-anarchistfight |title= "V" stands for very bad anarchist movie|publisher=Columbia News Service |date= 2006-05-02|accessdate=2007-01-05] cite news |last= Inducer |first= Smile |url= http://nymaa.org/node/243 |title= V for Vendetta? A For Anarchy!|publisher=NYMAA |date= 2006-09-28|accessdate=2007-01-05] David Graeber, an anarchist scholar and former professor at Yale University, was not upset by the film. "I thought the message of anarchy got out in spite of Hollywood." However, Graeber went on to state: "Anarchy is about creating communities and democratic decision making. That’s what is absent from Hollywood’s interpretation."
While the film may lack of acceptance by some anarchists, it has brought renewed interest to Alan Moore's original story, as sales of the original graphic novel rose dramatically in the United States.cite web | work=televisionpoint.com | title=V for Vendetta Graphic Novel is a US Bestseller | url=http://www.televisionpoint.com/news2006/newsfullstory.php?id=1143785410 | accessdate=2006-04-02] According to
Publishers Weekly, by the end of March 2006 "V for Vendetta" was the number one graphic novel and number four fiction trade paperback at Barnes & Nobleand was the number one graphic novel and the number three book on the overall bestseller list at Amazon.com.cite news |last=Reid |first=Calvin |url=http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6321550.html |title=B Is for Big Book Sales |publisher= Publishers Weekly|date= 2006-04-04|accessdate=2007-01-05]
Several market anarchists and other libertarians, including members from the Mises Institute and
LewRockwell.com, see the film as a positive depiction in favour of a free society with no government and free enterprise. They cite 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.cite news |last=Shaffer |first=Butler |url=http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer132.html |title=V for Vendetta |publisher=lewrockwell.com |date= 2006-03-20|accessdate=2007-01-04] Justin Raimondo, the libertarian editor of Antiwar.com, praised the film for its sociopolitical self-awarenessand saw the film's success as "helping to fight the cultural rot that the War Party feeds on".
In the United States, several conservative Christian groups were critical of the film's portrayal of
Christianityand 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-wingpropaganda filled with radical sexual politics and nasty attacks on religion and Christianity".cite news |last=Baehr |first=Ted |url=http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49317 |title=Time Warner promotes terrorism and anti-Christian bigotry in new leftist movie, 'V for Vendetta' |publisher=WorldNetDaily |date= 2006-03-17|accessdate=2007-01-04] Don Feder, a conservative columnist, has called "V for Vendetta" "the most explicitly anti-Christian movie to date"cite news |last=Feder |first=Don |url=http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21871 |title=The Media's War on the "War on Christians" Conference |publisher=Frontpagemag.com |date=2006-03-31 |accessdate=2007-01-04] that "combines all of the celluloid left’s paranoid fantasies".cite news |last=Feder |first=Don |url=http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21715 |title=V for Vapid |publisher=Frontpagemag.com |date= 2006-03-20|accessdate=2007-01-04] Film critic Richard Roeperdismissed these sentiments on the television show "Ebert & Roeper" saying that V's terrorist label is applied in the movie "by someone who's essentially Hitler, a dictator."cite web |url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/news/comments/?entryid=303317 |title=ROTTEN TOMATOES: Ebert & Roeper: "V for Vendetta" Dark, Thoughtful, And That's Good |accessdate=2007-05-13] Meanwhile, LGBTcommentators have praised the film for its positive depiction of gays, with writer Michael Jensen calling the film "one of the most pro-gay ever".
David Walsh from the
World Socialist Web Sitecriticizes 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."cite news |last=Walsh |first=David |url=http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/mar2006/vend-m27.shtml |title=Confused, not thought through: V for Vendetta |publisher=World Socialist Website |date= 2006-03-27|accessdate=2007-01-04]
Differences between the film and graphic novel
:"For more information, see
V for Vendetta."The film's story was adapted from an Alan Moore comic originally published between 1982 and 1985 in the British comic anthology "Warrior", and then reprinted and completed by DC. These comics were 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.There are several fundamental differences between the film and the original source material. For example, the comic is set in the '90s, while the film is set in 2038: Alan Moore's original story was created as a response to British Thatcherismin the early 80s and was set as a conflict between a fasciststate 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, and abandons the original anarchist-fascist themes. Moore states, "There wasn't a mention of anarchy as far as I could see. The fascism had been completely defanged. I mean, I think that any references to racial purity had been excised, whereas actually, fascists are quite big on racial purity." Furthermore, in the original story, Moore attempted to maintain moral ambiguity, and not to portray the fascists as caricatures, but as realistic, rounded characters. The time limitations of a film meant that the story had to omit or streamline some of the characters, details, and plotlines from the original story. Chiefly, whereas the original graphic novel has the fascists elected legally and kept in power through the general apathy of the public, the film introduces the "St. Mary's virus," a biological weapon engineered and released by the Norsefire party as a means of clandestinely gaining control over their own country.
Many of the characters from the graphic novel underwent significant changes for the film. For example, V is characterized in the film as a romantic freedom fighter who shows concern over the loss of innocent life. However, in the graphic novel, he is portrayed as ruthless, willing to kill anyone who gets in his way. Evey Hammond's transformation as V's protégé is also much more drastic in the novel than 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 woman forced into
prostitution. V and Evey's relationship, strictly platonic in the original novel, develops romantically in the film, ending with mutual pledges of love. In the graphic novel's finale, she not only carries out V's plans as she does in the film, but also clearly takes on V's identity. Whereas in the film Inspector Finch sympathizes with V, in the graphic novel he is determined to stop V and goes as far as taking LSDin order to enter into a criminal's state of mind. Characters who were completely omitted from the film or had a significantly reduced role include Rose Almond, Alistair Harper, and Mrs. Heyer.
The graphic novel's main villains also underwent changes in the film adaptation. While the Chancellor within Moore's text is a brutal dictator, he is also a lonely, socially inept man who truly believes in fascism, and, in the end, wishes merely to be accepted and loved by his people. The film, however, presents none of these human qualities. Creedy, meanwhile, evolves from a relatively minor character in the graphic novel to one of the chief characters of the film adaptation; in the film, he is revealed to have been the brains behind the bioterror attack that Norsefire used to seize power. His personality is also somewhat revamped in the film; whereas he is a coarse, petty opportunist in the graphic novel, in the film he is an icy
sociopathwhom V calls "a man seemingly without a conscience, for whom the ends always justify the means."
The setting and plot of the film were also changed from the original story. Whereas the film only mentions the United States' civil war and collapse, in the graphic novel, it is mentioned that a global nuclear war has destroyed much of the world outside of Britain. With a
nuclear wintercausing famine and massive flooding, there is a real fear that a collapse of the Norsefire government would lead to disaster. Whereas the film ends in a relatively peaceful overthrow, in the graphic novel there is a violent collapse of authority. Other differences include the computer system "Fate", which 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 also different in the graphic novel, as he destroys Parliament and the Old Bailey in the beginning, and destroys 10 Downing Streetfor the finale.
DVD and high definition releases
"V for Vendetta" was released on DVD in the US on August 1, 2006 in three formats: a single-disc wide-screen version, a single-disc full-screen version, and a two-disc wide-screen special edition. The single disc versions contain a short (15:56) behind-the-scenes
featurettetitled "Freedom! Forever! Making V for Vendetta" and the film's theatrical trailer, whereas the two-disc special edition contains three additional documentaries, and several extra features for collectors. On the second disc of the special edition, a short Easter egg clip of Natalie Portman on " Saturday Night Live" can be viewed by selecting the picture of wings on the second page of the menu. The film has also been released on the HD DVDhigh definition format, which features a unique 'in-movie experience' created exclusively for the disc. Warner Bros. later released the video on Blu-Ray, on May 20, 2008. The Movie also saw release on Sony's PSP UMD Format.
The Moore/Lloyd graphic novel was re-released as a hardback collection in October 2005 to tie into the film's release (originally November 5, 2005). "(Moore was reportedly furious to notice that the true first printing was marred by a spelling mistake on the back cover, and unceremoniously disposed of his complimentary copies.)"
*Moore, Alan & Lloyd, David, "
V for Vendetta" ( Vertigo Comics, October 12, 2005) ISBN 1401207928
A novelisation of the film was written by Steve Moore (although the two Moores are often linked, they are not related), based on the Wachowski Brothers' script and released in January, 2006.
*Moore, Steve, "V for Vendetta" (Pocket Star, Jan 31, 2006) ISBN 1416516999
A behind-the-scenes book was written by Wachowski-collaborator Spencer Lamm (Lamm produced much of the content of [http://www.whatisthematrix.com TheMatrix.com] ; edited "The Art of The Matrix" and volumes of
The Matrixcomics, and is also involved in the Brothers' Burlyman Entertainmentcomics venture) and published in August, 2006.
*Lamm, Spencer, "V for Vendetta: From Script to Film" (Universe, August 22, 2006) ISBN 0789315033
A soundtrack CD featuring music from the film was released by Astralwerks on Mar 21, 2006. Alongside
Dario Marianelli's score are songs by Julie London, Cat Powerand Antony & the Johnsons. The final track (by Marianelli) - "Knives and Bullets (and Cannons Too)" - incorporates the pivotal piece of music from the film: Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. David J(of Bauhausfame)'s 1983 'soundtrack' to the V for Vendetta"comic" was re-released to tie-into the film, on June 13, 2006. Moore approached David J for help with setting "The Vicious Cabaret" (an episode of the comic which takes the form of a fully-scored musical piece) to music. J also wrote other musical pieces inspired by the comic series.
As well as promotional items created to publicise the film (which included a shoulder bag and bust of the Guy Fawkes - 'V' -mask), replicas of the mask and action figures were released. Figures (released by NECA) include a 12" action figure which speaks phrases from the film, a 12" resin statue and a 7" figure.
(Semi-) Official V costumes have been created for
Halloween. These range from the 'full' costume (cape, hat, mask and dagger-belt) to various individual aspects - gloves, hat, mask, hair, daggers, etc. - which are available both separately and in combinations.
Project Chanology, an internet founded-group whose members use the same Guy Fawkesmasks.
* [http://vforvendetta.warnerbros.com/ Official "V for Vendetta" site] at Warner Brothers
* [http://www.vforvendettamovie.co.uk/ UK Site]
* [http://www.aforanarchy.tk/ A For Anarchy] – Project which used the release of the film to promote anarchism.
* [http://www.goanonymous.org/ Go Anonymous] A site explaining project Chanology, with a common theme of the Guy Fawkes mask.
* [http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_5.3/jacobsen.htm V for Vendetta – Graphic Enough? by Kurt Jacobsen]
Box Office Leaders USA
Failure to Launch
date = March 19
year = 2006
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.