Remember, remember, the fifth of November

So last night I met up with Jennetic at the Rotunda to see V for Vendetta. (Warning, Phil, this post contains spoilers).

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

November 5th, which, in 1605, was when Guy Fawkes tried to assassinate the king and blow up the Parliment at Westminster Palace. He was captured and executed, but as V, the somewhat questionable hero of “V for Vendetta” explains, “You can kill a man, but you can’t kill a symbol.”

In a future England, the country has become a police state — a thug by the name of Sattler has risen to power using similar tactics to Hitler. Y’know the drill, but instead of torching the Reichstag, he poisoned and bombed British citizens, blamed it on religious fanatics, and presto-voila! A police state was born. (Meanwhile, the United States has apparently collapsed into civil war).

All we know about V is that he was used for medical experiments at a secret camp somewhere north of London. He’s horribly burned, and not just a little bitter about the treatment he recieved. To that end, he enjoys assaulting the Secret Police, blowing up parts of London, and embarassing the hell out of the fascist government — oh, he’s also systematically assassinating every party member involved in the secret medical experiments. He’s also a little nuts — his favorite movie is The Counte of Monte Christo (he views himself a bit as Edward Dontes) and he enjoys sparring with a suit of armor while watching it.

Into this, Evie finds herself brought after she is assaulted and nearly gang-raped by a bunch of horny and rather ugly Secret Police members. Who should show up but our masked vigilante who displays talent with a variety of sharp and lethal knives. It’s tricky getting used to a character whose face you never see, particularly in terms of dialogue — for most of his introductory sequence I was almost guessing if he was the person speaking.

During all of this, London’s chief inspector, during his investigation of the homicides of many party members (courtesy of V), begins to uncover information about the series of events which turned Britain into a police state, that force him to question his loyalty to his government.

V’s ultimate motive is to fulfill Guy Fawkes’ mission and blow up the Parliment. It’s rather meaningless, there being no longer an elected government, but he thinks it will do well, as a symbol, to bring hope back to the people of Britain, who have long since been in deep fear for their lives, as even an innocent off-the-cuff remark can result in jail. Evie at first is resistant to V’s quest, betraying him even, but after she witnesses an old boss (the Jay Leno of England) being violently arrested and beaten after a skit that takes a shot at the government, her mind is made up and hardened after her own prison ordeal — and it is finally she, not V, who puts into motion Fawkes’ plan, while above ground, thousands of angry citizens tired of being frightened march towards the heavily armed soldiers blocking their path …

This was a very good movie. Probably the first I’ve enjoyed this much since Batman Begins — it just works for me. I never read the comic it was based on, so I can’t judge it there, but as a story of oppressed good working for omnipresent evil, and on character growth and exploration and, y’know, gratuitous violence, it was very very very enjoyable.

After the movie, Jenn and I went over to Dizzy Issie’s for beer and food. I had a Bass Ale and a bacon cheeseburger. This morning I was three pounds less than I was yesterday. God I love being me.

(I almost bought a Jeep today, but then common sense found me and I didn’t. Thank goodness).

6 thoughts on “Remember, remember, the fifth of November

  1. I absolutely loved this movie. The first scene with V when he goes on and on using every V-word in the dictionary, I thought to myself, “If the whole movie is like this, I’m out of here…” but I was glad to see that it didn’t do that at all. And I was very comfortable with never seeing V’s face, the actor (Hugo something?) who played him did a great job of using hand motions to express emotion, in place of facial expressions.

  2. I also liked this movie and thought it was well done. I don’t know if you read this trivia bit, but V was actually originally started by an actor called James Purefoy (who was Mark Antony in the HBO Rome series). He and the filmmakers were having “issues” and he was replaced/left by Weaving, yet they were far enough into filming that they didn’t re-shoot all of the scenes. So there are quite a few where Purefoy is the one under the mask and they just re-did the voice over.

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