BEHIND THAT BEAUTIFUL SMILE
“Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.” – V For Vendetta
There are very few films which aid you find something true about yourself. V For Vendetta falls under one such category. Wachowskis, the scriptwriters of the film, incredibly blessed artists themselves along with the director James McTeigue came up with this political thriller which conveyed crucial messages. Messages that in reality are the Truth.
#IDEOLOGY OF THE FILM:
“We are told to remember the idea and not the man. Because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten. But 400 years later… …an idea can still change the world.”
The entire film is based on the ideology that ideas are bulletproof but men aren’t. The belief and the actions of a man trying to blow up the parliament is carried on 400 years later by the character ‘V’. The reason why the protagonist of the film wears a mask is because of the revolution that is bound to happen. It doesn’t matter to which Caste, Creed, Religion or Gender one belongs to. All that matters is the idea. And that is precisely the reason the character ‘V’ is shown with an unknown past, as a mystery man.
“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.”
If you had noticed the scenes towards the end closely, you will notice that among the people who lift their masks to witness the demolition of the parliament, the people who were “killed” earlier are now “alive”. This scene is a reiteration of the fact that despite their death, the cause for which they stood for continues to endure. We understand here that “Truth”, no matter what, will always be eternal.
#HINTS POINTING TO THE TRUTH:
The movie is set in the time period of late 2020’s where the United States of America is shown in turmoil after a biological warfare, which has crippled the world. However, the United Kingdom is still secure. It is an irony to see USA crippled especially after the United States of America’s (USA) rise to power after the World War II, which is nothing in short of a biological catastrophe. Also, the film shows a biological holocaust, which actually was a mastermind by the High Chancellor, Adam Sutler, which led him to power. This could actually raise doubts about the genesis of the ‘Ebola Virus’, ‘HIV Virus’ etc.
Certain scenes such as the ones relating to the surveillance of phone conversation to determine the mentality of the public clearly raises the privacy concerns. Edward Snowden’s leak of the global surveillance disclosures simply affirms the fact that there are some who are extremely paranoid about the way the common man thinks. Yet, we continue to post our pictures, locations, videos and our thoughts on various social networking sites.
The movie shows the British High Chancellor, a totalitarian, having taken total control of the media to control the thought process and the perspectives of the public. He ultimately decides what the people want and have to think. In the movie the public are absorbed into the ‘authentic reports’ from the news channels. This actually raises doubts about the credibility of our governments in reality. If the power of media is at the discretion of the government, then media is nothing but a tool to manipulate the thought process of the public.
The Larkhill Detention Camp is shown as a classified center to conduct human experiments on individuals who were considered as ‘undesirables’. This is a direct reference to the Hitler’s regime where the Jews were ill-treated and subjected to experiments in the detention camps. Despite this being a reference to a historical event, an element of doubt still exists in my mind.
#EVEN THE ROCKS CRY OUT:
After the release of the film, there was much speculation as to whether V was a terrorist or not. Some considered him to be a ‘terrorist’, owing to the fact he was responsible for death of several other civilians in his fulfillment of the greater good. But, one thing which we need to remind ourselves is that, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. “ V believed in a cause wherein the government had to be afraid of the people and not the other way round. He believed that the people needed hope more than a building- the Parliament. With that being said, it is redundant to question if he indeed was a terrorist or not.
Secondly, V breaks down towards the end where he says to Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) that he thought he was filled with hate. He thought he’d die with hate in his veins. But everything changed after his encounter with Evey. He fell in love with her. He was moved when Evey never disclosed any information about him despite being tortured. Another scene implying the same message was the climax when the Army Chief commanded his soldiers to lay down the arms, when civilians openly floated the curfew, because at the end of the day, they were humans.
As much as the film has conveyed the supposedly classified acts of the government, the film actually had a philosophical flavor to it. Evey is someone who has no concern of the future. She was a confused individual who couldn’t stand up to something that she truly believed in. When Evey gets captured she is tortured ruthlessly to reveal the whereabouts of ‘V’, but she doesn’t disclose any information. In her cell she finds a letter left by a former prisoner named Valerie who was deemed undesirable because of her homo-sexual behavior.
“I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. It’s small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.”
Evey finally sees the truth. She understands it now. She realizes the actions of her hypocritical government. She finally takes a stand. She finally vows to not disclose ‘V’’s whereabouts because she understands that he was in fact trying to free the people. He was trying to free them from the prison of fear. The guard takes her back to her cell and makes one last plea before her death to her to save herself by “just give them something, anything.” She calmly refuses and the guard then says “Then you have no fear any more. You’re completely free” and walks away leaving the door open.
The officers believed that they had removed all her feelings and emotions and left her only with life. But, even at the face of death, she had something apart from her life. Evey at that moment was holding something more dearly to her than life. It was an ideal. All of us have that ‘something’, which is extremely precious to us. Something which we must never lose, sell or give away. Something, which matters more than our lives. Let our lives be in search of that ‘something’!
Movies, books, dramas are not just meant for fun. They are a depiction of our culture. An identity which holds us together even in the deepest of crisis. A look into the history reveals, that the first thing a foreign nation would try to destroy in an enemy territory is their language and literature. You destroy a nation’s literature, you are in fact erasing its history. You are crippling a nation of its identity and its ability to think. You make the people feel that their sense of identity is worthless and redundant. Movies have a deeper sense of understanding than books these days. Movies such as V for Vendetta, The Matrix Trilogy etc have multi-faceted dimensions to it. The interpretations are multi layered and there is much scope for philosophy. As Dan Brown famously quoted, “Milk for children and meat for men”, let us all strive to explore the meat and take home something valuable at the end of 3 hours.