Saturday, March 18, 2006We Interrupt This Interruption In Blog Posting To Bring You A Blog Post
I just saw V for Vendetta. As I've already said to a couple of lucky others, it was fucking awesome. (And if you're one of them, why are you reading this? Didn't I tell you not to?) Anyway, this isn't going to be a proper review of the film because, to be honest, the only sufficient review of it will be the reaction you personally feel, and I don't want to screw that up for you.
Having said that, a few random thoughts, in no particular order:
This film is not, contrary to the popular line, about the United States or about George W. Bush. The very, very first thing the film does is to completely reject that notion -- this version of this story has certainly been firmly rooted in our current world, with all its political complexities, but it's spelled out in no uncertain terms that the United States and its 2006-vintage reality could not possibly be more irrelevant to the story. Anyone who seriously claims otherwise wasn't paying attention.
It should then go without saying that this is also not a "liberal" film. This one's not about left and right, it's about capital-F Fascism. Whatever parallels you draw between that subject and our current political landscape I leave you to mull over on your own.
In conjuction to the statement above, it's also just a movie. It's supposed to be fun, and it is if you let it be. It's not a perfect movie -- there are a few lumps in the bedspread -- but it's a solidly-crafted movie nonetheless, and to my mind one of the most successful interpretations of a graphic source yet filmed. I know how Alan Moore feels about it, and I have nothing but respect for that, but honestly this film is only a testament to his obvious brilliance. (That link, by the way, leads to an interview with the man that demonstrates that, whatever brilliance exists in the film, it must be largely credited to Moore. I do actually disagree with some of what he says here, but it should all be taken into account. Just do it after you see the film, not before.)
And finally, I strongly suspect that you could apply any number of possible meanings to this story. It can be about Thatcher's Britain, it can be about Bush's America, it can very easily be about Bush's Iraq, it can be about your own inner-conflict, it can be about society's inner-conflict regarding all of the above. Anything with that kind of fertility has to be worth a $6 matinee ticket, right?
Things I particularly appreciated:
- It's deliciously ambiguous. It really does take some talent to pull off something so lacking in comfortable, simple answers built on such a satisfying, fully-realized plot. (Maybe it is a bit "liberal" after all in its willingness to sit and ponder our own fallible righteousness. Not that I would expect someone who'd reject the film for its politics to understand that concept.)
- This story is drawn (obviously) much more from British society than American society. Some rudimentary knowledge of British history and culture will help you pick up a little extra nuance.
- It actually convinced me to genuinely like Natalie Portman.
- It's brazen enough as a film to occasionally, subtly break its own internal reality -- to remind you that it is, in fact, just a film; and even better, its doing so somehow manages to reinforce the internal reality it just ruptured. Now that's impressive (not to mention tastily post-modern.)
- They made a chubby, mousy little girl with coke-bottle glasses a minor hero in the film. And that might just be one of the most culturally-subversive elements in the whole movie.
To sum up: it's chewy and delicious and highly recommended. I myself have every intention of seeing it again before it leaves the cinemas, as well as reading Moore's version (of which I've already read bits, but not the whole thing), and then everything else he's done that I can get my hands on. |