Cynicism in V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is an incredibly cynical film and this scene in particular really sums up the political comment it is making.  This is a world of tyranny where England has become the supreme world power through a corrupt government.  That government is run by a few horrible people willing to do horrible things to attain more control

In the scene, the audience takes on a bigger role as we see this broadcast the same way the rest of the world in the film sees it.  Their world is surrounded by televisions (much like ours) and there is really no escape from V.  The claustrophobic editing makes the message seem personal, as if he’s addressing us; especially when he says, “If you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror”.  His cynicism is emphasized by the grandiose scale of his recording.  It is literally playing on every television in the country; in every home and in every bar.  He blames people, not only the ones in government, but everyone under it for being complacent and for helping to put these people in power.  He blames people for believing things just because there were told and for playing coy to the horrors going on around them.

The film is an adaptation of the 1982 graphic novel and was obviously inspired and in many ways commenting on historical events such as Vietnam and the Cold War.  Ironically, 20 years later, the film seems to have even more relevance as America is portrayed as a country falling apart.  With our country dealing with extreme economic strain and war, the novel’s cynical predictions become eerily revealing in the film.  Sensors are different today, but in the 60’s and 70’s, movies were banned for their political views.  In the film itself, even the news is censored.  In “Home Made America: A Cultural History of Movies” by Robert Sklar, he talks about the Vietnam movies like Deer Hunter and how they were pulled from theaters despite their success.  War movies disturbed people and they made them questions their government’s actions.  V for Vendetta basically accuses governments and the people in them of being too greedy for their own good.  This is definitely more of an anti- government movie than an anti-war movie, but it is cynical nonetheless. 

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One response to “Cynicism in V for Vendetta

  1. I love that you pointed out how the editing of the speech is interactive with the audience. We really do feel like we are a member of this society that is being awakened to a corrupt government that has only been allowed to remain in power due to the passiveness of the people. We feel guilty, as if it is our own doing, and V’s charismatic speech inspires a sudden rebelliousness that has actually been festering in the hearts of these people for years.

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