Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Phantom Of The Vendetta



I saw 'V For Vendetta' today, at the newly reopened Crossroads Theaters. It's bigger. That's about all I can say about it. As for the movie, it's entertaining. It starts off thrillingly, and like too many movies these days, loses nearly all of its narrative energy in about 20 minutes. We get spoon fed a lot of stuff in the middle that should be shown instead of told (interestingly, we get scenes reported to us by characters that then proceed to be dramatized, piecemeal). Natalie Portman is cute as a button, speaks in a passable English accent, and Hugo Weaving does a lot of thankless acting behind a mask.

The biggest issue by far is whether the film glorifies terrorism. I applaud the filmmakers for even raising the question of when is terrorism justified, and they do a reasonable job of leaving the question up to the viewer, but the film confuses the issue. For one, terrorism, the murder of innocents, is never justified. Period. Once you commit to random bloodshed of this sort, you conceed defeat. Your objectives can't be attained militarily, or politically. Terrorism, as widespread and horrific as it is, has never achieved anything for its proponents other than protracted semi-warfare that states either learn to accept (Israel) or will not tolerate (America). The film wants to have V a rebel against a vicious, Nazi style regime. No one would object to standing up to this kind of oppression, but V doesn't kill innocent people. He murders the architects of his country's facisim, and destroys its monuments. The destruction of Parliment is truly breathtaking -- literally -- but you can't imagine Americans thinking Timothy McViegh justified in his actions. To take it a step further, no campaign of domestic terrorism aimed at destabilizing the Bush administration would garner the support of Americans, regardless of their political leanings. Anarchy in the USA? Sure. T for terrorism? Never.

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