“People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.”
Those words spoken early on by “V for Vendetta’s” villainous good guy set the stage for the remainder of the movie.
“Vendetta” opens with a brief overview of Guy Fawkes, and why the British still celebrate Nov. 5 in his honor.
On that date in 1605, Fawkes conspired to blow up the English Parliament for English Catholics to revolt against the British government, which enforced heavy laws against the Catholic religion.
Although Fawkes was caught and subsequently hanged, a holiday was started in his honor.
Push time forward 400-and-some-odd years, and we find the American government in shambles and the British government as the greatest power known.
But the audience learns within minutes that England’s dominance came at a heavy price.
In order to have a flourishing government and be on God’s good side, members of the English government eradicate all individuality.
All religions but Christianity, homosexuality and anything that could make people want to question the government were eradicated — blacklisted, as it was called in “Vendetta.”
There were media outlets, but were all government-controlled so the public got only the messages the government wanted them to hear.
And, to put the icing on the cake, there was one supreme chancellor. Adam Sutler was a Hitler-esque, ruthless dictator.
This is the stage in which we find Evey (Natalie Portman) walking the dark streets past the government-inflicted curfew.
She is almost attacked by three corrupt officers, but V, dressed in black and wearing a Fawkes mask and wig appears.
He takes her to the top of a building where they talk about the times in which they live and about how things must change.
As the seconds of Nov. 4 end and midnight strikes, an orchestra plays throughout the city’s intercom system and one of England’s most prized monuments explodes.
After the government ran a fake news story the next day that reports them demolishing the building, V (Hugo Weaving) breaks into the TV station – and Evey’s workplace – and broadcasts a message sent to every TV in the city.
V tells the people the government is overstepping its boundaries, and he encourages the people of London to join him in a revolt against the British government on next year’s Guy Fawkes Day.
From then on, occurrences in the country influence the people’s decision on what do to the next November.
But the choice is most important for Evey, who was orphaned after her revolutionary parents were black-bagged – that is, taken away to prison never to be seen again.
But more noticeable than the protagonist being labeled a terrorist, or Portman sporting a buzz cut, is the film’s underlying message.
Although it was not as action-packed as I had hoped, it made me want to question my surroundings.
I thought about the unnecessary war being fought and the issues surrounding the U.S. government’s illegal wire tapping, and I now claim my individuality more than ever.
The movie also displayed how far the government would go to scare its people into submission.
Later in the movie, it was discovered that the virus that killed hundreds of thousands of people was more than a freak occurrence.
But most notably, “V for Vendetta” is the first big Hollywood movie to handle terrorism since that fateful day in 2001.
But in “Vendetta,” the government’s terrorist is the people’s freedom fighter.
There was a small twinge of fear about how the movie-watching public was going to react to a terrorist as the good guy.
But judging from the $26.1 million it made this weekend, and its No. one box-office spot, the people did not mind that much.
The movie was entertaining, but it also educated me. I was taught to observe, listen and question everything.
Vendetta was also visually stunning, giving Weaving (Agent Smith from the Matrix trilogy) a chance to flex his martial-arts muscle.
Although there were moments that were simply dull, entertainment, information and visuals earns “Vendetta” a B in my book.
Grade BContact Brandon D. Oliver at email@example.com