“The past can’t hurt you anymore. Not unless you let it. They made you into a victim, Evey. They made you into a statistic. But, that’s not the real you. That’s not who you are inside” In the film. V for Vendetta directed by James McTeigue, he signifies the rebellion against exploitation of an oppressing government. Symbolism is demonstrated to juxtapose the theme of identity and the rebellion against forced conformity. The viewers are taken through the life of Evey, She is living in near-futuristic London, which has been over taken by a fascist government, where simple rights are suppressed and freedom is stripped. As the movie progresses, Evey starts to take on the identity of V and the rebellion inside her that started off small begins to take over her; she is no longer afraid. The viewers then quickly learn of the main party in the film; V is a romantic vigilante who does not conform to this regime that the government has created. He holds concern over the loss of innocent life that has been taken for them being who they were. His aim is to change the governments ways by acting against it using different methods and tactics in hopes that the people will follow him. He wishes to mould a brand new society where freedom isn’t suppressed nor where human rights don’t exist with his idea being to retain peace and strip power from the government. Throughout the film, the director has used symbolism, camera angles and sound in order to portray the film in a way in which viewers are able to feel and think about the crucial ideas and reflect on the consequences that come in this kind of world. James McTeigue’s intention in this film is slightly more complex than most. There are themes about how the government should be afraid of its people and not vise versa. There are a few intense moments where the politicians use lies to cover the up the truth. The society that they live in was actually created through the idea of fear. Their own fear forced them to choose a government that had promised safety. When Evey believed she was being held prisoner by not telling them where V was, she realised that when she was removed of her mentality and physicality, the only thing she had left was her life. She didn’t give in to torture because she still had integrity. The experience of torture and accepting she would rather die than to conform, released her from her fear.
“You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.” The most crucial symbol used in the film is V’s mask. The main purpose for this was to not give V an identity, but purely to make him a symbol. V is everybody, he is not the portrayal of just one character, but is all the people in the society; the people who the government wronged. By wearing this mask, V becomes something greater than himself. He becomes the living soul of an ideal, an ideal that is reflected in everyone. They portray and hide the loss of a person’s identity. It isn’t just V who hides his truth with a mask, it is also seen in Evey. In the beginning, a close up shot is used of Evey putting makeup on her face, this is her mask in order to pretend she is confident and to hide her constant fear. The mask also represents opposition and revolt, which is the belief that V holds dearly. The story poses an illogical dystopia in which time is the means and end for fascism. In domino scene, the viewers see an organised motif of both red and black dominoes set up in the shape of a V, paralleling the protagonist with his belief. The film uses both diegetic and nondiegetic sounds. There is a variation between the two kinds of sounds; however this is faded in to create significance between two events. In the domino scene when V releases his finger and the dominoes fall and the riot begins, we can see a lot of interchange between diegetic and nondiegetic sounds. The sound of falling dominos begins to increase in volume and becomes more chaotic and overwhelming. It is at this very point that the sound of a crowd’s enraged cries begins to fade into it. There is a quick cut to a long shot of a riot. The fusion of diegetic and nondiegetic sounds. reaches a peak, where the sound of the dominos falling is almost completely drowned out by what could be either a gun shot or perhaps a helicopter. This connection can be defined as a sound bridge. In this instance, the sound bridge is used to create a symbolic motif in the audience’s mind between the cascade of dominos set off by V, and the riots taking place outside.
These dominoes portray symbolism as they are a representation of his ploy. They are an organised sequence in which demonstrates what V is doing with the dominos and what is occurring in the outside world. He places them side by side, cutting between the two events so the viewers shape a connection between them. At the beginning of the scene it shows V placing the first domino and then cuts to a long shot of various trucks driving, containing boxes of the masks that V exhibits. This is showing juxtaposition as this is seen as the first part of V’s ploy which can be related back to the first domino he flicks over with his gloved hand that covers burns from the government. In this scene the viewers are able to think about the link between what is taking place and how strong V wants this. They are impacted emotionally through what the are viewing. If we were to view this as from a societal point of view, we can see that sometimes the events that take place, are linked through different people, places and sometimes can just happen for a coincidence. Sometimes it is out of our hands of what happens and most times we cannot do anything about it, sometimes these things slip through our fingers and we must allow it to pan out in front of us.
“Die die, why won’t you die?” In this film, the director has purposely used different cinematography techniques to enhance meaning and the messages in the film. In the final fight scene, he has used different camera angles and different sequences of sound to demonstrate the significance of how passionate V is to rebuild and reshape London’s society. From the very beginning of the film, the viewers learn how strongly afraid the people are by the government and they feel that they must obey. When the fight scene begins, the idea of control and authority is highlighted. The director has used parallel action and symbolism to enhance the audiences understanding of the change in power and authority through the direct contrast. In the scene, V is shown to gain power over Adam Sutler through the use of a high angle on Sutler and a low angle on Adam. The high angles are showing the loss of power while low angles show gain of power. James McTeigue has also used symbolism to demonstrate the ideas of power. In this scene, the viewers can see the chancellor as being the main party, he is being focused on by using a close-up shot, which means the audience are able to understand his facial expressions and how serious he is. He demonstrates confidence and power and shows he knows fully what he intends to do to stop V. The close up shot then cuts to a low angle which represents how much authority he has. This causes the viewers to feel lesser than the chancellor. When we are looked down upon this makes us believe that we are something smaller than what we are and could be. We start to believe that there are people better than us, but the truth is; we are all human. This makes the audience feel powerless and unimportant.
Being held under such a forceful dictatorship, the society is made to follow what they believe is the truth. As the scene progresses, we see a figure emerge, with a black bag covering his head, and the viewers come to learn that it is the chancellor. This makes the viewers feel worried. There is confusion that lingers as he now understands V’s ploy. This is also the first scene in which the chancellor is viewed using a high angle, portraying how small the chancellor has become due to V’s tactics, which is juxtaposed where the viewers have been seeing the chancellor with power, authority and no remorse. Finally, we see the chancellor from an insignificant point of view, and can look down on him. This flips the authoritative figure and changes them entirely.
When V begins to fight, he executes it through dance which has been highlighted throughout the film as being a large part of who he is. He expresses an ironic piece of dialogue as he is in the midst of his killing ‘spree’ by saying “There’s no good revolution without dancing” A slow-motion technique is used in this when he begins to draw his knives and stab the men that stand in his way. He has finally come to the point where he can execute his plan and hurt the people who took away who he used to be. This slow motion technique and the scene in general, makes the audience feel both sad but proud for V has worked so hard for. This can be compared to the wider world through how some of us are so determined to get back at the people who hurt us, and perhaps the audience are able to relate to this and to reflect. The slow-motion can also be linked to dramatitising the scene, and the persona that V takes on. V is both violent and romantic, so in this scene this is focused on, with dance which is scene as a romantic act, whilst killing which is violent. As the scene progresses on, it is shown that by the bullets that hit V, injured him a great deal, and he knows he is going to die. V knew that this would happen, but he wanted to get his revenge. He died with the peace that Evey loved him, and his ploy was complete. He had the support and the burning desire to follow through with this, he died, but what started off as an idea lived on.
In the film, V for Vendetta directed by James McTeigue, crucial camera angles, symbolism and sounds, have been used in order to express and highlight the meanings that this movie was trying to portray. These techniques all help to make the audience think and cause different emotions to be striked into. It makes them reflect on wider societal issues such as politics, government and if they have made the right decisions when it comes to their governing leaders. Also, it makes them think about themselves as people. This movie expresses the ideas of power and justice and highlights them through the camera techniques, sound and symbolism. It ventures into the subject of dictatorship within a futuristic London society. It really details the idea that a belief can be stronger than we first intend. It can be turned into a reality and changing the world as we know it. Perhaps V’s ploy of blowing up the building may not lead to this, however this would be a start to what could happen if humanity doesn’t change it’s ways and how we have begun to run this world. In conclusion, I theorise that the overall moral of the story is to cherish your integrity and to not live in fear.