V for Vendetta (film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"VoilĂ ! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose". --V for Vendetta

"Remember, remember the fifth of November"

Related e



V for Vendetta is a 2006 action-thriller film set in London, England in a near-future dystopian society. The film follows the mysterious V, a freedom fighter seeking to effect sociopolitical change while simultaneously pursuing his own violent personal vendetta. The film is an adaptation of the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. V for Vendetta was directed by James McTeigue and produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers, who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond, Hugo Weaving as V, Stephen Rea as Inspector Finch and John Hurt as Chancellor Sutler.

The film's release was originally scheduled for Friday, November 4, 2005 (a day before the 400th Guy Fawkes Night), but was delayed; it opened on March 17, 2006. Alan Moore, facing his disappointment in both From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, refused to view the film and subsequently distanced himself from it. The filmmakers removed many of the anarchist themes and drug references present in the original story and also altered the political message to be what was perceived as more relevant to a 2006 audience.


In the 2030s, the world is plagued by environmental blight and the United Kingdom is ruled by a totalitarian government under the fascist Norsefire party. The party sets up concentration camps where political prisoners, homosexuals, and other unwanted populace in general are exterminated by Britain's new fascist regime. Evey Hammond, a young woman who works at the state-run British Television Network, is rescued from an attempted rape perpetrated by members of the secret police (referred to as "Fingermen" by Evey) by a Guy Fawkes-masked vigilante known as "V". He leads her to a rooftop to watch his destruction of the Old Bailey. Norsefire tries to explain away the incident as a controlled demolition, claiming the building was no longer structurally sound, but V takes over the state television broadcast the same day, exposing the lie. He urges the people of Britain to rise up against the oppressive government and meet him in one year, on 5 November, outside the Houses of Parliament, which he promises to destroy. Evey helps V to escape, but is knocked out in the process.

V brings Evey to his lair, where she is told that she must stay in hiding until the 5th of November in the following year for her own safety. Upon learning that V is killing government officials, she escapes to the home of her boss, comedian Gordon Deitrich (Stephen Fry). In return for Evey's trust in him with her very safety, Deitrich reveals to her an inner sanctum in his home housing a collection of materials outlawed by the government such as subversive paintings, the Quran, and to her surprise - homoerotic photos by Robert Mapplethorpe. Deitrich explains that even though she believed she was meeting him for a date that night V saved her from the fingermen, his intentions toward her was actually a cover under which he hides his actual sexuality. Rather than be his true self in the police state they live in, he has to keep up the expected image of someone who dates young girls such as herself lest he be imprisoned like all the other undesirables. One night, Gordon satirises the government on his television show. The secret police raid Deitrich's home, capturing him and Evey. She is incarcerated and tortured for days for information about V. She finds solace in notes written by another prisoner, an actress named Valerie Page (Natasha Wightman), who was arrested for being a lesbian. Finally, Evey is told that she will be executed immediately unless she reveals V's location. An exhausted but defiant Evey says she would rather die, and is released. Evey discovers that she has been in V's lair all along, and that her imprisonment was staged to free her from her fears. She finds out Deitrich was executed for having a copy of the Quran. The notes were real, but they were passed by Valerie to V years earlier when he was similarly imprisoned. Although Evey initially hates V for what he did to her, she realizes she now feels stronger and free in spirit. She leaves him with a promise to return before the 5th of November.

Inspector Finch, Scotland Yard's chief of police, learns how Norsefire came to power and about V's origins in the course of his investigation. Fourteen years earlier, the United States had collapsed, due to being the victim of an unleashed bio-weapon, which was secretly and deliberately utilized by the people who would become the core of the group Norsefire. It is also mentioned later on that the United States is suffering another civil war between the Midwestern states. Britain suffered in the resulting chaos. Norsefire led a reactionary purge to restore order, during which "enemies of the state" — anyone who did not meet the Party's standards of "purity" — frequently disappeared. The country was divided over the loss of freedom until a coordinated bio-terrorist attack upon a school, a water treatment plant and a tube station resulted in around 80,000 deaths. The fear generated by the attack allowed Norsefire to win the next election, thereafter silencing all opposition and turning the United Kingdom into a totalitarian state under High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt). A cure for the virus used in the bio-terrorist attack was later unveiled by a pharmaceutical company with ties to Norsefire. Finch comes to realize that Sutler and his now security chief, Peter Creedy (Tim Pigott-Smith), engineered the catastrophe to seize power. The virus was developed through deadly experimentation on "social deviants" and political dissidents at a detention centre in Larkhill where V had been detained with Valerie Page. Unlike the rest of the doomed prisoners, V gained heightened abilities and managed to escape when the centre was destroyed. Finch realizes that a string of murders involving high profile Norsefire party members are actually V taking revenge on those involved with Larkhill.

As the 5th of November nears, V's various schemes cause chaos in the UK and the population starts questioning Norsefire's rule. V organizes the distribution of thousands of Guy Fawkes masks. On the eve of the 5th, Evey visits V, who shows her a train in the abandoned London Underground which he has filled with explosives to destroy Parliament. He leaves it up to Evey whether to use it, believing that he is unfit to decide. V then leaves to meet Creedy, who had made a deal with V to hand over Sutler in exchange for V's surrender. Creedy kills Sutler in front of V, but V refuses to surrender and is shot multiple times by Creedy's praetorian guard. V survives due in part to his concealed armour breastplate, and kills Creedy and his men. Mortally wounded, V returns to Evey to thank her, and he tells her that he is in love with her. He dies in her arms.

As Evey places V's body in the train, she is found by Finch. Having learned much about the corruption of the Norsefire regime, Finch allows Evey to send the train on its way. Thousands of Londoners, all wearing the Guy Fawkes masks but unarmed, march on Parliament to watch the event. Because Sutler and Creedy are dead and unable to give orders, the military stands down in the face of a civil rebellion. Accompanied by the "1812 Overture", Parliament and Big Ben are destroyed as Evey and Finch look on. Finch asks Evey for the identity of V, to which she replies, "he was all of us."


V for Vendetta was filmed in London, UK, and in Potsdam, Germany, at Babelsberg Studios. Much of the film was shot on sound stages and indoor sets, with location work done in Berlin for three scenes: the Norsefire rally flashback, Larkhill, and Bishop Lilliman's bedroom. The scenes that took place in the abandoned London Underground were filmed at the disused Aldwych tube station. Filming began in early March 2005 and principal photography officially wrapped in early June 2005. V for Vendetta is the final film shot by cinematographer Adrian Biddle, who died of a heart attack on December 7, 2005.

The film was designed to have a future-retro look, with heavy use of grey tones to give a dreary, stagnant feel to totalitarian London. The largest set created for the film was the Shadow Gallery, which was made to feel like a cross between a crypt and an undercroft. The Gallery is V's home as well as the place where he stores various artifacts forbidden by the government. Some of the works of art displayed in the gallery include The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck, Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian, a Mildred Pierce poster, St. Sebastian by Andrea Mantegna, The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse and statues by Giacometti.

One of the major challenges in the film was how to bring V to life from under an expressionless mask. Thus, considerable effort was made to bring together lighting, acting, and Weaving's voice to create the proper mood for the situation. In order to prevent the mask from muffling Weaving's voice, a microphone was placed in his hairline to aid post-production, when his entire dialogue was re-recorded.

To film the final scene at Westminster, the area from Trafalgar Square and Whitehall up to Parliament and Big Ben had to be closed for three nights from midnight until 5 a.m. This was the first time the security-sensitive area (home to 10 Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence) had ever been closed to accommodate filming. Prime Minister (at the time of filming) Tony Blair's son Euan Blair worked on the film's production and is said (according to an interview with Stephen Fry) to have helped the filmmakers obtain the unparalleled filming access. This drew criticism of Blair from MP David Davis due to the content of the film. However, the makers of the film denied Euan Blair's involvement in the deal,

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "V for Vendetta (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools