The experiences felt the first time one sees a film are often hard to interpret. When I get caught up in the emotions of the movie and feel fear or exhilaration or sadness at just the right moments, do I feel resentment for being manipulated or moved by the experience? I suppose there is sometimes a fine line between melodrama and drama, between interpreting characters being stereotypes or archetypes, between current events and a timeless fantasy. Certainly, V for Vendetta appears in many cases to blur that line, and it says as much about the viewer as it does about fascism.Though it was written over twenty years ago, the film appears as blatant indictment of the current administration to some, validation for Islamic terrorism to others. I can definitely see where those who are desperately looking for symbols and direct references could find them; they always do find them when looking hard enough. A film that makes its hero masked demolitionist, bent on murder-revenge, blowing up buildings, and changing the way that the country sees things, is revolutionary for this new era. And just as dangerous in the way it inspires.
Oddly, I found myself thinking of Fight Club hours after the movie ended. Both films make you examine the nature of revolutionaries, one in a fascist England, and the others in corporate America. Though their ultimate solutions are similar and their tales dark, the latter is clearly comical in its satire, while the former is a serious drama about fighting government oppression. And the ending of the films are very different indeed.For me, V for Vendetta is best shown as contrast between the two times we hear the last bars of the 1812 Overture. At the beginning of the story, V takes Evey to the top of a building to observe the destruction of Old Bailey while Tchaikovsky is blared through the city's loudspeakers. We react as she does, with a mixture of mirth, shock, and that this guy is off his rocker. However, later on, at the finale of the picture, when 1812 is played a second time, the reaction is as different as our view at the beginning of the picture. When it is played then, it is a rousing, tear-inducing anthem that leaves one shaken.I can't recall the 1812 Overture ever being so effectively used in a film, nor can I recall a film that is as adapt at blending message, fantasy, action, fear, and old fashioned comic-book drama. V for Vendetta succeeds brilliantly. And if that isn't enough for you, there's always Natalie.