Alan Moore- Meet the Man Behind the Protest Mask
I think it's kind of interesting that Guy Fawkes had been a figure of ridicule in British culture, and also an icon for anti-Catholic sentiment because the real Guy had been for Papal control. Alan Moore is British, knew that, and deliberately chose to invert it for his revolutionary antihero.
In spite of some comic book silliness and 70s-80s Cold War post-apocalypse silliness, the printed V for Vendetta holds up well. The movie was pretty good but had problems where it deliberately stepped back from the comic book's vision. Notably that in the movie the nationalist leader is killed in secret by V. In the book, he's assassinated publicly by an ordinary woman whose life had been ripped up by happenstance in the machinery of State. Also the movie tacks on a romantic love angle to V's relationship to Evey, both unnecessary and seriously detracting from the theme and character.
Mostly, it's that the movie dumbs the message down to social liberal versus conservative (which many of America's Bush-era rightist pundits were coherent enough to notice and get mad about.) In the book, it's very stark, anarchism versus fascism. The neat thing is that Moore lets fascism have every possible advantage. Anything that might make an ordinary person say "of course it's bad, but under these conditions for these reasons it might be necessary," Moore grants them and then says it's still wrong. Moore's postapocalyptic Britain is starved, battered, and one of the only surviving societies after nuclear (and possibly biological) exchange. His fascist leader isn't looking for personal gain but really believes in strength and unity as the greater good. The leader is assisted by a superhuman intelligent computer to make decisions. There are invaders on the outside and plagues within. And the alternative is V who is not kind but brutal, destructive, insane. "Because I love you, because I want you to be free" is a truly chilling line (as much as the better-known Moore line from a later project, "I did it thirty-five minutes ago.")
For this tonal omission, both the delightful early dialogue between V and the statue of Lady Justice ("you always did have an eye for a man in uniform") and the later speech about Authority and the fear of Chaos are cut. The point in the film where it actually uses the word, a robber shouting "anarchy in the UK", is the very point where the book V teaches "this is not anarchy, this is chaos." Movie audiences never heard "anarchy is the absence of leaders, not the absence of order."
I saw it written on a forum, and I fully agree, when watching the movie, the point toward the end where V tips over the domino assembly is where you should stop playback or skip to the end credits (maybe watch the explosions on the way.)
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