Wednesday, March 22, 2006

V for 'bloody awful'

My review of the film V for Vendetta has been posted on Conservative Home.


Dave Cole said...

Congratulations... I think...


Anonymous said...

Nice work matt, you smartarse :D

The A. said...

Your review still sucks

Dave Cole said...

I actually quite liked V for Vendetta. The interesting point for me was V's treatment of Evie. By torturing her, he changed her in a way that, I think, she liked the end result of, although she did not want the process and would not have chosen to undergo it. There is a side point about whether her voluntarily undergoing the procedure would have changed the end result.

The character of the High Chancellor was overblown. It would have been more effective he wasn't so obviously Hitlerite. There is an automatic reaction that 'it couldn't possible happen here' and I think that a toned-down version would have been more threatening.

Using the Conservative party was a cheap vehicle, but the point still came across. They should have used UKIP :) . While this is not true of Cameron, the good Mr. Sinclair or the leading factions of the Conservatives, it needs to be remembered that there are strongly authoritaian tendencies among some parts of the Conservative party. I've just finished reading Hague's excellent biography of Pitt the Younger (proto-Tory?) in which Hague points to the strongly authoritarian measures that Pitt introduced, justifying them as necessary to protect liberty and the settlement of 1688, which does not take logical acrobatics to turn into the position of the High Chancellor, protecting Britain's traditional liberties by use of authoritarian measures. I do acknowledge that there are strongly authoritarian tendencies in Labour as well.

The overall point of the film - is using immoral tactics to overthrow an immoral government justifiable? - is valid. Do the ends justify the means? When is insurrectional violence legitimate?

Talking about Larkhill and so on is entirely legitimate. The arbitrary detention that goes on is deeply worrying and has, at least, the potential for rather sinister ends. I could easily see someone of the Nick Griffin variety saying that asylum seekers should earn their keep by submitting to medical tests or be immediately deported. I can see certain sections of the media giving the idea credence.

Sending out all the masks was stupid. If you turn up at FedEx or the Post Office with several thousand masks, someone is going to be a little confused and, in that police state, it will be reported to the authorities.

I didn't like the use of the Cross of Lorraine as the symbol of the regime. That symbol was used for the Free French during WW2 and I don't like the idea that when people see it they will think of autocracy rather than fighting the same.

I rather liked the style of the film as well. When V blows up the Old Bailey to the 1812 coupled with the contents of the Shadow Gallery suggest that V, although twisted in a quite awful way, still retains a grip on reality. The mask (largely based on the graphic novel) is iconic. Now, that can be good or bad, but we'll be seeing it come Hallowe'en.

One of the pictures that can be seen often in the Shadow Gallery is the Arnolfini Portrait by van Eyck, which hangs in the National gallery and is the subject of an interesting monograph by Panofsky.

I don't know whether using Fawkes was a good idea. I don't know enough about Fawkes et al. or the period to determine whether he/they were freedom fighters. Their aim was clearly to install a Catholic monarchy. The question is whether they would have allowed 'Protestant emancipation' in the way that Catholic emancipation was not. Did they believe that the only way for them to have emancipation was to have one of their own, at least for a time, on the throne? That having been said, the Gunpowder Plot reversed moves to emancipation of Catholics.

As an interesting aside, Rokewood, the name that V uses when talking to the police, was the name of one of Fawkes' co-conspirators.

Another point: one of the reasons I liked the film was because I recognised a lot of the locations. One scene (sadly, I forget which) showed the name of a street - Portugal Street - on which you can find LSE. Similarly, the memorial to the children who died at the school (Three Rivers or something) can be found on the South Bank, not far from Butler's Wharf.

A similar point to V vs Evie can be made to some of the Government's proposals on mental health. One of the proposals is to force people who have not been sectioned under the Mental Health Act to take medication outside of hospital. It is possible, despite having a mental illness, to function without medication. The government's line seems to be that they would be happier if they were forced to take it. That might be so, but I find the idea of 'you don't like it now but you will when we've done it to you' a little scary. It should be remembered that the side-effects of some drugs used to treat mental health issues are almost as bad as the disease itself.

Just because you don't like the way in which the question is posed doesn't mean the question isn't valid.

Dave Cole said...

Why would the Arnolfini portrait, which celebrates a marriage in a traditional manner, be banned by the High Chancellor?

I understand the banning of other stuff - the Qu'ran given the current Islamophobic current, homosexuality and so on - but why the Arnolfini portrait?


Dave Cole said...

Re-reading your original post,

1) If you are being persecuted by fascists you should respond violently.
2) Our current government behave like fascists.

I don't think V for Vendetta says that our current government behaves like fascists. It sets up a possible scenario whereby that does happen. Two different things.

I think that insurrectional violence against fascist regimes may be justified.