‘V for Vendetta’ is perhaps the most iconic dystopian movie of all time. The protagonist’s mask and some of the movie’s dialogues have become etched in several viewers’ minds. In fact, the Guy Fawkes mask is commonly used as a symbol by protestors all over the world. The movie is based on a comic of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The film stars Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, and Stephen Rhea in leading roles.
V for Vendetta Plot Summary:
The movie takes place in a fictional, dystopian future where the United Kingdom is in control of a totalitarian, fascist government. Adam Sutler of the Norsefire Party is the High Chancellor: practically a dictator. A state-run television network (BTN)’s employee, Evey, leaves her house at the time of a curfew to meet her boss, friend, and a talk show host, Gordon Deitrich. However, a few paramilitary officers called Fingermen threaten to rape Evey, but she gets saved by a masked man named V (he wears a Guy Fawkes mask). V shows her the demolition of Old Bailey that he had planned. Later, V enters the BTN office, holds everyone hostage with a suicide vest, and broadcasts a message where he takes responsibility for Old Bailey’s demolition and also asks the public to gather outside the Hosue of Parliament to protest against the government next year. The police almost catch him, but he gets saved by Evey. He takes Evey home.
V tells Evey that she would have to stay with him for a year at his house as he continues his plan of a revolt. He kills several powerful men. However, Evey escapes to Deitrich’s home. Deitrich reveals himself to be homosexual and shows her various secret possessions of his: a Quran, a few paintings, etc. However, after Deitrich broadcasts an episode making fun of the government, he and Evey get captured. Meanwhile, V kills Dr. Delia Surridge, a woman who experimented on him and others while he was at a concentration camp called Larkhill.
Evey is imprisoned and tortured. She gets letters from another prisoner named Valerie Page, a lesbian who had been tortured and killed for being homosexual. However, she refuses to reveal V’s location. Then, it is revealed that she had been captured by V, who wanted to free her of her fears. Finch, a Scotland Yard inspector, finds out about a government conspiracy wherein a virus was created and released in three locations in the United Kingdom. The attack was blamed on a terrorist organization, and Sutler used the wave of fear to become the High Chancellor. He also finds out that V is a product of human experimentation.
V distributes thousands of Guy Fawkes masks to the public. After a Fingerman shoots a young girl wearing the mask, the situation descends into anarchy with the public marching on the streets wearing the mask. V shows Evey an underground train with explosives headed to the Parliament. He gives her the choice to launch it. Then, he goes to meet Creedy, the Norsefire Party’s Leader with whom he had made a deal: his surrender in exchange for Sutler. After Sutler is killed, V kills Creedy and his men. However, he is wounded badly and dies.
Evey pulls the train’s lever. Finch, who reaches there, lets her do so. The police allow the public to march to the Parliament as they do not have any orders to stop them. They see the Parliament being destroyed. Finch asks Evey about V’s identity. She tells him, “he was all of us.” The people remove their masks. Deitrich, the girl who was shot and Valerie Page are amongst the public. The movie ends with a firecracker going off in the sky in the shape of V.
V for Vendetta Ending Explained:
‘V for Vendetta’ is quite a symbolic movie. Its ending would have certainly left several viewers with a lot of questions. However, it ought to be noted here that the ending is left purposely open due to this symbolic nature of the film. The most burning question towards the end is this:
Are Deitrich, Page, and the Little Girl Alive?
One question that many viewers have had is whether Deitrich, Page, and the little girl are alive. They are shown among the crowds towards the end. Well, since the movie has an open ending, there is no answer which can be concluded to be the correct one.
One theory is that the three characters are actually alive. Deitrich is shown to have only been captured, not killed. The little girl is shot only once, while Page is depicted to have been killed only through a flashback, which can be subjective (Evey and the viewers learn about her death through a letter which could have had false information). But these events are unlikely. For instance, it is highly unlikely that Deitrich would have been spared by the totalitarian government after the Koran and his paintings are found.
The more accepted theory is that the characters’ depiction in the crowd is merely symbolic. This means that they are not actually standing with the crowd. They represent an idea, and “ideas are bulletproof.” They represent the counter-tyranny idea that V propagates. That idea is meant for everyone and resides in everyone. The sacrifice of the three characters is instrumental in carrying this idea forward. It is because of the sacrifice of people like them that the idea lives on. In fact, towards the beginning of the movie, Evey is heard saying, “a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world.”
Throughout the movie, the “immortality” of an idea is reiterated in countless forms. V himself symbolizes this idea. Evey tells Finch that V was her father, her brother, her mother, and “all of us.” The firecracker at the end, in the shape of a V, further cements this concept. Perhaps, that is the reason the Guy Fawkes mask has been used universally in different, unrelated protests because of what it symbolizes: a revolt against tyranny and totalitarianism.
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