Sunday, 27 August 2006

DVD: V for Vendetta

Lowdown: Freedom starts with the small things; but films with high aspirations need to tackle their subject matter better.
Good intentions are important. We all fail in certain ways most of the time, but if our intentions are pure then usually all can be forgotten.
V for Vendetta is a film with very good intentions. It tells us the story of a not so futuristic England, where disease has struck deep and killed hundreds of thousands, where queers of all sorts and races have been removed, and where freedom of speech doesn't exist anymore - all in the name of protecting the nation and its citizens. It tells the story of a few people that wake up to smell the roses and realize that without variety and without freedom, life is not really worth living.
The film was obviously aimed at the heart of current "war on terrorism" controversy, with people who obviously share my own personal views that with the way this war is currently going the terrorists have already won. I watched the film and I couldn't stop thinking how similar the film's England is to current day Australia: In the film the leadership makes up stories to get rid of unwanted races and homosexuals, in here you get children overboard stories told by the PM and politicians saying lesbians should be burnt at the stake; the films shows detention centers, and Australia is investing billions in its own detention centers; the film refers to anything that may harm the government as sedition, while in Australia they have new anti sedition laws that are awfully ambiguous; people in the film get arrested and disappear for being suspected terrorists, while Australia has recently passed these laws that allow suspected terrorists to be arrested for a long while outside of regular justice procedures and without anyone being allowed to inform the public about the arrests.
In short, the film is very relevant and it should be awarded for talking out loud about issues governments don't really want discussed. If watching this film is going to make people aware of the way their own government treat them, then the film has achieved a lot.
That said, the film suffers heavily in one major department: It's very shallow in its handling of the noble ideas it discusses. Yes, it knows where to go in order to touch on sensitive nerves; but when it does, it just goes berserk and doesn't try to offer anything other than nice visuals and bombastic sound. Everything is just so smooth and everything fits so nicely, in a very un-life-like manner, or rather: a very mainstream film like manner. It's a pity, because the film could have been a major player, and instead it's an also-run.
Best scene: A little girl sees through the government's propaganda and refers to it as bullshit. If only more Australians can see what this girl knows. On the other hand, the scene also shows the film's superficiality; it's just so convenient to have a kid see through the emperor's new clothes.
Picture quality: Impressive. Most impressive.
Sound quality: Very dynamic. This one is a test of your sound system's nerves, with many scenes starting as really quiet and developing to a cacophony of immersive and loud sounds. A true delight.
Overall: 3.5 stars that could have been much more had commercialism not taken over art.

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