V for Vendetta (film)

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Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

V for Vendetta is a 2006 film set in a dystopian future United Kingdom, where V, a mysterious anarchist wearing a Guy Fawkes costume, works to bring down an oppressive fascist government, profoundly affecting the people he encounters.

Directed by James McTeigue. Written by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, and adapted from the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

See also: V for Vendetta (for quotes from or about the original comic series).

Dialogue

V: I can assure you I mean you no harm.
Evey: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey: Well, I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
Evey: Oh. Right.
V: But on this most auspicious of nights permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona.
[V throws back his cape.]
V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! [He slashes a large V through a propaganda poster.] The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. [giggles] Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me "V".
Evey: Are you, like, a crazy person?
V: I am quite sure they will say so. But to whom, might I ask, am I speaking?
Evey: I'm Evey.
V: Evey? E-V. Of course you are.
Evey: What does that mean?
V: It means that I, like God, do not play with dice and do not believe in coincidence. Are you hurt?
Evey: No, I'm fine...thanks to you.
V: Oh, I merely played my part. But tell me, do you enjoy music, Evey?
Evey: I suppose.
V: You see, I'm a musician of sorts on my way to give a very special performance.
Evey: What kind of instruments?
V: Percussion instruments are my speciality, but tonight I intend to call upon the entire orchestra for this particular event, and would be most honored if you would join me.
Evey: I don't see any instruments.
V: Your powers of observation continue to serve you well. But wait! It is to Madame Justice that I dedicate this concerto, in honor of the holiday she seems to have taken from these parts, and in recognition of the impostor that stands in her stead. Tell me, do you know what day it is?
Evey: Um... November the fourth?
[church bells start tolling 12 midnight]
V: Not anymore. Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

V: People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
Evey: And you're going to make that happen by blowing up a building?
V: The building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with enough people, blowing up a building can change the world.
Evey: I wish I could believe that. But every time I've seen this world change, it's always been for the worse.

Evey: V, yesterday I couldn't find my ID. You didn't take it, did you?
V: Would you prefer a lie or the truth?
Evey: Did you have anything to do with this?
V: Yes, I killed him. Are you upset?
Evey: Am I upset? You just said you killed Lewis Prothero!
V: I may have killed those fingerman that attacked you the other night too, but I heard no objection to that. Violence can be used for good.
Evey: And are you going to kill more people?
V: Yes.

Evey: [reading inscription on mirror] Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici...
V: "By the power of truth I, while living, have conquered the universe".
Evey: Personal motto?
V: From Faust.
Evey: That's about trying to cheat the devil, isn't it?
V: It is.

V: You said you wanted to live without fear. I wish there'd been an easier way, but there wasn't.
Evey: Oh, my God!
V: I know you may never forgive me, but nor will you ever understand how hard it was for me to do what I did. Every day, I saw in myself everything you see in me now. Every day, I wanted to end it. But each time you refused to give in, I knew I couldn't.
Evey: You're sick! You're evil!
V: You could have ended it, Evey. You could have given in, but you didn't. Why?
Evey: Leave me alone! I hate you!
V: That's it! See, at first, I though it was hate too. Hate was all I knew. It built my world, imprisoned me, taught me how to eat, how to drink, how to breathe. I thought I'd die with all the hate in my veins. But then something happened. It happened to me, just as it happened to you.
Evey: Shut up! I don't want to hear your lies!
V: Your own father said that artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie, but because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.
Evey: No...
V: What was true in that cell is just as true now. What you felt in there has nothing to do with me.
Evey: I CAN'T FEEL ANYTHING ANYMORE!
V: Don't run from it, Evey. You've been running all your life.
Evey: [gasping] I can't... can't breathe... Asthma... When I was little... [collapses while V catches her]
V: Listen to me, Evey. This may be the most important moment of your life. Commit to it. They took your parents from you. They took your brother from you. They put you in a cell and took everything they could take except your life. And you believed that was all there was, didn't you? The only thing you had left was your life, but it wasn't, was it?
Evey: Oh... please...
V: You found something else. In that cell, you found something that mattered more to you than life. Because when they threatened to kill you unless you gave them what they wanted... you told them you'd rather die. You faced your death, Evey. You were calm. You were still. Try to feel now what you felt then.
Evey: Oh, God. I felt...
V: Yes?
Evey: I'm dizzy. I need air. Please, I need to go outside.
V: There's a lift. It'll take us to the roof.

Creedy: Take off your mask.
V: No.
[Creedy nods and two Fingermen approach V; one tries to remove his mask, but V kills them both]
Creedy: Defiant until the end, huh? You won't cry like him, will you? You're not afraid of death. You're like me.
V: The only thing you and I have in common, Mr. Creedy, is that we are both about to die.
Creedy: How do you imagine that'll happen?
V: With my hands around your neck.
Creedy: Bollocks. We've swept this whole place. You've got nothing. Nothing but your bloody knives and your fancy karate gimmicks. We have guns.
V: No. What you have are bullets and the hope that when your guns are empty I'm no longer standing, because if I am, you'll all be dead before you've reloaded.
Creedy: That's impossible. Kill him!
[Creedy's men open fire on V, who remains standing after their guns are empty, with many rounds fired]
V: My turn.
[V keeps his word and slays all of Creedy's men, while Creedy frantically reloads his revolver]
Creedy: (starts shooting the approaching V) Die! Die! Why won't you die? (his gun clicks empty) Why won't you die?
V: Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.
[V grabs Creedy by the neck, lifts him up and pins him to the fence; within seconds there is a sickening snap, and Creedy goes limp]

Finch: I wanna ask a question, Dominic. I don't care if you answer me or not. I just wanna say this aloud... The question I want to ask is about St. Mary's and Three Waters. The question that's kept me up for the last 24 hours, the question I have to ask, is: What if the worst, the most horrifying, biological attack in this country's history was not the work of religious extremists?
Dominic: Well, I don't understand. We know it was. They were caught. They confessed.
Finch: And they were executed, I know. And maybe that's really what happened. But I see this chain of events, these coincidences... and I have to ask: What if that isn't what happened? What if someone else unleashed that virus? What if someone else killed all those people? Would you really wanna know who it was?
Dominic: Sure.
Finch: ...Even if it was someone working for this government? That's my question. If our own government was responsible for the deaths of almost one hundred thousand people... would you really wanna know?

Delia Surridge: [wakes in an apparently empty room] It's you, isn't it? You've come to kill me.
V: [from the shadows] Yes.
Delia: Thank God... After what happened, after what they did, I thought about killing myself, but I knew that one day you'd come for me. I didn't know what they were going to do. I swear to you. Read my journal.
V: What they did was only possible because of you.
Delia: Oppenheimer was able to change more than the course of a war. He changed the entire course of human history. Is it wrong to hold on to that kind of hope?
V: I've not come for what you hoped to do. I've come for what you did.
Delia: It's funny. I was given one of your roses today. I wasn't sure you were the terrorist until I saw it. What a strange coincidence that I should be given one today.
V: There are no coincidences, Delia. Only the illusion of coincidence. I have another rose, and this one is for you.
Delia: Are you going to kill me now?
V: I killed you 10 minutes ago, [holds up a small hypodermic needle] while you slept.
Delia: Is there any pain?
V: No.
Delia: Thank you. [pauses briefly] Is it meaningless to apologize?
V: Never.
Delia: I'm so sorry. [dies]


[Evey and Finch stand watching Parlament erupt in exlosions of fireworks]

Finch: Who was he?
Evey: He was Edmund Dantes, and he was my father..and my mother..my brother..my friend..he was you, and me..he was all of us.

[Finch is silent as the fireworks continue]


Evey: I worried about myself for a while. But one day I was at a market and a friend, someone I'd worked with at the BTN, got in line behind me. I was so nervous that when the cashier asked me for my money I dropped it. My friend picked it up and handed it to me. She looked me right in the eye and didn't recognize me. I guess whatever you did to me worked better than I'd ever have imagined.

Evey: [Narrating] "Remember, remember / The fifth of November / The gunpowder treason and plot. / I know of no reason / Why the gunpowder treason / Should ever be forgot". But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes, and I know that, in 1605, he attempted to blow up the houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed firsthand the power of ideas. I've seen people kill in the name of them; and die defending them. But you cannot touch an idea, cannot hold it or kiss it. An idea does not bleed, it cannot feel pain, and it does not love. And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man. A man who made me remember the fifth of November. A man I will never forget.

Quoted from other sources

Remember, Remember
The fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
[Traditional English verse recited for Guy Fawkes Night]

"The multiplying villainies of nature do swarm upon him...
[skipping four of the original lines] Disdaining fortune with his brandished steel/which smoked with bloody execution..." (Macbeth 1.2.17-18)

"We are oft to blame in this. 'Tis too much proved that with devotion's visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself." (Hamlet 3.1.46-49)

"And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil." (Richard III 1.3.336-38)

"I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none." (Macbeth 1.7.47-48)

"Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent." (Twelfth Night 1.2.53-55)

Taglines

  • People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
  • Remember, remember the 5th of November.
  • FREEDOM! FOREVER!
  • Strength through unity, unity through faith!
  • England prevails.

Reviews

  • There are ideas in this film. The most pointed is V's belief: "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people". I am not sure V has it right; surely in the ideal state governments and their people should exist happily together. Fear in either direction must lead to violence. But V has a totalitarian state to overthrow, and only a year to do it in, and we watch as he improvises a revolution.
    Roger Ebert at Chicago Sun-Times
  • Brutal, audacious and very slippery, V for Vendetta is the ballsiest major studio release I've ever seen... Vendetta is as rousing, engaging and devious as only the best propaganda can be -- a call to rebellion that dares to question our respect for authority and gives us a masked terrorist and his manipulated prodigy as our heroes. And unlike other political thrillers that seem content to simply wallow their dissatisfaction with the state of the world, Vendetta demands that we take personal responsibility for our actions and for the administrations that we allow to come into power... Vendetta is a thematic powderkeg... Straight up, this is as invigorating, challenging and moving a film as one can hope to expect, especially from a major studio (and the first). Don't miss the movie of the year.
    Brian Buzz Juergens at freezedriedmovies.com
  • The dark and stylized V for Vendetta is visually exhilarating, provocative and disturbing. Set in a slightly futuristic world (London in 2020), Vendetta is an action thriller that also stimulates thought... Despite its disparate influences, Vendetta feels captivatingly original. The multilayered film can be appreciated strictly as an action thriller or for its deeper message about personal responsibility, political oppression and revolutionary change. One powerful theme centers on the notion that ideas live forever, their power undiminished even as those who espouse them die.
    Claudia Puig at USA Today

Cast

External links

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