V for Vendetta scene analysis.
“Weapons and technology may help win wars, but it is only ideas that have the power to truly change the world.”
(Simon Adams) V as the protagonist in ‘V for Vendetta’ hides behind the symbolic Guy Faulks mask which both physically and symbolically obscure’s his identity. V hides behind his mask to physically hide his scars. We never see his face, thus allowing us as the viewer to perceive V and nothing more than a guy Faulks mask, which V then becomes a living embodiment of an idea. “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” An idea is more powerful than one’s actions, more powerful than one person, is it the idea that drives a vendetta to victory. James McTeigue presents this idea through symbolism and sounds (Dialogue, and both diegetic and non-diegetic.) The fight scene and the Domino scene use these two cinematography techniques to juxtapose the director’s idea, that ideas are powerful enough to bring victory to a vendetta, to change the corse of history and even change the world.
“Never forget how important you are in changing the world. People may put your ideas down now but remember that energy can never be destroyed. Your ideas will live on long after you and the flame will stay lit.” An idea is more powerful than one’s actions, is it the idea that drives a vendetta to victory James McTeigue exposes the viewers to the message that ideas are an exponential power, that cannot be destroyed but can change the course of history. This is relayed in the domino scene is shown through the cutting of two events happening in the scene, firstly where we see V placing down the dominos and the activities happening outside, (Finch in his office, riots in Brixton…) that are unrelated but due to Mcteigue’s use of linking the symbols and sounds in the scene it allows us as the viewer to form a connection between the two events. Each domino set in place symbolizes a step in V’s scheme, one step closer to his revolution. One of the first times we see this is when Mr finch’s dialogue states “This is exactly what he wants” and then it flips to the burglar’s dialogue who says “Anarchy in the U.K” almost as if he was finishing his sentence. The linkage between the two allows the viewer to feel this a sense of connection between V and the “chaos” happening out in the city. V places a few more dominos in place and it flips to Creedy sitting in his glass house where he has chalked an X on his door symbolizing that Creedy is essentially already dead to V, as in Larkhill when a patent was killed they would place a chalked X on their door. In the U.K it was found that various burglars were found to have left chalk marks on the houses to communicate with other burglars and an X symbolizes “A good target”.”Police have warned householders to be on their guard after burglars began using chalk symbols to identify which houses are easy targets”. Creedy has now pronounced himself to V as “a good target.” As Creedy sits in his glasshouse his dialogue is placed in the scene as non-diegetic sound, “The problem is, is that he knows us better than we know ourselves.” This shows us that V is one step ahead of them in the game, he know’s everything that is going to happen even before it does, which creates the sense that V is this inhuman creature, someone so powerful he predicts the future, and this allows the viewer to form this connection to V that his power does not seem real, V’s power is the power of ideas, that ideas are extremely powerful and that a mere idea can have an extreme impact on the world or the society you live in.
“It was like a perfect pattern laid out in front of me, and I realized that we are all part of it.” Mr. Finch’s dialogue is placed over the shot of V crouching over all of the dominos set in perfect place. As the viewer this allows us to form the connection between the dominos as the perfect pattern and we realise that the dominos are a symbol, each must fall in order for the plan have been completed, thus Finch, Suttler, Creedy and everyone in V’s plan must fall in order for the revolution to have victory. The symbol of the V is explicitly presented in the not only the domino scene but vigorously throughout the film. During the 1940’s in the second world war, a campaign by the Western Allies use the sign of a V formed with the index finger and the third finger pointed up as a “V for Victory”. This quote, “V for Victory” is much to similar to the title of the film “V for Vendetta” the definition of vendetta is a prolonged bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone, whereas the definition of Victory is an act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition. Mcteigue has carefully linked the two together with the constant presentation of the symbol V symbolises the “vendetta” that V has set in place, the vendetta against the government and yet V meaning Victory allows the viewer to foresee that V, in fact, is not just for Vendetta, V’s plan is not just “a prolonged bitter quarrel with the ruling government.” It is for ‘Victory’. a Victorious end for the city of London. The pinnacle point in the scene, where the diegetic sound of the leader squeaking together is heightened as V flicks the dominos and as then fall the diegetic sound is once again heightened and mimics the sounds of the crowd cheering and yelling which closely links into the footage of the Brixton riots. This moment in the scene is where V let’s go of control “All V needs to do is keep his word, and then” V allows his plan to fall into place. McTeigue through this scene shows us with the use of the symbolism and sound, highlighted by the use of cutting the two key events together symbolizes through the dominos that the government is falling and the people of London rebelling against the government. Presenting this idea that V plan is set in motion and the fact that V has foreseen this future, and has predicted the revolution, which gives the viewer the sense that V is no more than an idea, a figure of hope and of inspiration to the people of London, which has lead to the rebellion and opened their eyes to the corrupt and unjust nature of the government.
“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo. An idea is more powerful than one’s actions, is it the idea that drives a vendetta to victory James McTeigue exposes the viewers to the message that ideas are an exponential power, that can change the course of history. Ideas are the start of change. To get a man on the moon, was someone’s idea, to invent the light bulb started as a mere idea, and these ‘ideas’ have changed the corse of history.
The diegetic sounds of the chancellor’s voice on the T.V during the fight scene is largely enhanced, this gives the viewer a real connection into the Chancellors emotions and how he is feeling in that exact moment, you can hear any quivers or any slight change in pitch, which for the viewer, makes a shiver run down their spine. The Chancellor, at this exact moment, speaks with such authority and power, and with the enhancement this only intensifies the power, making the viewer anxious and we connect authority with the Chancellor. “My fellow Englishmen: tonight our country… faces a grave and terrible threat. This violent and unparalleled assault on our security will not go undefended… or unpunished. Our enemy is an insidious one, seeking to divide us and destroy the very foundation of our great nation. …we must remain united… that justice will be swift, it will be righteous, and it will be without mercy.” This dialogue that the Chancellor states on the TV is hugely ironic, we see him as this powerful person of authority, promising that justice will be without mercy, but the next scene we are presented with is the Chancellor’s being utterly week, begging V for mercy defenselessly. This moment in the film is a pinnacle one in that is is a defining moment for V. “I want to see his face” Creedy removes the black bag off the Chancellor, this symbolizes the first person to reveal the Chancellors true nature that of weakness. It is a pinnacle moment as this is the fist example showed to the viewer that V’s idea did have the power to make a change, to have such a great impact. Thus allowing the viewer to reflect that in fact ideas are powerful enough to make a change. As the Chancellor kneels in front of V weepy, muttering and begging for mercy, on his forehead is a gash in the shape of a V, symboling V’s mark and victory on knocking over one more domino. The ‘black bags’ were worn by the prisoners in Larkhill, which is a reference to the black bags worn by the prisoner at ‘Abu Ghraib’ in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. The black bag placed over the Chancellors head is a symbol that he is V prisoner, he no longer withholds any power. The placements of these two key scenes, (The domino scene and the fight scene) are exceedingly critical. The domino scene is the start of chaos, of V’s revolution. When V flicks the very first domino over, this symbolizes the start. As the viewer, we form this connection because all that follows on from this moment is utter chaos. The fight scene is V’s lasting step in his revolution, his last domino’s to fall, his last dance, and everything that comes in between these scenes is the flow on effects of V flicking the first domino. McTeigue has presented to the viewer, that V’s personal vendetta against the government, only had victory due to the idea, and that ideas have the power to change the world. “Die! Die! Why won’t you die?… 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 for Vendetta is a cleverly crafted film displaying a message to the viewers that ideas are extremely powerful, and that it is an idea that drives a vendetta to victory. V hides behind the symbolic Guy Faulks mask to physically obscure his face, but this mask allows V to become more than skin and bones he becomes a living embodiment of an idea. “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea”.James McTiguie highlight’s this in the two key scenes in the film, the fight scene, and the domino scene, he does this through the juxtaposition of the two key cinematography techniques, sound, which include dialogue, diegetic and non-diegetic sounds and symbolism. How we perceive the world is not always the way it is, V is not “a grave and terrible threat” V is not a terrorist but V gave the city of London the will and power to take a stand aginst the government, and V is merely an idea which shows us the extremity of the power that ideas withhold. “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo.