Tomorrow Is a Brighter Day
The Revolutionary Politics of V for Vendetta
At $50 million, V for Vendetta is probably the most expensive antiwar film ever made. If not, then it is certainly the most expensive anti-Bush film ever made. Written by the Wachowski brothers, directed by an unknown (James McTeigue), and based on comic by Alan Moore (From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—both of which were made into films), V for Vendetta points a finger at no one else but George W. Bush. It is he who made the war possible, it is he who lied to the public about WMD; it is he who dragged the UK into the hell of war. The world we are in now eventually collapses into the world of V for Vendetta, which is set in the near future, 2020, in London. The terrifying events that beset us today (the Iraq war, the rise of Christian fundamentalism, the war on Islamic fanatics, avian flu) have brought the American empire to its knees and transformed its once-reliable ally, the UK, into a totalitarian state. John Hurt plays Adam Sutler, a ruthless dictator who, like George Bush in his second presidential election, uses fear to attain and retain power. From top to bottom, Sutler’s society is under constant surveillance, and its police force has long forgotten the business of protecting citizens from criminals and now only knows how to oppress them. This bleak world, however, has a beacon of hope in the form of a masked superhero—a man whose body was destroyed by an evil biological experiment, a man whose heart is filled with nothing but hate for the present dictator and his iron order, a man whose name is V for vendetta. Revolution cracks the air. Oppression shatters and, as Linton Kwesi Johnson once put it, “the culture alters.” London’s tomorrow becomes Cybotron’s “brand new day” (which looks very much like Nietzsche's “dawn”). As a work of cinema, V for Vendetta is no Batman or Matrix. But its timing (it opens the day before the third anniversary of the second Iraq war) is impeccable.