I finally saw V for Vendetta last week. I was going to put some thoughts up, but decided to wait until D-Train had a chance to see it as well. We went Monday night- so now there are no excuses not to blog about it. There are plenty of reviews already, so this isn’t a review; it’s just some thoughts that include spoilers. So if you do want to see it and haven’t yet don’t read further.
I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. Was it heavy handed? No question. Does that ruin the movie? I certainly didn’t think so.
Despite liking V and having no problem seeing him as a hero rather than just a terrorist, despite buying in to the transformation of Evey as central to the story- I’ve got some problems with the whole conceptual framework and the philosophy therein. More than any other aspect of the movie, the transformation of Evey leaves me conflicted.
Evey, shortly after being taken captive by V in order to save her from Creedy’s interrogation and torture, tells V “My father once told me that artists use lies to show the truth, while politicians use lies to cover it.” V agrees, and to some extent so do I. But, the problem then becomes, everyone thinks that they are the artists.
We all need a scary story, a compelling narrative to pull people around to our point of view. And the issues are so important that we feel justified in doing things we may not like as long as all works out in the end. Soon, we all become like Creedy, who V describes as a vicious man for whom the ends always justify the means. They lie to ensure stability and we lie to disrupt it. But either way it’s a lie. When we allow the ends to justify the means what happens when we win? We succeed and then suddenly we take the place of the oppressors- simply telling different lies for different policy outcomes, but nonetheless lying in order to stay in power and keep others out of it.
V claimed that what they did to him was monstrous. And as Evey said- when they did it they created a monster. Do we need some monsters on the right side of things to fight against the monsters opposing us? What V did to Evey was horrible, but Evey’s transformation was positive. Can we lie for the greater good? Scripture seems to claim we can. So if we accept a construct of moral relativism based upon competing moral goods how do we make that judgment call without ourselves becoming monsters?