Reviewed by: Michael Karounos
What is Islam? Answer
an overview for Christians
Persecuted church—Why and how should we pray for suffering Christians? Answer
Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?
|Featuring||Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, Rupert Graves, Stephen Rea|
|Producer||Joel Silver, Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski|
“Remember, remember the 5th of November”
“V for Vendetta” is based on a graphic novel written by Alan Moore in the early 1980s, supposedly as a protest against the conservatism of the Margaret Thatcher regime. Whether that’s true or not, the substance of the story is explained by Wikipedia in the following manner:
“The series is set in an alternative-future Britain where nuclear weapons have been removed from the country following a victory for Labour in 1983, sparing it from nuclear attack in a limited nuclear war that left the country mostly physically intact. An extreme right-wing fascist single-party state has arisen, called Norsefire, that maintains control of the country through food shortages (arising during the nuclear winter), government-controlled media, secret police, a planned economy, and concentration camps for racial and sexual minorities.” (Wikipedia)
All of these elements are present in the movie as well, with the exception of the nuclear winter. V (Hugo Weaving) is a vigilante-like hero who seeks to overthrow a government described as “religious and conservative” like those portrayed in Burton’s “Planet of the Apes” and in Wimmer’s “Equilibrium” and “Ultraviolet”. The movie also repeats the cross motif that each of the other movies uses to denigrate Christianity. The particular cross in “V” is what is called a papal or archiepiscopal cross, with two transoms of uneven length. It serves as an ever-present red symbol of oppression and decorates the backdrop of a viewing platform before which goose-stepping troops march in American-style desert camouflage. This association of Christianity with an oppressive military has become a common motif in Hollywood productions, more recently in “Ultraviolet”.
V himself is the product of a viral experiment which, though it does not kill him, does in fact make him stronger and very angry. Consequently, he seeks to overthrow the government by 1) exposing the lies that sustain it, and 2) by awakening the masses from the dulled TV sleep into which they have been lulled. V accomplishes this by blowing up governmental structures representing the judicial and legislative branches, and by assassinating the figurehead for the executive branch. In short, V’s project is an anarchist one, as the ending makes clear when the populace of London turns out, dressed in V masks, and their TVs are shown in empty rooms and empty pubs as a symbol that they have been awakened from their ideological slumber.
The movie is preachy to say the least, and harps on three major themes and one minor one: 1) the evil of America; 2) the government control of media; 3) the evil of Christianity; and 4) the innocence of Islam. These themes are portrayed so frequently in American films that it’s become necessary to rebut them as a counter to V’s assertion that “Art is fiction that tells the truth.” This is the movie’s transparent attempt to claim authenticity for its own fictions.
The first fiction portrays the United States as an evil society, racked by civl war; suffering from riots over medicine shortages; and as the source of the deadly virus that conservatives in England used to kill 80,000 of their own people.
What is remarkable about such Leftist fantasies about the presumed guilt of the United States is that all of those evils are in existence today and employed by regimes which were enemies of the United States, such as Sadaam Hussein’s Iraq. Just this past week, a Russian Communist accused the U.S. of inventing the avian flu (Center for Disease Information). Yet, reality is found in the disturbing revelation of the viral weapon the Communists in the Soviet Union developed (Technology Review).
The second fiction of the movie is that of a government-controlled (or supported) media which brainwashes its populace. In reality, this is true only of oppressive regimes and socialist societies like England where the media is, in fact, already Leftist. In the United States, we have a freedom of speech that is so wide-ranging in its liberties that it permits our media to print blatant forgeries libeling our President. Although Dan Rather was fired for publishing propaganda just before a national election, he can take comfort in the fact that he got a nice severance package and was tortured only by his attempts at explanation.
Thirdly, it is difficult for Christians to take seriously the hysterical fictions of Christian totalitarianism by those on the Left who make movies like this and contribute to organizations like Moveon.org or the Democratic Underground. The only totalitarianisms we have known in the modern era are either secular or Islamic, precisely the ones that the United States is trying to protect the world from. It is not Christians who blow up buildings, chop people’s heads off, or issue rewards for the death of Danish cartoonists. This is another case of wishful and perverted projection on the part of the Left. The movie further portrays the Anglican bishop as a pervert who preys on young girls and who has made a fortune from drug company graft.
Lastly, the fiction of Islam as a religion of peace is directly or indirectly referenced twice in the movie. The first is with the suggestion: “What if the worst attack was not the work of religious extremists?” This echoes the fever-swamp accusations by those Americans who think our own government was responsible for 9/11 and not Islamic terrorists. The second reference to Islam is when a TV entertainer is arrested and executed for having a Koran in his possession.
In no Christian land across the world is it a crime to have a Koran or even to preach death to Christians from it, as the imams regularly do in England, Italy, Germany, and the prisons of New York ( Newsday article). In fact, in Muslim Saudi Arabia the persecution of Christians is well-documented, as when two Philippino Christians were arrested, tortured, and deported in 2002 for privately practicing their faith. There are many such instances documented at Web sites focused on persecution of Christians, including Christian Persecution.
The movie further shows the pseudo-Christian regime arresting, torturing, and killing lesbian and gay couples. But in the real world, it is Muslims like the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani of Iraq who say that “gays should be killed in the worst possible way” (Web reference). By no means are such Muslim comments limited to him, nor are they necessarily meant maliciously. It is simply what Islam teaches.
I saw “V for Vendetta” with nine Christian college students and was struck by their immunity to issues which I found offensive. I believe the reason for their neutral response is because our media have done a thorough job of tainting Christianity and exonerating Islam. While Hollywood is busy making movies about the fictional evils of Christianity, it is just as busy ignoring the real evils of Islam to gays, women, and Christians.
What is important for Christian viewers to remember is that movies are not just entertainment; they are ideological statements. And when movies persistently portray our country and our faith as evil, even skeptical believers who think that Hollywood is too shallow or too objective (!) to make anti-Christian movies should sit up and take notice.
What distinguishes Christianity from all other belief systems is the overwhelming message of grace, forgiveness, and redemption that we have through Jesus Christ. It is a mystery that this is so; it seems fantastic and a stumbling-block to non-believers that it is so; but we live in a remarkable time when even the co-founder of string theory, Michio Kaku, can say in his new book, Parallel Worlds, that the universe is ordered according to a still-unknown theorem and that where there’s a theorem there must also be a Creator of that theorem. We live in a world of true and false statements, of good and evil deeds, and we must learn how to distinguish one from the other by the fruits of their practitioners.
“V for Vendetta” is a political speech disguised as a movie, but it affirms nothing positive, spending its time engaging in juvenile fantasies about the thrills of anarchism and the evils of Christianized regimes. Natalie Portman, as Evey, does what she can with the role of a prostitute* turned savior, but it is a morbid role with little range of expression. Even Hugo Weaving, trapped behind the Guy Fawkes mask, has more humorous statements and more range of inflections in his speeches than does Portman.
Finally, the movie has female nudity, including showing naked dead bodies, as in WWII by the Nazis, being scooped into mass graves. The viewer can catch glimpses of naked women but it’s not prolonged.
There is nothing good to say about it except that there are a number of quotations from Shakespeare and that I like the happy features of the Guy Fawkes mask very much. While it is good to have a historical knowledge of the Catholic Fawkes’s attempt 400 years ago to blow up Protestants in the Parliament Building, it is even better to understand that 400 years later it is neither Catholics nor Protestants who are a threat to our country. Rather, it is a union of leftist secularists and Islamic jihadists who have joined together to attack the values of our faith and the security of our nation through precisely the kind of propaganda and violence that V advocates.
“V for Vendetta” producer Joel Silver clings to the old canard that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” in defending the anarchy in this movie. For these people, there is no difference between real Muslim terrorists and fictional Christian ones; between real totalitarianisms of the left and Christian ones. For them, it’s all one, and it’s all true so long as the truth is in the eye of the individual beholder.
While the English remember the 5th of November, let us in the U.S. never forget the 11th of September.
“V for Vendetta” is not recommended for viewing by a Christian audience. Instead, go see “End of the Spear” or “The Second Chance” and enable Christian filmmakers to make more and better films in the future.
I want to thank the viewers who have written their comments on my review. There are too many differences of opinion for me to address them all, but perhaps it would help if I address the central thesis of my review which is that the movie is a disguised film that is anti-American and pro-Islamic. The following is from an interview at MTV with Alan Moore, author of the graphic novel, “V for Vendetta”. Moore, who is an anarchist, is more honest than some Christian critics I have read on the movie. He outs the movie for what I called it and for what it is: “a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy.”
Moore: I’ve read the screenplay, so I know exactly what they’re doing with it, and I’m not going to be going to see it. When I wrote “V,” politics were taking a serious turn for the worse over here. We’d had [Conservative Party Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher in for two or three years, we’d had anti-Thatcher riots, we’d got the National Front and the right wing making serious advances. “V for Vendetta” was specifically about things like fascism and anarchy.
Those words, “fascism” and “anarchy,” occur nowhere in the film. It’s been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country. In my original story there had been a limited nuclear war, which had isolated Britain, caused a lot of chaos and a collapse of government, and a fascist totalitarian dictatorship had sprung up. Now, in the film, you’ve got a sinister group of right-wing figures—not fascists, but you know that they’re bad guys—and what they have done is manufactured a bio-terror weapon in secret, so that they can fake a massive terrorist incident to get everybody on their side, so that they can pursue their right-wing agenda. It’s a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values [standing up] against a state run by neo-conservatives—which is not what “V for Vendetta” was about. It was about fascism, it was about anarchy, it was about [England]. The intent of the film is nothing like the intent of the book as I wrote it. And if the Wachowski brothers had felt moved to protest the way things were going in America, then wouldn’t it have been more direct to do what I’d done and set a risky political narrative sometime in the near future that was obviously talking about the things going on today? (MTV)
Also, would it help if Hugo Weaving, the star of “V,” indicated that it really is an anti-American film? If it would, then read this quotation:
“This government is Stalin’s Russia, or Hitler’s Germany, or Franco’s Spain,” Silver says. Filmgoers, however, might be forgiven for asking—in light of the script’s ominous talk of “rendition” and a protracted war on terror—whether the filmmakers also take aim at America under George W. Bush?
Lastly, does it matter what the director, James McTeigue, thinks? Is there really a moral equivalence between, say, George Washington and Che Guevara? Or between George Bush and Osama bin Laden? If viewers think so, that is their opinion. However, that doesn’t detract from the fact that the director thinks so and that his viewpoint informs the viewpoint of the movie that Islam is a positive religion and that Christianity is negative:
According to director James McTeigue, “It depends on the regime you’re fighting against. It depends on whether you consider the founding fathers of America terrorists. Or Nelson Mandela. Or Che Guevara.” (MTV)
These are just a few of the quotations that reveal what Alan Moore, Hugo Weaving, and James McTeigue describe as the film’s intent. Moore correctly identifies the Wachovski’s leftist and anti-American agenda. I encourage Christian viewers to learn to recognize when their faith is being attacked. Believers without a clear sense of their own identity will be unable to recognize attacks on their faith.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
* The movie doesn’t state that Evey was a prostitute (a call girl), but it infers this through her portrayal. The film begins with Evey in her underwear dressing sexily, looking at an address written on a scrap of paper, and going into the dangerous streets after curfew. Why would she need a scrap of paper and dress sexily for a GAY friend and go into the streets knowing she could be picked up and tortured? Furthermore, I am told that in the graphic novel (which I have never read) the character Evey “was indeed a prostitute and was out turning tricks after curfew when she was attacked by some of the Fingermen (the secret police of the movie’s totalitarian government) and rescued by V.”
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.