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“Remember, remember the fifth of November.”
“V for Vendetta,” a 2006 action-thriller movie from which this quote is taken, takes place in a futuristic, dystopian society: a society in which an autocratic government reigns freely to no opposition, those capable of catalyzing change are corrupt and citizens are at a loss of individual liberties.
What may seem ironic is that, although this movie is categorized as taking place in a dystopian society, it shares a striking resemblance to our current political state.
With all that has occurred of late surrounding the National Security Agency, it begs the question of whether we’re far from such a state of affairs.
This may be a single example, and our political system is far from a fascist regime, but where is the line drawn?
The protagonist of the movie, V, is a masked vigilante who works to bring order to society and re-establish power among the people.
While others seem to either be content with their lives or feel powerlessly incapable of making a difference, V serves as the lone figure able to bring about the change paramount to restoring individuals with a sense of freedom.
Throughout different scenes of the movie, V’s actions instill virtues of freedom, liberty and social justice within the political regime and, more importantly, the people.
For those within the political system, V is seen as a cancer that must be terminated – while to the oppressed citizens of society, his actions serve as a catalyst for large-scale action.
This duality in what his actions mean to both those of the political system and citizens of society highlights the extreme nature of how dictatorial their governmental system is.
Under our political and judicial system, this freedom of speech would be protected in part by the First Amendment.
Under our Constitution, we are able to speak our minds, voice our opinions and rebut those we disagree with.
This is not the case in the movie, however. In the movie, the actions of V, in his attempt to restore power to the people and speak out against the government, are seen as heinous.
In this dystopian society, individuals are punished for speaking out and executed unfairly by the government for even the slightest disagreement with the political agenda.
People fear their governing body, and because of this, the voice of the individual is lost.
This is just one of the many flaws that V identifies within the political regime: “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
Aside from its value as a source of entertainment, this movie does an admirable job of shedding light on struggles that exist today.
In addition to their loss of voice, as mentioned earlier, citizens of this dystopian society also suffered from this conflict of social order versus their individual liberty.
While the cogs of this society may have coexisted in a seemingly mutually beneficial manner, it came at a steep price: the reduction/loss of individual liberties.
Other themes this movie touches upon throughout its course are the necessity to question the media, government and other authoritative figures, as well as the power that one individual has to perpetuate change.
“Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody. Everybody has their story to tell.”
In a society and world built upon this need to compete and pit ourselves against one another, it is often easy to forget that we are all special, and each of us carries the impetus for change.