James McTeigue’s 2005 film ‘V for Vendetta’ is a movie set in a dystopian future that explores McTeigue’s intentions as a director of the power of ideas. In 2028, the United Kingdom has fallen into a state of corruption since the fascist government party, ‘Norsefire’ has been elected into power. The country lives in constant fear of the government and it’s nazi like ruling which has led to the banishment of immigrants, muslims, homosexuals and terrorists. V is the stories anti-hero, who bases himself off of Guy Fawkes by wearing a mask and cape throughout the film. V, as an anarchist, takes it upon himself to try and get rid of the ‘Norsefire’ party and the totalitarian regime they rule with and proceed’s to do this through terrorist like attacks. Near the beginning of the film, V states that “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.” Evey Hammond is V’s accomplice and also opposes the government but to scared of what the consequences could be, “But every time I’ve sen this world change, it’s always been for the worse.” The common theme throughout the film of the power of ideas is most commonly represented in the domino scene and the fight scene, both towards the ending of the movie. McTeigue’s uses both symbolism and the use of dialogue in the domino scene as tow effective cinematography techniques to convey his intention of the power of ideas. For the fight scene, symbolism is again a key cinematography technique as well as slow motion shots to effectively convey the directors intention of the power of ideas.
A single black domino is laid on the concrete floor, the leather gloves stretching as the fingers unclasp from it. This scene is the domino scene which begins with V laying a single black domino on the floor. The first cinematography technique is the use of dialogue and how it is used to show that V as an idea has been head by the UK public. The scene then cuts to shot of a man with his own Guy Fawkes mask on who is robbing a shop “Gimme your money, gimme your fucken money!” When Finch enters his office, after receiving his own Guy Fawkes mask and cape, the phones are going crazy and “This is exactly what he wants.” “What?” – Dominic. The camera then cuts back to the shot of the robber just as he says “Anarchy in the UK!” before firing a gunshot and running out the door. The camera then cuts back to Finch in his office again as he says one word, “Chaos.” This is an effective use of dialogue because it representing the power that an idea has to create disorder and turmoil. This is a display of the directors intention and the effect that this has on the viewer is a demonstration of the power that V, as an idea, has over the government. This makes the viewer feel compelled to review the similarities of this action compared to the real world and could be linked to ongoing problems that we have today, such as the power and constant threat of ISIS.
Symbolism is another key cinematography technique in the domino scene to display the directors intention. Once V has laid all of the dominoes, a birds-eye view camera shot shows us the shape that he has created with them, a red V in a black circle which is his trademark symbol. The V does not only represent who he is, but what he was. V was subject no. 5 in a laboratory that labelled their subjects doors with roman numerals, the roman numeral for 5 is V. This is symbolic in that V is perceived as an idea by the audience. The setting up of the domino’s represents the setting up of V’s plan to overthrow the Norsefire party and the time it takes to do so is represented through the use of the montage. V lays the first domino, a black one, at the beginning of the montage, before the camera shot with the original Guy Fawkes and then the laboratory with V on the door. After a few more shots from the beginning, it comes back to V laying dominos and he has moved onto having a few more rows, the process then repeats itself by showing more of the key shots from the film before returning to V, who has laid more dominos in that time. This is a key of symbolism to show how long V’s plan has taken to set up and it also creates a feeling of anticipation within the audience as they wait to see what the shape of all of the dominos will create. When V finally finishes and flicks the base of the V shape, the whole set up of the dominos falls easily and the camera skips between shots of the falling dominos and shots of rebellion against governments. This accentuates the built up anticipation of the audience as they have also waited to see the dominos fall and the camera shots of rebellion will help the audience to reflect on the societal issues we have today, which could include the terrorist attacks that are happening all through Europe at the moment. The power of ideas is also represented through the use of symbolism because it is V who has set the dominos up, V has laid his plan, V will overthrow the government, and V is represented as an idea. As all of the dominos fall, they circle around to leave one final domino standing, a red one. This could be symbolic of the change that has occurred as V began with a black domino and finished with a red one, showing the change in power.
Symbolism is yet another key technique in this scene that McTeigue has used to display the power of ideas. Throughout the scene, the V symbol is apparent, but not obviously. Once Creedy’s men empty their guns magazine’s into V, he is doubled over and inhales and exhales noisily, which enhances the emotive feeling that the audience already has for V. V straightens up and then throws two of his knives, one for each of the men on either side of Creedy. Both of the knives complete five revolutions each, remembering that V is the roman numeral for five.
The V does not only represent who he is, but what he was. V was subject no. 5 in a laboratory that labelled their subjects doors with roman numerals, the roman numeral for 5 is V. This represents how V is an perceived as an idea by the audience and there are many more uses This has a connection to how V is viewed as an idea and McTeigue’s intention to demonstrate this as his intention.
The second scene begins with a short montage from rooms that we have seen throughout the movie that have always had people in them. These include a family sitting room, the pub, an old folks home, etc. When the camera skips through them in this scene, the Chancellor is on TV talking about the threat that V has to the nation and the punishments people will receive for supporting him, but he is heard by no one as the rooms are empty.