Monday, 12 October 2015

Film Review - Character Archetypes - V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is a 2006 film adaptation of Alan Moore's comic book, the film is loosely based on the events of the book and features only a few of the characters and plot lines.  
The film follows a masked vigilante named "V" who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and plots against the oppressive, tyrannical British government, in due course he saves and becomes close to a girl named Evey who becomes embroiled in his plans. Key themes of the film are totalitarianism, freedom and government control.  

In this review I will explore hero archetypes based on the characters that are present in the film. The hero of the story is varied, while it could be argued that V is the hero he acts in ways that are questionable. In some cases his actions even threaten the lives of people whom he claims to want to save (such as placing an explosive device inside a television studio). V's motives for commiting these acts ostensibly extend from his desire to free the public from the oppression of the British government but later on in the film it is revealed that V was a tortured and a subject of human experimentation at a scientific concentration camp, his desire for freedom of the public is rooted in his need for vengeance against several key people (hence the name of the film V for Vendetta).

Another primary character who fits the profile of a hero is Evey, a young woman who V saves from a trio of state-sanctioned thugs. Evey portrays the reluctant hero; shes does not want to become embroiled in V's schemes but her mere association with him prevents her from returning to normal society without attracting the attention of the state.Evey becomes a key part of the plot and eventually fulfils a vital role that determines the future of the country.

Evey's actions are particularly imporatant as in the last stage of the film she is led by V to an underground station to a train rigged with explosives, the train is set to travel to and then destroy parliment, doing so will destroy the totalitarian government and allow the people to be free. V gives Evey the choice of whether or not to activate the train, which she does, destroying parliment and the government.  

The mentor of the film could arguably be V as he mentors Evey in philosophy about freedom and ideology, he also in a certain sense mentors other characters (even against their will) such as Peter Creedy whom he kills after stating that "ideas are bulletproof", and even the general public when he broadcasts a powerful speech about the actions of the government and the public itself.

The unquestionable shadow of the film is the head of the standing British government; a one Adam Sutler, the unrelenting, vicious dictator who "leads" Britain. The audience is aware that Sutler is the villain early when he addresses a conference of key party members on the topic of covering up the truth surrounding V and his actions. Although Sutler is the "main" shadow for the film another character is brought into the limelight, a one Peter Creedy; a key figure in the state's police force who secretly desires to usurp Sutlers command. Creedy comes in later on in the film as Sutler becomes increasingly critical of Creedy's actions and begins to blame him for all of the inabilities to capture V.

Figure - 2 
V confronts a captured Chancellor Sutler 

The "shapeshifter" of the movie is a man named Inspector "Finch"; an inspector in the London police force who becomes the lead investigator on the cases related to V's actions. Finch is a key character in the film as is the one responsible for investigating V's crimes. At first Finch investigates the murders that V commits and although he is a police officer in the state's oppressive police force we get an early impression of the inspector as a calm, controlled person with an bringing V to justice rather than focusing on maintaining the government's power.

As the film progresses we learn more about the events that led up to the establishment of the dictatorial government, namely the seeming collapse of the rest of the world and the release of a deadly incurable virus that ultimately leads to the creation of the police state. Finch changes over the course of the film and although he still retains his want of justice against V he begins to understand V's struggle. Finch eventually finds Evey on the underground and holds her at gunpoint before she can activate the explosive laden train, instead of arresting Evey however he lets her acivate the train as he himself has become disillusioned with the government. 

V and Evey have few real allies in the film, Finch doesn't qualify as an ally as although he ultimately sympathises with their goals he does not aid them throughout the film. One ally that Evey makes is a man named Gordon Dietrich, a television presenter who hosts a show on the TV station that Evey works for. Dietrich takes Evey in when she witnesses the murder of a prominent bishop by V, he shelters her and then opens up to her about his character. During the course of sheltering Evey his house is attacked and he is taken by the state police for broadcasting a humiliating TV show about chancellor Sutler.

 Figure 1 - James Mcteigue, 2006, large_wlYPNBApf49XK30M0ML8YfnNHen.jpg [ONLINE] Available at:

Figure 2 - James Mcteigue, 2006, maxresdefault.jpg [ONLINE] Available at:

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