Sunday, March 19, 2006

V for Vendetta - 83%

"In exchange for peace and prosperity, we demand your absolute obedience and silence"

A very disturbing yet familiar statement mentioned in the movie. This story stars Natalie Portman as Evey, a timid young reporter who was one day rescued by a V, a terrorist who blows up buildings to make his point heard, and then she was trained to become a voice, a face of V's cause. V aims to overthrow the ideas and the government which behaves like a big brother, who commands nothing less than obedience by using fear and media manipulation to control the people. Sounds a lot like Singapore if you ask me. :) The society is not necessarily poor or the people impoverished, it is just way too controlled. The difference between Singapore and the London depicted in the story, is that the people are not stupid, the British can tell that the goverment is feeding them horseshit - Singaporeans don't know and couldn't care less to be bothered.

I usually judge how good (or bad) a film is by observing how much discussion or questions are raised after I watched the movie. This movie raised many "what ifs" and I think that is a good thing - it sets you thinking. It will surely raise many arguments as to whether this movie was made to make comparison between the current state of affairs in the US, given its underlying terrorism theme. It also makes people wonder, if the people should not simply brand the Middle Eastern terrorists as killers and people who do not agree with the ideas of Freedom - whether we should look deeper and understand them as human beings and what are the ideals that they are standing for. I mean let's face it, even in a so-called democracy in Singapore, are there really freedom? So maybe instead of waging wars against the insurgents, maybe a self reflection should be done to question not them, but ourselves, if we are still standing for what we preach?

I also can't help thinking that V is like a alternate version of the Phantom while Evey his Christine. The Phantom has a face to hide, and so does V, and he trains Evey to be the voice and face of his ideas, just as the Phantom did the same for Christine. Was Phantom of the Opera an inspiration for V? I don't know but there sure are plenty of references.

Natalie Portman gave a good performance, but not great. There were a few instances of over-acting which I was surprised to see but it could due to directions. And her accent didn't seem so convincing either. Hugo Weaving's face was never seen, but gave a great voice performance for V. A thought provoking movie that raises more questions than ask them.


tscd said...

Do people live in fear in Singapore? You can hardly compare life in Singapore to that Nazi Germany.

Yee-Wei Chai said...

You can always compare Singapore to somewhere worse and then say "it is not so bad" and carry on with life. It is like saying, "hey our customer service level here is not so bad compared to let's say HK of 20 years ago. So let's not be so hard on ourselves". It is exactly this way of thinking that keeps us complacent.
The movie is an exaggeration of a society which is over authoritarian in nature - the exaggeration is what makes it a movie. But it's ideas are completely relevant and open for comparison.

Anonymous said...

In singapore, people do not live in fear, they live in complete apathy and resignation.

now, the question is, are people happy with that?

-ben said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
-ben said...

You can always compare Singapore to somewhere worse and then say "it is not so bad" and carry on with life.

yee-wei-chai is right on. tscd will do well to watch "The Pianist" (again?) and pay particular attention to how the Jews in the movie gradually surrender their rights with the rationale of "It's not so bad. They are just asking for a little bit. We still have some."

And yes, Singaporeans do live in fear. Do some research on the amount of discussion (online and traditional media) taking place in Singapore about Islam's place in the 21st century after the prosecution of the 3 bloggers. While the rest of the world was debating about the Denmark cartoons and ensuing riots, the Singaporean blogging community chose to focus on safe topics like the NYP Tammy video fiasco.

No, I'm not supporting the local opposition, nor am I running for office. Nor am I advocating any sort of uprising, civil or otherwise. I'm a "quitter," remember?