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Coincidences of Terrorism

Given recent events, I find it strange that I didn't know that they're making a movie of the old Alan Moore comic V for Vendetta until I read about it today on Althouse. Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman star, while the Wachovski Brothers and Joel Silver are in production. And unlike another Hollywood recreation of a Vertigo Comics property, not doing something stupid like setting the film in the States.

From the synopsis:

Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he detonates two London landmarks and takes over the government-controlled airwaves, urging his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression.

Well, sort of. In Moore's vision of the future, Britain has become a fascist state, brutally corrupt and oppressive, inspiring the anti-hero "V" to hide behind a grinning Guy Fawkes mask and a purple overcoat while committing acts of terror. The comic has an eerie ambivalence: V appears as a psychopath willing kill anyone and to torture his own accomplice in order to teach her a lesson in "freedom." The government, on the other hand, sports fascist goon squads and secret torture laboratories. While I didn't find V for Vendetta to be Moore's best work, he at least presented an anti-hero with moral failings that lent the work a complexity often lost on Hollywood.

Which is why this line from the synopsis of the movie novelization is worrying:

A frightening and powerful story of the loss of freedom and identity in a totalitarian world, V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate future in which Germany wins WWII and Britain becomes a fascist state.

The original didn't feel the need to blame the Germans: post-apocalyptic Britain descended into fascism very well on its own. And shorn of its moral ambiguity, I'm not sure what much of interest remains in the story.

More than that, I wonder about the timing. When so many are busy using the term "fascist" to describe the American--and occasionally the British--government, and terrorists have actually struck London, what will be this film's market?

cover
V for Vendetta

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