13th June 2017


Time and time again throughout human history, the power of ideas has been apparent. Some of the many major roles of which ideas have played in history have been manipulating the direction of wars, sparking revolutions good and evil, giving masses new angles of which to look upon their very lives and how they view their fellow-man. In the eye-opening cinematic masterpiece that is V For Vendetta, we see James McTeigue’s passionate and precise composure to show the power of ideas in his many cinematic techniques, including symbolism in the “Fight Scene” and dialogue over many cutaways of synchronicity and symbolism again in the “Domino Scene”.

In the film V for Vendetta is the symbolism of the power of ideas and the symbolism of things commonly associated with anarchy to create a sense of unease. After killing all of Creedy’s men in the “Fight Scene” Creedy, after repeatedly shooting V at near point-blank range yells at V questioning why he will not die. In response, V exhaustively, but boldly states that “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” As we have never seen V’s actual face or even a patch of his bare skin, it is easy to forget that he is even a human being, or that he even has the flesh of a human being. We also have no idea of his origin, family, or if he has any friends or spouses, besides Evie. This side of V’s character development was left out deliberately, as McTeigue wanted the audience to see V as less of a human being and more of a walking, living, breathing idea, an idea that could not be stopped. This is apparent when V somehow absorbs all of Creedy’s men’s gunshots and shows no sign of pain or mortality (after killing all of Creedy’s men and then Creedy, V removes and tosses aside a bullet-hole ridden plate of which the audience did not know was on his person), causing the audience to question V’s humanity, as if he was truly a living embodiment of an idea, bulletproof and undefeatable, able to rise beyond human mortality. This shows the power of ideas, because as I mentioned earlier, this scene took away V’s humanity, seemingly removing his mortality and becoming the living avatar of an idea, showing the immortality and impenetrability of ideas. Later, after Sutler is killed, and when all of the citizens of London come to the British house of parliament to witness and support its destruction, they all wear V’s signature mask, circling back to V not living as a human being, but as an idea, the symbolism being that V lives in everyone who supports him, like an idea, showing that ideas backed with masses of people can have an immense amount of power. Even when V is dead, he is only dead as the dreamer of his idea and he, as an idea, still lives on through thousands of people and will almost certainly be remembered for as an idea and not as a human being, as what was memorable about him was his idea and not his personality. At the very end of the film, as she and Finch watching parliament explode, when Finch asks “Who was he?”, Evie replies “He was Edmond Dantés… and he was my father. And my mother… my brother… my friend. He was you… and me. He was all of us.”, confirming that not V’s humanity, nor his flesh vessel, but V’s idea lived and could live on to see the next revolution.

Also, in the film V for Vendetta, an intention in the “Domino Scene” was to show how small, seemingly insignificant actions while backed with brilliant ideas in tandem can create a state of anarchy. This was shown through cutaways backed with Finch’s dialogue, with everything he was saying immediately being shown happening in a different place, showing a state of synchronicity. The cutaways jumped from Finch, to happenings growing increasingly worse in the street, to V setting his elaborate array of dominoes, every cutaway showing more dominoes in place. For example, when Finch ponders “In all this chaos, someone will do something stupid.”, we see the little girl (who was frolicking around her neighborhood in her “V mask” spraying V’s “upside down anarchy” symbol) shot carelessly by an officer. The officer then removes the girl’s mask and realises who he has just murdered, likely thinking upon completing his action that it was his “patriotic duty”, or that he was being heroic, all of this completely changing when he discovers he has shot a small child, this showing the power of children on the sympathy of humans. We then see Finch say “And when they do, things will turn nasty.”, now cutting back to the officer, with a crowd consisting of citizens, most likely from the girl’s neighborhood gathering around him, grim-faced and merciless, one man eventually striking him over the head with a shovel, the screen turning black for a fraction of a second, in replication of the officer’s sudden unconsciousness or his death. We then see the screen return to Finch, who at which point remarks “And then Sutler will be forced to do the only thing he knows how to do.”, cutting to a scene of thousands of soldiers, readying their guns and taking aim, showing that “the only thing Sutler knows how to do” is respond to resistance with as much brute military force as he can throw at it, a huge cliché among dictators not only in films and stories, but also in real history and present day, e.g Kim Jong-Un. Finch then says “At which point, all V needs to do is keep his word. And then….”, the camera cuts to V, flicking over the first of his gigantic pattern of dominoes, setting of the expected chain reaction of the rest of the pattern slowly falling with it, the camera cutting back and forth between this and scenes of rioting and yelling, police officers firing rubber bullets and tear gas. An interpretation of this could be that the dominoes represent all of Britain and proves the concept that each “domino” (a domino being an individual) counts towards the downfall of order and the brink of a revolution. It also shows that one small action, like flicking over the first in a chain of dominoes, or in this case murdering a child in the name of patriotism can cause this immense reaction, causing thousands of people with the same idea to come to the realisation that they are not alone in their radical views and to have the courage to rebel against their society’s regime, turning back to the fact that unlike a simple flesh human being, an idea can live in masses of people, thusly enhancing the idea’s power.

In summary, the film V For Vendetta is an excellent display and portrayal of the power of ideas. Cinematic techniques used in the film to show this included symbolism in the “Fight Scene” and dialogue over various cutaways of synchronicity and symbolism again in the “Domino Scene”. James McTeigue clearly understood the power of ideas, as throughout history, dictators have risen and fallen all because of masses of people with the same idea, whether it be through fear or righteousness, or simply pure comprehension that the truth is the truth.

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. – Make sure your added info (subliminal messaging) doesn’t detract from your director’s intention…keep it clear

  2. Ok, I plan to put all that stuff in there next lesson.

  3. Hi Tyler,

    The task calls for ONE DIRECTOR’S INTENTION FOR BOTH SCENES. So have only one.

    Also ensure your writing continuously addresses:
    – Director intention
    – the two techniques together and the effect they create
    – Position of the viewer through the techniques
    – Worldview


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About Tyler

I am 17 and attend Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka, New Zealand. I have been playing rock and metal drums since the age of eight.