The movie ‘V for Vendetta’ directed by James McTeigue, displays many examples of film techniques used to convey messages of anarchy and freedom as well as the fight between freedom and totalitarianism in the film including the use of juxtaposition, colour, and slow motion. These techniques are shown in both the dominos scene and the final fight scene of the film and channel the collapse of the society that V has been determined to make fall, and the result of his actions against the state. As anarchy starts to set in amongst the city, the film techniques display the results.
The dominos scene in V for Vendetta is set in V’s hideout, V is seen placing a single domino in front of himself, while the shot cuts to delivery trucks distributing mass amounts of Guy Fawkes masks around the city. McTeigue uses the techniques of juxtaposition to deliver the message of the collapse of power that the government has over the people of London now, as V’s mask serves the purpose of anonymity and the ability to act freely, which they have been unable to do in fear of prosecution. The scene then shows both a young girl playing with her Guy Fawkes mask on, and a close up shot of a man robbing a store with the same shown mask; these two images serve as parallels to each other: one as how freedom is innocent and is something to be enjoyed, much like a child playing. The other lets the viewer see how the roots of anarchy are setting into the city and how the lack of discipline within the streets is affecting those within. With this, a voice over of Eric Finch, the Minister of Investigation, describes how “I suddenly had this feeling that everything was connected. It’s like I could see the whole thing, one long chain of events that stretched all the way back before Larkhill. I felt like I could see everything that happened, and everything that is going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me. And I realised we’re all part of it, and all trapped by it.”. The many dominos represent their society as a whole, and how when one falls, they all fall and create a new, changed pattern from the singular starting domino which represents V. The dominos juxtapose the rising situation which is seen throughout the city; as the image of the dominoes begins to come together piece by piece, it is being readied to create a masterpiece and an entirely new symbol as a whole, out of many individuals. The extreme close-up which comes with V flicking the first domino, to create his final picture, is used to convey the importance of his final action. He uses the rest of the dominos, or members of the city, to create one final and grand change, which cannot be reversed unless starting over again. Many events have led up to the anarchy and freedom of the state, the final event is seen as the scene cuts to the same little girl who had been playing in a Guy Fawkes mask, being shot by one of the patrolling officers, triggers the fall of the first domino. People are pushed to the point of frustration from the lies and injustice of the state that they choose to no longer live in ignorance, but instead, take action and fight against the injustices which have been placed upon them. The montage used in this scene allows the viewer to have a sense of all the events coming together and ties in with the use of the dominos; as the final picture of the dominos is created, piece by piece, as are the surrounding events. When the scene cuts to the last standing domino, there is an emphasis on this domino piece. I believe this singular domino both represents Evey as well as the idea of V, he started the chain reaction, being represented by the first domino, but Evey is the one to finish it and this allows the idea of V to live on. After all the other pieces have collapsed, one remains standing.
“Beneath this mask, there is more than flesh, Beneath this mask, there is an idea, Mr Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” The final fight scene in the film displays the image of Creedy and V in a showdown, alongside the other agents of the state that are Creedy’s backup. Creedy is seemingly confident that they have now captured V and that he is no longer able to wreak havoc on their stable totalitarian dictatorship, as he demands to V “take off your mask.”. When V does not comply with this, guards encircle him; to which he both disarms them and kills them, as seen in a close-up shot. The use of dark colours in this shot, especially behind Creedy, allows the viewer to get a feeling of the coldness and harshness that the state incurs, and how the final fight scene is important, as V is defeating this state of darkness to make way for a new society. The director uses low lighting to enhance and create these colours and uses this to address the nature of the state. As the guards are killed, there is an extreme close up on the blood spilling from the bodies; this is seen as a way for the director to convey how with each member of the dictatorship that he eliminates, the closer he is to complete his goal. There is an enhancement and focus on the red of the blood in the shot, as red is known as a colour of extremes, there has been an emphasis in the film that extreme measures may need to be taken in order for the final collapse of a vicious state, even if that means the deaths of those who implement the rules of the state. Next, the shot cuts to a full shot of V standing alone, after a full shot of the semi-circle of armed guards and Creedy. V may be outnumbered and outgunned, but he does not back down as he is an idea and ideas never die. This can much be compared to the famous picture ‘Tank Man’ which depicts a young Chinese man standing in front of armed tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989 after armed forces attempted to shut down protests against that state. Not caring for his own well being, the man much like V, decided to stand against an abuse of power and thus created a symbol which has gone on to inspire many. Scenes like these allow the viewer to understand that solidarity can be translated into power even if against physically stronger forces, and the mere idea of protest when everyone else is too afraid to do so is powerful enough to provoke change. Next, the scene cuts to a slow motion of a rain of bullets upon V, he stumbles back but never falls and once he has been shot enough for the guards to have given up, an extreme close up of V’s Guy Fawkes mask is shown with a dark backlight but a focus on the features of the mask; after which V can be seen rise again and utter “My turn.”. This reinforces the idea that V is not just a man in a mask, he is an idea and a symbol which will always rise again as long as people have the freedom of thought. The slow motion of the knives being thrown in the air towards the guards by V, emphasises the notion that these knives are one more weapon that V can use to bring down the totalitarian government and almost serve as a metaphor for the many tools he uses to provide the society with a means of an end to the lies and injustices of the state. The director uses these such techniques to show the viewer that although V may just be a man, he represents more than that when he has the mask on, and even though V may pass, his ideas live on through his symbol.
In the film V for Vendetta, the director James McTeigue uses different film techniques to convey ideas about society and the power of an idea. As V says in the film, “People should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of their people.”, this is a message which many within certain countries in our present day society should take into account I believe, and one which has displayed throughout the film using techniques such as slow motion, juxtaposition and colour. Through the use of these techniques, the director allows us to be more connected to the film’s message and understand V’s actions as we can relate to his response within the situation, as well as empathise with those affected. McTeigue uses the simple notion that an idea causes a chain reaction great enough to spark the downfall of an entire government, and I feel that this is an important message for better or worse, that is not given enough consideration in our current times.