“……justice will be swift, it will be righteous, and it will be without mercy.”, Adam Subtler, Chancellor of England.
In the Film “V for Vendetta”, directed by James McTeigue, cinematography techniques are used to show the viewer the power of an idea. The use of clever set-pieces, dialogue and soundtrack are used to show how the power of an idea can motivate those people who just need an idea to get behind to do great thing and how an idea cannot be killed, even if a man can.
This is first shown during “The Domino scene”. In this scene, a sequence of V setting up a large set of domino’s is show, while throughout, flashes of other scenes shown throughout the movie are flashed, which are all the pieces of what V has done, how V came to be, and flashes of key other scenes from the film. This shows the Domino Effect of the events that lead up to the plan of blowing up of parliament by V, shown in a montage style short flashing of scenes, including foreshadowing of the future, which is juxtaposed by an actual domino set made by V. He sets up this set while Inspector finch talks over him, saying “….all V has to do is keep his word (to blow up parliament), and then….”, which is when V knocks over the domino set, and flashes of scenes of real-life riots and different camera shots and angles of the domino’s falling are shown. This knocking down of the domino set is representative of V’s plan coming to fruition, and how after years of setup, all he has to do to instigate a rebellion is make the people of England act on their feelings that have been brewing inside them. In essence, “All V (had) to do (was) keep his word”. V, throughout the film, see’s himself as an idea, stating “There is a face beneath this mask but it’s not me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it or the bones beneath them”, the mask also referring to both the literal mask on his face and the mask of an ideal for people to believe in, rather than a real person. This ‘mask’ let the people of England believe in a symbol to rise up in the name of, and thus overthrew the government. A similar situation is presented to us in the novel 1984, but instead of an idea of revolution, both the blind, fanatical love of the head of state Big Brother, and the the perpetual, state-sponsored hate of the supposed revolutionary Emmanuel Goldstein were symbols meant to control the public. Both of these figures are kept vague and undisclosed in the novel, so we cannot truly know if they are real or not, that they are only idea’s. The feelings that were indoctrinated into the citizens in 1984 were meant to quell any seditious thoughts of rebellion and revolution, and thus keep the public under control. In this example, the power of an idea is shown to be able to control people from doing anything against a government, as they are to infatuated to do so, and hate the opposition not matter what, which is using the same principles as V, control the emotions of the people in order to push them to do something. While in V’s case it was for the betterment of themselves, in 1984, Big Brother and Goldstein are used as idea’s to control the people.
The second scene where The power of an idea is shown is during the climactic fight scene between V and the only remaining antagonist, Mr Creedy, via dialogue and soundtrack. Mr Creedy and his men empty their firearms at V, whom manages to remain standing despite this, and then proceeds to kill them all. He kills Mr Creedy last, who yells out “Die! Die! Why won’t you die!?” while firing his revolver, to which V responds “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea Mr Creedy, and Ideas are bulletproof.” This piece of the scene has no real soundtrack, just a very final sounding orchestral background noise, only barely heard, which makes the dialogue the real focus of me, the audience. The power of an idea is show here because the film outright states that an “idea (is) bulletproof”, meaning while a man may be killed with a gun, an idea cannot be harmed by violence because it is an idea. The non-digetic sound of the orchestral soundtrack that plays so very softly adds so much more weight to V’s dialogue, as it plays just under the dialogue so it is only just barely noticeable. It adds a very final tone to V’s equally final statement, which, when I watched it, sent a shiver down my spine, which is fitting, considering this scene is the final fight scene and the beginning of the finale of blowing up parliament. This scene shows the power of idea, by outright telling the audience that an idea cannot be killed by normal means, and since an idea cannot be killed, it makes it very powerful indeed against the people who fight against the cause.
In conclusion, in the film “V for Vendetta” by James McTeigue, Clever set-pieces, dialogue and soundtrack was used in order to show the power of an idea. With the actions of V in the domino scene that allude to his actions during and before the events of the film, and how he being an untouchable idea rather than a man allows him to spark a revolution, and the dialogue in the Final fight scene with Creedy where it literally outright states how an idea cannot be killed, even if a man can, the power of idea’s is shown everywhere throughout this movie.