The year is 2020, and a once-chaotic England is now ruled by a Christian totalitarian government controlled by a dictator known as the Chancellor (John Hurt). The British people themselves are docile, submitting to unrelenting censorship, curfews, and willing to look the other way as gays, Muslims, and anyone else who challenges authority are “bagged” and made to disappear.
V, played by Hugo Weaving, is a masked revolutionary driven by a mysterious past to try to bring down this corrupt government. Brilliant, slightly mad, and always enigmatic, V joins a long list of cinematic loners out to change the world. In typical action movie fashion, Vendetta opens as V rescues Evey (Natalie Portman) from attack, changing the course of a life which until now had been lived in terror and without purpose.
But what drives V? What gives him his courage and conviction? This is where Vendetta, a movie about revolution, itself becomes revolutionary.
Every GLBT person is used to seeing homosexuality portrayed cinematically as shorthand for evil, weakness, and immorality. Does the villain in your summer action blockbuster need a heightened sense of menace? Then have Cillian Murphy portray the mad psychologist in Batman Begins as prissy and mincing. Is the psychopath in your thriller not quite immoral enough? Then take a cue from Basic Instinct and make her a man-hating bisexual. Or perhaps you just want to convey that your film’s setting is one of loose morals and debauchery. Then look to Cabaret where the acceptance of homosexuality cues the audience into 1930 Berlin’s decadence.
Sometimes, in movies like Under the Tuscan Sun or Must Love Dogs, GLBT people get to be the best friend of the main character. And sometimes in comedies like Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Bird Cage, GLBT love is shown to be equal to that of heterosexuals.
But if what’s needed is to communicate all that is good and right in the world, that love and honor are what’s worth fighting and dying for, that courage and integrity are the highest ideals, then that is always a job for heterosexuals.
V for Vendetta changes all that.
From the beginning of the movie, the horror and injustice of life in Vendetta‘s fascist state are illustrated by the fate of GLBT people, who are vehemently denounced by those in power.
Here homosexuality is a crime and those convicted are made to disappear.