V for Vendetta is a dystopian thriller directed by James McTeigue, it is based off a graphic novel written by Alan Moore. In this analysis I will be discussing the domino scene and the final fight scene. The director successfully uses the techniques of lighting, symbolism, juxtaposition and camera shots to convey his message. The director’s intention is to warn viewers that idleness and complacency will allow a government to strip the rights away from it’s citizens, the director also shows the viewer how to take action against the tyranny of a dictatorship. Unless the people speak up and take a stand for their civil liberties, the government will steal them away. In this film, the director shows how the citizens of future London almost lose their freedom when they become complacent with the new government, the Norsefire regime, that force conformity on London.

For the Domino scene the director juxtaposes the ideas of individuality and freedom against forced conformity through the symbol of the mask. Throughout the film the citizens become more and more displeased with the amount of control that the government has on them. V takes advantage of this emotion and channels it into a rebellion. The rebellion only happened when the citizens finally decided to take back their civil liberties and started speaking up for the injustices committed against them, this was only made possible by the masks. The rebellion used masks to hide their personal identities as they are afraid of the government, when V wears the mask he becomes bigger than himself in the sense that he is representing every person in London that has been hurt by the Norsefire regime. When the citizens put on the mask they no longer were individuals but a movement, the government can persecute individuals but it is much more difficult to stop a movement. The masks allowed people to speak their mind without facing any consequences, therefore the mask worn by V and his followers is symbolic of the freedom of speech. An example of this juxtaposition between freedom and forced conformity is when Adam Sutler is in  a meeting with the other Norsefire leaders and he tells them that he wants, “anyone caught with one of those masks arrested.” This piece of dialog is used to juxtapose freedom and forced conformity, by showing how the leader of the Norsefire regime opposes freedom of speech. The director also uses the technique of symbolism in the domino scene. In the domino scene the camera keeps cutting between the two scenes of the dominoes falling and the people of London rebelling against the Norsefire regime. V pushed the first domino over which caused many other dominoes to fall over, this is used to show us how one single action that V makes can cause a avalanche of actions by the people of London. The dominoes falling is symbolic of the government falling apart as V’s plans fall into place. This symbol of the domino furthers the directors purpose, it shows us how a single action can have a massive impact and everyone’s involvement is needed to start a movement. Even if you think you are insignificant in the long scheme, everyone’s contribution is needed to achieve something.

In the final fight scene the director uses the techniques of lighting and camera shots to further the viewing experience and the directors purpose. Throughout the final fight scene the director back lights the officers of the Norsefire regime with a soft blue lighting that is coming down through the subway entrance while V has no back lighting. The soft blue lighting behind the Norsefire officers gives a surreal sense of dominance to the viewer, this gives the sense that the Norsefire officers are dominant over V. The director purposefully does not back light V to make him look more meek and vulnerable. The purposeful back lighting, or lack of back lighting, in this scene makes the officers look like they have the upper hand over V. The director also uses camera angles in this scene to further his purpose. At the start of the scene there is a wide shot that shows V standing in the middle of the scene with a semicircle of officers around him. This is used to show how outnumbered V is and once again make him look vulnerable. After being shot by the officers, V gets up and singlehandedly kills every officer. When confronted on why V wouldn’t die by bullets, he replies, “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. There is an idea Mr.Creedy and ideas are bulletproof.” This is used for the purpose to show that even though V is of flesh and blood, he wears the mask. The mask is made of idea’s, and once an idea starts it can’t be stopped, even by bullets. The director masterfully combines the two film techniques of camera shots and lighting to produce a scene that helps to display the directors purpose. The purpose of the director is to show the viewer that even in the face of evil and when success seems unlikely, we can find victory when we come together. When people come together they create an idea, what the director is trying to tell us is that when an idea is formed it cannot be stopped.

The film V for Vendetta is arguably one of the greatest political thrillers of its time. It conveys a strong message to the viewers that is still topical today. Through the use of symbolism, juxtaposition, camera shots and lighting the director conveys to us the message that we must not be too complacent with the actions of a government as this leads to a government stripping us of our rights. In a world where North Korea has stripped it’s citizens of their civil liberties by preventing people from leaving the country and stripping them of their right to speak freely, the directors message could not be any more significant. The director conveys his message in the domino scene by showing us viewers how we can take a stance against the government if we come together as one. The director does this by juxtaposing the ideas of individuality and freedom against forced conformity and using the symbol of the mask. In the final fight scene the director presents the idea that even in the face of evil and when success seems unlikely, we can find victory when we come together. This is made possible through the use of camera angles and lighting techniques that make V seem vulnerable to the officers. In conclusion, I enjoyed the film V for Vendetta for the messages it conveyed and the way that these messages were artfully entwined into what I believed was an exciting action thriller.

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  1. A good introduction, Sam. Remember to describe the effect on the viewer of each cinematography technique used, and how the techniques work together to create an effective scene.

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  2. Check that you are using the correct terminology for cinematography techniques, Sam.

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