The film ‘V For Vendetta’ directed by James McTeigue is a dystopian political thriller set in a near future London that follows a vigilante known as ‘V’. ‘V’ is an anti-hero who has very strong political views against the current government in power and plans to seek revenge and change by committing an act of “terrorism” on the buildings of parliament. Two main scenes in the film are the ‘domino scene’ and the ‘fight scene’ as they are both turning points in the film and set up the following scenes and sequences. Two key techniques used in these scenes are symbolism, and the use of diegetic sound, especially through use of dialogue. We see and hear these repeatedly used throughout both of these scenes to influence the viewers thoughts and ideas on what has happened, what is happening, and what is about to happen. These techniques are also affectively used to project the directors intention which is the power of ideas.
The Domino scene starts off with a close-up head shot of the High Chancellor (Adam Sutler), leader of the current government Norsefire, speaking to his fellow party members. His bland but intense facial expressions and use of diegetic and non diegetic sound makes the shot powerful for the viewer and influences our thinking about how he can influence the public and has the ability to control people through his words. This control through words can be related to many world leaders both in the past and the future which again is used to allow the audience/viewer to be able to relate to memorable events in the life they have lived. The shot cuts to Mr Creedy (Peter Creedy) with lighting only on his face and the background is dark. This hints to the audience of his dark past and symbolises how the Norsefire party has a dark background. We see the shot cut to ‘V’ placing the first domino down onto the ground via and extreme close up and we also note a change in sound. Diegetic sound of him placing down the domino is increased over top of the non-diegetic backing track to make the viewer realise and understand that this is a key moment in the film. ‘V’ setting down this domino symbolises how its the beginning of the process of tipping over the government and the start of a new era. We see symbolism of the letter ‘V’ when there is an overhead shot of the trains as there is s split in the tracks shaped like a ‘V’. This is symbolism of not only the letter V but the idea ‘V’ holds and the power of it. It also leads us to link the trains and packages being distributed off of them to ‘V’ which is concluded when the boxes are opened and we see the contents (masks and cloaks). The use of diegetic sounds is also used in this section of the scene and is the screeching of trains braking which also acts as a suspenseful sound. It also symbolises how not only the train, but the government is stopping. One scene in this sequence is when the man dressed in ‘V’s mask and cloak robs a store. James McTeigue uses shots switching from the robbery to inspector Finch along with sentences from both to create a sentence for the audience to hear. Inspector Finch and his partner Dominic respond to the influx of incoming calls regarding the box deliveries by saying “the whole cities gone mad”… “this is exactly what he wants…” the shot then cuts back to the robber who fires his gun into the air and yells “ANARCHY IN THE UK”. This sequence symbolises how ‘V’ has created a sense of lawlessness, disorder and ‘anarchy’ but has not forced the public to do anything, the public are doing it themselves as they like ‘V’ feel the same way about the current government. One major symbol we see in this sequence is the use of flash backs and flash forwards. This is shown effectively to sum up what has happened in the film this point and also to foreshadow upcoming events. These flash backs shows events in ‘V’s life and the sequence of events leading up to the current point in the film. They also symbolise how ‘V’s past has been a critical part of the story and that historic events and life experiences can influence people’s decisions and actions. The flash forwards give us a glimpse of what is about to happen in the film. During these flash backs the director keeps cutting the shot back to ‘V’ setting up the dominos which both symbolises how the end of the Norsefire party is getting closer and closer, but also just like how placing all the dominos are steps to getting the final product, all the events in ‘V’s life are all steps to him over throwing the Norsefire party. Throughout the scenes we see the letter V symbolised a lot. This is used by the director to remind and show us that ‘V’s ideas and actions are so influential and are witnessed almost everywhere. During this sequence we also see a lot of cut shots to families and groups of regular people who have been shown to us throughout the film. This is to symbolise how ‘V’s idea and hope is not only expressed/felt by him, but by the people of London. The moment when ‘V’ flicks over the first domino is a very key and influential moment in the film as it symbolises the start of the chain of events that will bring down the Norsefire party. The use of extreme close up as well as diegetic sound of ‘V’s glove and movement of his finger enhanced over the non-diegetic sound makes the audience both see and hear the importance of this shot and creates a feeling of intensity and power. The enhanced diegetic sound of the dominos falling fades into the change of shot (changes to riot footage) which the director uses to symbolise that the collapse of the Norsefire party will not happen without an uprising/riots. James McTeigue also uses real historic riot footage which shows how the film relates to real life events. As the dominos are falling over the shot flicks back and forward between the riot films to symbolise how people are expressing their ideas finally. We see an overhead shot of the dominos which shows that they form a ‘v’. This is another use of symbolism used by James McTeigue. The Domino sequence ends with a close up shot of ‘V’ picking up the final domino still standing which shows us how ‘V’ holds the final piece needed to overthrow the government.
The final fight scene is used to bring closure to several events throughout the film and to answer several questions the audience may hold. It is riddled with symbolism and the use of diegetic sounds to help express the directors intentions. An example of this is when Creedy demands that the Chancellor is “brought down”. This symbolises how the Chancellor is not only physically being brought down, but metaphorically as well as his death will open up possibility of a new leader and a new government. When the Chancellor is being brought down his speech is being projected (non-diegetic sound) however the shot flips between him being brought down and him saying the speech. In his speech he is talking about how ‘V’ will be “prosecuted as a terrorist without leniency or exception”, however we see that as the Chancellor is brought down, he is talking about himself as he is the real terrorist. As the bag over his head is lifted, his speech in the background is saying that “justice will be swift, it will be righteous, and it will be without mercy”. However when the bag is lifted off his head he is crying and fearful, opposite to what he appears on TV. This symbolises again how he is not what he pretends to be and that his speech is really about him, not ‘V’. The rose that ‘V’ slides into his coat pocket is apiece of ‘V’s past and symbolises all the great things the Chancellor destroyed in his path to control. The symbol of the letter V appears throughout the fight scene. It can be seen when he holds up his knifes (they form a V), the way Creedy’s soldiers are arranged and how there are five (roman numeral V) shots in Creedy’s gun. This symbolises how his ideas are influential and how he has such a widespread effect on people. When Creedy shoots him as ‘V’ approaches him, he asks in desperation “why won’t you die!”. “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, beneath this mask there is an idea Mr Creedy, and idea’s are bullet proof”. This is a very important quote as it directly relates to the directors purpose which is the power of idea’s. This shows that people’s idea’s are one of the most powerful things and can overthrow the government and create change. They are bulletproof. The final shot of the fight scene shows ‘V’ slide against the wall as he is critically wounded. As the shot closes we get a glimpse of the symbol V on the wall created by ‘V’s blood. This shows that even though ‘V’ dying, his idea is still alive. We as the audience can relate to this as we have seen similar events in history such as the civil rights movement in the USA. Martin Luther King Jr. gave people an idea and even though he was assassinated, the idea still lived and eventually change came.
These two scenes in the film ‘V for Vendetta’ are two scenes that clearly show the directors intention which is the power of ideas. They show this through the use of symbolism and diegetic sound. Symbols such as the letter V are influential in these scenes as they are repeated for the effect of making the audience understand that ‘V’ has not created the idea, but merely made it known to people and how he has such a large influence on it. Diegetic sound is also a big part of helping the audience understand this idea as it backs up the idea by allowing us to hear characters thoughts. I believe that these two scenes are influential to the films development and development of the directors intentions.