The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

You Say You Want a Revolution?

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The Christian response to the release of V for Vendetta has been nothing less than predictable. Apparently we haven’t yet reached the point where we are unsurprised when sinful men make sinful movies about sinful acts. I followed all of the hype surrounding V with much anticipation because I was interested in seeing the movie for myself. Having done that, I must now take a different approach with my views on this film. While not a rosy, fun-for-the-whole-family type flick, V leaves itself wide open for critique in its most basic message—how to bring about societal change. While most Christians have lambasted V as a liberal propaganda piece which promotes terrorism, normalizes homosexuality, exalts the Koran, and exposes the supposed evils of the far right (it is); it is so much more than that. Here is a great opportunity to actually teach people something through the visual medium, and we should not let this pass us by.

The worldview of V for Vendetta is that ideas are powerful and have the ability to outlive those who hold them. V, the person, is really an idea incarnate. Tired of living under the thumb of the dictatorial, ministerial, and judicial triumvirate of the current administration, V decides to take matters into his own hands. His revolution is aimed at waking up the sleeping proletariat of the futuristic U.K. His first public outing is a successful bombing of the Old Bailey in London. Dressed all in black (with a cape, of course) and sporting a Guy Fawkes mask, V takes out the landmark with precision and hijacks the TV station the next day to take credit for it and reveal his long-range plan. This is where V, the entertaining movie, meets the reality of life head-on. This is where Christians need to focus their efforts when analyzing film. As Proverbs 26:5 states: “ Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit .” In other words, take the assumptions and the worldview of the “fool” and lead him to the logical consequences. Counting the number of naked scenes and swear words in a movie is a noble cause, and we need people to do this, but films are much more than simply a sum of their scenes. V falls flat on its face in its attempt to subvert the “establishment” because it offers nothing in its place. V’s much anticipated revolution is really nothing more than “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The ultimate irony of V is made manifest in its first three minutes. “Remember, remember, the fifth of November.” V wears a Guy Fawkes mask, presumably as the ultimate terrorist, worthy of emulation and remembrance. Who was Guy Fawkes? He was a minor player in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, an attempt by disgruntled Roman Catholics to lash out at the Protestant-leaning Parliament. The conspirators were filling a room that they had rented below Parliament with kegs of gunpowder, but the night before the “big bang,” Fawkes was caught and tortured. He eventually gave up the other 12, and they were all summarily executed—so much for the revolution. But this is exactly the point. No one in V bothers thinking beyond the final explosion, not even V himself. He has a “vendetta” against individuals which have wronged him. For all his eloquence and culture (frying eggs with real butter while listening to Stan Getz and quoting Twelfth Night), V is nothing more than a vigilante out for blood. He wears the mask because he was disfigured in a chemical fire at the concentration camp where he was locked up. He was nothing more than a human guinea pig and for that people must die. He wraps his own personal vendetta against his enemies in a social cause to “finish the work of the Gunpowder Conspirators. Remember, remember, the fifth of November.” His female protégé, Evey, sees right to the heart of the issue when V tells her that what was done to him was “monstrous.” Evey replies that “now you have become a monster.” Exactly, stupid is as stupid does.

Christians need to constantly push this uncomfortable button with unbelievers. In order to demonize “fundamentalists,” Hollywood and the rest of the liberal elite, must elevate a band of old-regime Catholic dissidents to the level of hero. What would have happened if the Gunpowder Plot had been successful? Mass anarchy for one thing. The conspirators were no more prepared to fill the governmental void left by a Parliamentary hole in the ground than V was. It’s simply revolution for revolution’s sake. Blow some stuff up, kill a bunch of leaders, and you’ve got instant chaos. While the reincarnated Guy Fawkes is mostly agnostic, the Gunpowder conspirators were anything but. They wished for a return to Catholic rule. And this is why most revolutions fail—there’s nothing to take the place of the decimated system. The last state becomes worse than the first (Matt. 12:45).

This is the beauty of the governmental system that was instituted by our predominantly Protestant founding fathers. Since they understood the sinfulness of man, their structure of checks and balances has left us with the most stable form of government in history. But this would not have become a reality had the Gunpowder conspirators had their way. The very government that makes it possible to have the freedom to make terrorists into heroes would not have existed had the Catholic terrorists not been thwarted. Liberals, terrorists, and revolutionaries are all standing on a foundation built by Christian presuppositions. Try as they might, they cannot escape the fact that men need to be governed.

V for Vendetta is rated “R” for strong violence and some language.[1]


[1] From the official site, I would also add that there is some nudity when dead bodies are thrown in a ditch and covered with lime.

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