Over the weekend, the British celebrated Guy Fawkes Day. which honors the execution of the controversial figure who led a plot to blow up the House of Parliament, and was then caught, summarily tortured and killed in 1605. Fawkes is making a comeback in the U.S., of course: a mask of the man, made for the Wachowski’s “V for Vendetta,” has become ubiquitous at Occupy Wall Street protests, which aim not to vilify Fawkes, but celebrate him as a revolutionary.
When “Vendatta” came out, the film appeared to have similar goals. At the time, I wrote a review for Alternet.org, which seems to resonate well with what’s going on in the country these days. Here’s an excerpt:
“Vendetta” should be enjoyed as the first true anarchist movie Hollywood has ever made. Film historians speak fondly of the paranoid cycle of American cinema in the 1960s and ’70s (“The Manchurian Candidate,” “Three Days of the Condor,” “The Parallax View”) or the countercultural anti-heroic outlaws of “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Badlands,” but nowhere in mainstream U.S. cinema — and certainly not post-9/11 — has there been a pop-culture phenomenon that advocates not only overthrowing a corrupt government, but blowing it up. As the film’s tagline states, “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”