I've been sticking up for Hollywood lately, which makes me kind of queasy. Yet I'm encouraged by the recent trend (sure to fade) of issue-oriented films, such as "Brokeback" and "Capote." But what's with this romanticism towards terrorists, on full display in "V for Vendetta," which makes "Syriana" seem like a Frank Capra movie in comparison.
It references "America's war," uses imagery direct from Abu Ghraib and contains dialogue likely to offend anyone who's not, say, a suicide bomber. Buildings are symbols, V tells a haunted young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman), after saving her from some vile, rampaging cops: "Blowing up a building can change the world." The filmmakers have insisted that V is not intended to be a hero. Which is bollocks. The movie grants him absolute moral superiority from beginning to end. Sure, Evey tells him he's a monster—and then tries to make out with his mask. In a movie, when the pretty girl falls in love with you and stays in love with you, you're a hero.
As TIMEEurope points out, "V for Vendetta is a movie about a heroic terrorist. However unjust the regime he opposes — and we know it's unjust because it features a pedophile bishop, a jowl-shaking Big Brother figure, a spittle-spewing telepundit, concentration camps, institutionalized racism, religious intolerance and homophobia. V is a guy who goes around blowing up parts of London, and he likes his work. That was repugnant enough back when Moore wrote his comic book, two decades before Sept. 11. It's become even more so since last July, when terrorists actually did bomb three subway trains and a bus in London."
Institutionalized racism, religious intolerance and homophobia ... sounds like Iran to me. Oh wait, I forgot: democracy is the root of all evil. As one of the faux historians in "Confederate States of America" says, "One person's terrorism is another's patriotism."
If that's the case, why not just go ahead and film a heroic biopic about Muhammad Atta, freedom fighter?