“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” A very famous quote from a movie where a totalitarian government rules futuristic London, and its people are watched at every second. V for Vendetta is a depiction of what could possibly happen if the government tried to monitor ordinary civilians’ every day life. The movie begins as a young women, Evey, is caught on the streets after curfew by policemen. These policemen mean to rape the young women and do her great harm. She is saved in the final moment by the anti-hero V.
Once Evey has been introduced to V, V takes Evey to see the fireworks that he has set up for the evening. Most certainly the fireworks were present on that night, but they were accompanied by the explosive demolition of the government’s courthouses. Evey goes home and tries to forget the whole incident. Little did she know that V would play a major role in her life. The next thing the government knows, V is on every single television in London calling for a rebellion on the next year’s fifth of November.
Over the course of a year, V begins his rebellion. As he builds his mutiny, he follows through on many personal vendettas against high authority figures in the government. On the fifth of November, the day V said the rebellion would take place, thousands of civilians show up to show their support of V. The movie ends, I apologize for the spoiler, with an explosion of the parliament building as a symbol of detest for the government’s totalitarian control.
All of this could have been easily avoided if the government didn’t keep a tight hold on the people. The biggest thing I think that the government did to the people was constantly lie to them. This country only had one news source and that news source came directly from the government. This means that the authorities controlled everything the people knew. When V demolished the courthouse building, the government told the people that the explosion with the fireworks was a planned demolition, with fireworks to send the building off with a bang.
The constant lies from the government was only the beginning. The government had patrol vehicles that would drive through neighborhoods and were able to record what was being said by the occupants in the houses. The fabricated news from the government was also a big issue that contributed greatly to the distrust the citizens had towards the government.
The non-stop surveillance of the government, in my opinion, did more harm than it did good. I understand that government wants to keep its people in line, and keep them safe. But there comes a point when there is just too much surveillance. There comes a point where the people can’t or won’t even speak their minds without the fear of being punished. There comes a point when the people will fight the power when they have had enough. with many revolutions in history, the fighting doesn’t start with the shot heard around the world. It gradually grows just like in V for Vendetta.
When the government started the habit of lying to the people to keep them in line, I think this is where things started to go downhill. With the constant surveillance on everyone, it was very difficult for anyone to do anything about the tyrannical government bearing down over them. The film continually showed the leader of this fictitious country as Big Brother and using all of his tools at his disposal to monitor his people. He used these devices for a very malicious cause to keep an eye over his people. He utilized these devices to rule his people with fear, and as we all know that never turns out well.
On both sides of this issue of surveillance, surveillance is helpful to both the people who are being surveyed and the people doing the surveillance. They both gain by having the safety of knowing that they’re trying to catch bad people meaning to do the country harm. On the other hand, the civilians’ privacy is all but gone. So the government has to choose either to hide their surveillance from the people, or openly admit to monitoring them at all times. I think more often than not, governments choose to hide their surveillance activity and eventually that activity gets exposed to the open public.
When we look at the reality of V for Vendetta, I think that the whole movie’s surveillance aspect is quite possible. We are already seeing forms of surveillance that we couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago, and I am afraid of what surveillance might be capable of becoming 20 years from now. The result from the surveillance of these people from London I think is very possible even today. The complete revolution because of the constant surveillance and lies that are always being told. If a government is treating its people unfairly the people will retaliate. In the words of V: “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.” All in all, I think that the surveillance depicted in V for Vendetta was very harmful to both the government and the people, and could quite possibly happen in today’s world.