V for Vendetta is Moore and Lloyd’s response to the upswing in conservatism in 1980s England, still in the Cold War. They took this idea to the conclusion that after a nuclear war (supposing that England survived, that is), England would turn fascist right quick. The hero (anti-hero?) V serves as a thorn in the side of the government, blowing up buildings and killing off high party officials. He takes in a girl named Evey (so glad they aged her up for the movie, because her story line is a bit less creepy if she’s a young woman rather than a teenager, but only a bit) whom he rescues from attackers on the street. V is no mere anarchist though: he has big plans for Evey and for England. Mr Finch of the Finger (law enforcement) works to discover V’s back story in order to find out who he really is.
Having seen the movie several times before I ever read the book, I can’t help but make a few comparisons. In the movie, V is far more dashing and sympathetic, like an anarchist Errol Flynn (thanks in part to Hugo Weaving’s amazing voice). In the book, he’s far more disturbing. This isn’t a criticism, by the way. I think Moore wanted V to be disturbing. That’s the point: V is not really a hero, but a villain in his own right, who is willing to do terrible things to fight for what he believes is right (don’t all villains?). The fact that he is fighting against something even more terrible than he is, is what casts him as the hero of the story, not his own actions. It’s this exploration of the moral grey area that makes this a great story and one that (mostly) holds up almost 30 years later.
Review by Jessica A.