Euphoria #29 Bang Bang!
Welcome to the first Euphoria Double Feature!
My bestest pal Robert Thomson suggested — immediately — this example of Euphoric Cinema from the recent V FOR VENDETTA. Despite my recent vow to keep action movie climaxes out of this slot, I remembered how moved I was by this flick, and relented.
Contains mega-spoilers (it’s the end of the film, OK?).
Blowing up the Houses of Parliament is a fantasy that only really took hold of me during this latest Labour administration. During the Thatcher years I tended to dream more modestly, of assassination. But direct action like that rarely results in actual political improvements, however satisfying it might feel at the time.
V FOR VENDETTA is a political fairy tale, and they’re obviously not worried about such concerns.
It’s pretty amusing that Tony Blair’s son assisted in crowd control when they filmed outside Parliament. The more so since the filmmakers aren’t fooling — the dystopian fascist state they portray is the one we’re living in, and the government they suggest detonating is the one sitting in power right now.
Although I find the V.O. cheesy, and weakening to the message, I must admit I had tears in my eyes as the end creds rolled to the tune of “Street Fightin’ Man”…
I can understand Alan Moore getting cheesed off at the bad films made from his comics (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was such a simple concept you really would have thought that even Don Murphy could get it right; From Hellhad a central principle of historical accuracy behind it which, once abandoned, renders the whole exercise of adaptation pointless) but he should have cut this one some slack. The Wachowskis altered the premise, and the message, mainly to bring it up to date and make the film more cutting and relevant.
Our second explosive outburst is the suggestion of producer Laura Clarke: the ending of FIGHT CLUB. Here the fireworks arguably come second to the song, the Pixies’ lovely Where Is My Mind? A lovingly chosen song can be infused into a film and meld with its images; on the other hand, a big-budget film can just buy up great songs and pour them over its scenery like syrup. Deciding which is the case here is a matter for you.
FIGHT CLUB’s romantically nihilistic endpoint was seen by some as rather embarrassing after 9:11, but seems to have emerged from that shadow. Many terror-pundits prophesied that large-scale destruction would no longer be dished up as entertainment after the WTC conflagration, but we knew better, didn’t we? And I’d argue that it’s America and Britain’s behaviour since 2001 that has made scenes like the V FOR VENDETTA pyrotechnics display so desirable and cathartic.
DAMN it felt good to watch that building blow up.
But there will be no more such eruptions here at Euphoria Shadowplay: nothing that explodes, ignites, crashes, or gets riddled with bullets and falls to the ground in a blood-sodden heap. Just the little moments that make you joyous. So come on, all you wonderful people out there in the dark — this is YOUR chance to show the world your smiliest things!