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10:31 p.m. - 2006-08-08
\"P\" for \"Pisses Me Off\"
So I was hanging out with Lando this past weekend, and we watched a movie. V for Vendetta, to be exact. It wasn't bad, but Lando and I did disagree about one particular aspect.

WARNING. If you haven't seen this movie yet, what I'm about to write could be considered a spoiler. So if you want to be surprised, stop reading this entry. (Or even if you were just making out during the movie, and haven't bothered to watch it again...)

The main character in the movie is masked. There's a little historical snippet at the beginning explaining the meaning of the particular mask he wears and the significance of the dates he chooses for his acts of violence, but the point is, it's all Phantom of the Opera with broken mirrors and roses and vengeance….with one exception. (Well, it's not a musical, either.)

In "Phantom," there is a climactic moment where the Phantom's mask is torn off and we see his face.
"V for Vendetta" contains no such unveiling. You spend the whole fucking movie finding out why this dude is killing people and blowing shit up…but you never find out who the hell he is. Natalie Portman's character makes some bullshit speech at the end about the masked character being sort of Everyman, or Edmond Dantes. However, I'm not down with that. If all the dude did was try to take down the oppressive government, it might not have been such a letdown or mattered who he was. But the reason for his takedown was personal, in the sense that he killed everyone who was a part of the medical experiments in prison phase of his life. Plus, Natalie's character had parents who were in jail with this guy, so of course I wondered if it was her father, or that he knew her father and sought her out because of that connection, or was his first encounter with her an accident, or what?

Clearly, I do not like unanswered questions. I do not like not knowing all of the details. I could try to blame this on my choice of profession-lawyers have to anticipate every possible question so that they are not surprised in court with something that could ruin their case-but really, I just WANT TO KNOW. I have always considered that saying about "what you don't know can't hurt you" to be a load of utter mule dung.

What you don't know can fuck your shit up.

STD's. Whether someone is married or in another relationship. Criminal history. Medical history. People chopped up in the freezer.

I'm not saying that you need to know every single detail of every single person's life. Yet, if there's something that has the power to harm someone else, not knowing can be devastating.

I will grant you that, in many cases, life isn't like the movie. You don't always know that there is a piece of information you don't have. However, when there are suspicions, things that make you go "hmmm," that feeling of not having closure, of not having resolution, is maddening. If I had been in Natalie's shoes in that movie, I would have ripped that mask off the second the motherfucker drew his last breath. Maybe what's underneath would have been horrifying, maybe it would have been shocking, maybe it would have been beautiful. But having to live with the uncertainty would be worse than dealing with whatever you found underneath.

When I first started hanging out with Lando, I was between jobs, which of course made me feel like my life was a giant seething pile of uncertainty. Much as it may be sad that so much of my life centers around work, the fact is, I'm single, I have to take care of myself, and not having a reliable way to do that is bad. Anyway, I had several interviews at the current job before they made an offer. And I'd be talking or IM-ing with Lando, and he'd ask if I'd heard anything, and I would say "I hope I do soon." His reply was "hope implies doubt."

Hope is a double-edged sword…or a carrot on a stick. It's nice to feel that there IS the possibility that things can get better. But on the other hand, hope makes people stay in situations long after they should leave.

I try to be a realist, and not hold out hope about things that are stupid to hope about. But sometimes, somewhere deep inside, no matter what bullshit I try to tell people, I hope anyway.

But I wasn't really talking about that subject. That is musing for another day. I was talking about how it bugs the living crap out of me when I know there are unanswered questions. Every time someone tells me a story about how they were grievously wronged (and this happens to me a lot, for some reason), I wonder what the missing piece is. I'm not saying that people are always leaving stuff out; however, when you're trying to garner sympathy, you tend to eliminate the parts of the story that would make you an unsympathetic character.

So I guess that's why, despite the fact that V for Vendetta held my attention for 2 hours, I still think the ending was lacking. By not revealing the man behind the mask, you're missing a vital piece of information. The movie showed scenes of a riot and a dude on fire, and there's one small clue when "V" takes off his gloves and his hands are burned. But was he on fire because he was a prisoner trying to rescue others or just escape...or was he on fire because he was a captor and the prisoners set him on fire? Think about it. The masked man had information about what the nefarious plot was. He knew all the details of the experiments. Sure, he probably COULD have found this out from other sources, but did he? Or was he in on the deal and the only one who suffered at the time while everyone else ran like little scared bunnies?

Should you feel sympathy for someone who suffered abuse at the hands of his captors...or horror because he is one of them?

Inquiring minds want to know.



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