-V, V for Vendetta
“And now one for all the nostalgics out there. A blast from the past all the way back from 2003, that beautiful time when people refused to accept that the future was just around the corner.”
-Unnamed radio announcer, Children of Men
“He Who Seeks Revenge Should Dig Two Graves.”
If I had to pick one recurring theme that defined the cinema of the “aughts,” it would be “dystopia.” And if I had to pick one recurring setting for that theme, it would be the island of Britain.
Not since 1984, or perhaps even 1984, have so many disasters befallen poor Albion. Sure, New York City has been invaded by aliens, flooded and frozen, or otherwise depopulated a number of times this decade. But these films were hardly subtle—the focus was either on the disaster itself or on an individual in his (and usually "his") struggle to survive it. By contrast, British writers and filmmakers have since the end of the Second World War drawn from a trope, termed by some as the "cosy catastrophe." Instead of being world or civilization ending, the cosy catastrophe turns the spotlight toward society, and how it copes during and after the crisis. This, combined with Britain acting as a foil for the United States or the West at large, has opened the door to examination of the aughts.