Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Village. C-

M Night Shyamalan's 'The Village' is a disappointing affair that exceeds the boundaries of realistic narrative and becomes his most quixotic film yet. This is a movie that takes itself far too seriously. It has a village inhabited by a group of very guarded people who shield themselves from the rest of society. They fear a terrible evil that lives in the woods surrounding their dwelling, thus their reason for never leaving. It also has a very dour performance from Joaquin Phoenix and a very irritating one from Adrian Brody. Other members of the cast just seem out of place, including Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt. The bright spot comes from Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter in her first feature role), who plays an intelligent and very daring blind girl. The suspense in 'The Village' comes from what is really hiding in the woods. But the movie isn't very scary and gets annoyingly slow at times. As expected, Shyamalan puts in his trademark twist (two of them, actually), but I saw them coming a mile away and thus was hardly surprised when they happened. By the end it is clear that Shyamalan is tackling some themes about the right way to live and face the fears that everyone is confronted with. He suggests that we cannot hide from them and live a proper lifestyle at the same time. Like his past work (which I really liked) 'The Village' is a very ambitious movie. It's not just a crowd-pleasing thriller. Shyamalan has a lot that he wants to convey through his love of teasing the audience with clever thrills. But with 'The Village' he goes too far. Nothing in it works, except maybe Bryce Dallas Howard's performance.

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