Saturday, July 31, 2004

I feel like the Village idiot

Despite the bad reviews, I couldn't keep away from M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Be warned: it is not scary. It is not well written, it is not surprising, and it is not well acted. Adrien Brody is wasted as a retarded man, Joaquin Phoenix plays a strong and silent type who also does little on screen, and the performance by Opie's daughter was uninspired as well. Even the previews before the movie were terrible (attention Reese Witherspoon: acting in period pieces will not erase Legally Blonde 2 from our minds. you are still not a "serious actress.") and the score during the credits was overwrought.

(Spoilers follow: highlight to read them.)
I had read some message board discussions of the movie beforehand and had read that the big twist was either that the village elders were the monsters or that it all took place in the present day. Both of these seemed weak and I was excited to hear rumors that a new ending had been shot recently. Imagine my disappointment when (not even halfway through the movie) it is glaringly obvious that both are true. Sigourney Weaver, who supposedly had nightmares for weeks after reading the script, was criminally underused; as an actress, she has the potential to be authoritarian, seductive, threatening - Weaver was none of these here. The problems present in the film were easily picked apart afterwards: if you were retreating from the world, wouldn't you lay in a decent supply of penicillin? Did no one think it was a bad idea to keep one of the monster suits in the retarded guy's room? If the outside world is so terrible and scary and full of rapists and murderers, why send a blind girl to fetch anythingfrom it? Did none of the elders find it troubling that a creature was killing animals and it wasn't one of them? and how could one guy have killed and skinned all those animals with no one seeing or hearing a thing?

I found Signs to be a mixed bag with a clumsy theme and Unbreakable a strange but appealing film. This is an unmitigated failure and Shymalan should not be allowed to direct from his own scripts or act in his own movies. He lacks sufficient talent to do either. It was beautifully shot and well directed, but that alone cannot salvage this abortion of a feature, which fails as both a horror movie and as a love story.

P.S. And if Bruce Willis's character died from getting shot once in the stomach in The Sixth Sense, how could Lucius Hunt survive getting stabbed repeatedly in the belly and chest with what appeared to be a dirty six inch blade and only be threatened by an infection?

P.P.S. Ebert hated it. His taste is often questionable, but I should have listened to the Flick Filosopher. Or A.O. Scott. Or . . . well, you get the picture.
blog comments powered by Disqus