The Village: Movie Review

Posted by Arlo on Aug 3, 2004 under Movie Reviews

The Village Movie PosterTrying to write a spoiler-free review of an M. Night Shyamalan movie is as difficult as trying to explain the difference between red and yellow to a blind person. There’s not enough I can tell you that will give you a clear picture.

Overall, I enjoyed his new movie, The Village. That’s impressive, considering that the surprise – there’s always a “surprise” in a Shyamalan movie – was inadvertently spoiled for me by my barely-literate Russian niece. She saw it on opening night and despite my body language communication to the contrary (I covered my ears and said “nyahnyahnyah!”) she still let slip three words. Three. Words. If you don’t think that’s enough to spoil a movie’s crucial plot twist, just think back to the Sixth Sense. How easy would it be to give that whole movie away?

Anyway, as I was saying. Good movie, despite what I consider to be some weaknesses in the script. M. Night Shyamalan is a great writer/director and he deserves every penny he makes off these movies, but I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. I think of it as a lack of faith in the audience. Whenever he divulges the big revelation, he almost always uses flashbacks, voiceovers, or some other crutch to guide the audience to their conclusion. Personally, I’d like to be given a little more credit than that; it’s only a two-hour movie, after all. My short term memory can take it, trust me.

In The Village, I thought there were some problems with the story telling that could have been worked out. For instance, there’s a short section of the movie where sequences are told out of chronological order. It was obvious that he chose to do it that way so that certain… things… would be hidden until he chose to reveal them at a suitably shocking point, but to me that indicates a weakness in the script. I believe that, try as he might, he just couldn’t manipulate the events of the story to uncover themselves chronologically without sacrificing the dramatic tension. I’m not saying I could do any better, but I still think it’s a weakness.

Bah! Without citing specific examples, it’s too hard to explain exactly what I mean. Tell you what: Go out and watch the movie and we’ll discuss it later. I can’t say any more without giving away the plot points whose names we do not speak.

Trivial Thought: While I thought the movie was good, I’m surprised that it wasn’t “FATASTINOMICAL!!1” like the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. Oh, well. I guess that if M. Night Shyamalan can hold out for four movies before his sophomore slump, he can still be my hero.
What did I find worthwhile about the movie? The background story. It was obviously well thought-out. Also, the acting was top notch all around.
Would I recommend the movie? Yes.
Will I buy it on DVD? Yes.

Overall Summer Movie Ranking
Spider-man 2
Shrek 2
The Village
I, Robot
The Day After Tomorrow
The Terminal
The Chronicles of Riddick
Fahrenheit 9/11
Van Helsing
The Stepford Wives