by Paul Martin, 30 July 2004
M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most inventive and original directors spinning yarns today. Each of his films breathe with a life that makes them very distinct, with a feel all their own, and each is scattered with clues all around to let you know what is actually going on. What makes it so brilliant though, is that even with the clues, it still manages to shock and surprise you. He shows you only what he wants you to see, and blinds you to all the rest, making the story fascinating to see unfold.
The Village was a very haunting tale, with many sparks of humor, and scenes that take you by surprise. The world crafted by M. Night really breathes in each one. I’m still trying to piece it all together in my head.
The main idea of the film is love; and what that drives us to. What is the value of love and the price that we will pay for it. What risks are we willing to take for those that we love. This is the message that seems to be overlooked by many, but something that stood out in my mind as the driving force of everything that motivated each of the characters’ lives. When tragedy strikes, do we run in fear, or do we become brave. Every character is motivated, in some way, by love; be it jealous love, unconditional love, brotherly love, innocent love, and more.
Love isn’t the only thing moving the story forward. There is also fear, which is a controlling force behind the lives of most of the characters. The fear of loss is deeply intertwined with the characters love for their families.
Without giving anything away about the plot, this movie takes you on a ride of discovery, from the opening titles that set the stage, to the final scene that abruptly ends with a few questions that we might eventually get the answers to on the DVD. The questions aren’t really important, because we can guess the answers.
I never go into an M. Night Shyamalan film having read what happens at the end or even before the ending. All that I have ever known, was what the trailers and tv spots have shown me. And it is because of this, that I’ve never really been let down by his films. Sure I like some more than others, but each one has it’s qualities. Each one takes a simple idea and builds around that idea within rules set by Shyamalan. He controls everything that we see, and throws in things that let us know what is to come, but doesn’t insult our intelligence when it happens. He gives us everything we need to figure it all out, and then pulls the wool from our eyes with some flashbacks, and then again informs us of other clues that he laid, to remind us of things and cause us to question what is really happening infront of us. Is what he just said absolute, or just another clue to throw us off of the trail, and now the rules have changed, and now we’re unsure of what to expect.
It looks as though it will be completely under-rated. It’s probably due to the level of people going into it, expecting to see a horror movie, or some action filled piece, and not understanding the depth of what true love really means.
What’s great about M. Night’s films is that, it’s not whether or not the movie was great, it’s what happened in the film that most people talk about. It was multifaceted, and hooked you. It took scenes that didn’t seem important, and instills some mystery to them. It makes every scene count, and there are no wasted moments. Every scene in a film should move the story forward. That is precisely what happens in The Village.
There was so much in this movie, that I need to see it again to see if it holds up to a second viewing. (It does.)