Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Movie News

Moriarty Reviews THE VILLAGE!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Before we begin, let’s get something out of the way. I’ve noticed a trend where people now have decided that I hate M. Night Shyamalan. Somehow, retroactively, they have decided that I have always hated M. Night Shyamalan. Let’s look back at the “terrible” reviews I’ve written for his previous movies, shall we?

His last movie, SIGNS, was reviewed by me just prior to its release. Follow the link and you’ll see that my review was primarily a positive one, with some hesitations. The more I’ve seen of the movie, the more I feel that it’s a damn fine film up until the family emerges from the cellar, at which point I think it becomes a clumsy mess. I’m not calling the ending a “twist” ending, since people have become fixated on that word. I just think it’s a ham-handed way to handle the ideas he was trying to convey, and I think it’s laughably staged. Still, if I can make a film as effective as the first 2/3 of SIGNS one day, I’ll be a very happy boy, indeed.

Then there’s UNBREAKABLE, which I also allegedly loathe. Here’s my review for that one. I see what happened here. I gave the film a “mixed” review, and evidently, you’re not allowed to have a mixed reaction to things. You must either worship a film or despise it. You’re not allowed to feel that a film is uneven, or to have issues with it while liking some of it. We are an all-or-nothing culture, and thus... I am labeled a hater.

I never actually reviewed THE SIXTH SENSE on the site, although I did praise the script quite unabashedly many months before it came out. I called the script “a near-perfect example of storytelling,” and I feel the same way about the final film. I think it’s a great movie, especially for a director coming off of a mess like WIDE AWAKE. To me, it was the promise of greatness to come.

Of course, I wasn’t considered the enemy until I published my script review for what was still called THE WOODS at that point. After that, I learned something very interesting about Shyamalan’s fans. They will tolerate absolutely no criticism of him. None at all. There’s one fansite that cracks me up where they discuss how terrible anyone is who dares question the “genious” (sic) and his work. There’s not an artist alive who can thrive artistically when walled off completely from their audience, and Shyamalan is no exception. Reading his comments in the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY cover story last week where, even now, he tried to call me a liar regarding my script review is fascinating, since everything I wrote about (with the exception of the reshot last five or ten minutes that he tries to deny he reshot) is exactly the same onscreen as it was when I wrote about it last September. I love when William Hurt blithely confirms “Of course we reshot the ending,” after the official denials by the director with the studio backing him up. Why all the frustrating doublespeak? It’s almost like he didn’t even watch his own film, since THE VILLAGE is all about secrets and lies itself. I can’t think of a more ironic disparity between a writer/director and the message of his movie in recent memory.

Oddly, my reaction to THE VILLAGE probably isn’t what you expect. Many of you have been writing me, absolutely sure you know what I’m going to say about this film before I even say it. Let’s see if this is what you expected:

Expertly directed and impeccably acted, THE VILLAGE is proof that M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most confident directors working in suspense today. The cast hits every note confidently and precisely, and the technical credits are as professional as anything you’re going to see in a theater this year.

But wait for it... here comes the twist ending.

THE VILLAGE is also proof that as Shyamalan becomes a better director with each picture, his skills as a writer become more and more secondary to the process. At this point, the thing he became famous for seems to be the thing he is least interested in.

If you’re squeamish about spoilers, go ahead and stop reading now. I think it’s preposterous for any critic to attempt to discuss this movie without actually digging into the text itself, and there’s no way to accurately describe what does or doesn’t work if you have to be all precious and coy about what the film’s themes are, or how they are conveyed. Fuck the tapdancing.

THE VILLAGE is one of the first films by a major filmmaker to tackle post 9/11 anxiety head-on. This is a film about life within a culture of fear, about burying your head in the sand. In some ways, this is Shyamalan’s 1984. The difference is, Orwell didn’t have the full weight of a six-month ad campaign telling us that Winston Smith was being stalked by monsters. The greatest disservice that could be done to this movie is presenting it as a horror film in any way, shape, form, or fashion. It’s not. In fact, the scenes that fall flattest in the film are those that are supposed to be scary. Instead, the suspense that works in the film rises out of simple character interaction. Almost everyone in this movie has a secret to protect, and the nature of that secret has to do with the way of life they all seem so desperate to protect. Edward Walker (William Hurt) heads up a community that exists completely outside of time, and it seems to be the late 1800’s, a pastoral lifestyle of simple chores and simple pleasures. Even when death intrudes on these people’s lives, it is a natural thing, due to illness or age. They live an innocent lifestyle, and they hold it dear. Over the course of the film, an odd trend presents itself when the village elders talk about their lives. All of them seem to have suffered some sort of loss in the days before the Village. All of them have fallen family members who died violently. All of them nurse broken hearts, and that common thread that binds them also provides a powerful motivation. Powerful enough for them to do anything to maintain control of this bubble of bliss. They seem to have good reason to be afraid of the outside world, too. “The towns” all sound like terrifying, wicked places, but before they could even get near them, they’d have to pass through Covington Woods, which they’ll never do because of the presence of Those We Do Not Speak Of, fabled monsters who have agreed to a truce as long as no one leaves the Village and as long as a few basic rules are agreed upon. The rules may seem arbitrary, but there’s no mistaking how seriously the elders take them.

Much of the first half of the movie has to do with the younger inhabitants of the village. Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) is a very serious young man, bristling at the rules, sure that he can improve the quality of life for everyone if he just challenges the fears that seem to cripple the elders. Kitty (Judy Greer) is a flighty young thing, brimming over with love even if she’s got no idea exactly where to channel it. Noah (Adrien Brody) is a simpleton, a naughty child in a man’s body. And then there’s Ivy (Bryce Howard), Kitty’s younger sister, the daughter of Edward Walker, loved by both Noah and Lucius in their own ways. She’s a beautiful person, inside and out, and she has an enormous presence. Howard is a real discovery, and no matter what happens with THE VILLAGE in the end, she’s guaranteed to move on to a huge career from here. In fact, everybody does wonderful work. Phoenix takes a fairly one-dimensional character and gives him unexpected charm, finding the quirks and carefully etching in the details. Greer is one of the best comic performers of her generation, and she turns one of the most awkward moments on the page and turns it into one of the highlights of the film, an over-the-top declaration of love that is absolutely hilarious because it is so loopily heartfelt. Brody’s got a really difficult role to play, and he does it well, particularly in a moment between he and Phoenix where everything changes. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s just after Ivy and Lucius have declared their intentions to wed to the elders. Brody really nails it, and he deserves credit for his work.

I also think Shyamalan works very well with Roger Deakins, one of the most versatile cinematographers in the business today. Shyamalan is getting better and better as a visual storyteller. I have had issues in the past with some of his choices in editing, but this time out, he seems to have perfected a deft touch in terms of when to use his patented long, uninterrupted takes and when to mix it up. My writing partner observed that this is the first film that feels while you watch it like his best scripts feel when you read them. The first thing that impressed me about him was his economy on the page, the way he managed to say almost nothing, yet convey volumes of information. He seems to have finally perfected a visual style that is the same thing, elegant and unadorned, but which feels like it’s packed with subtext.

The problem here is that his script lets him down. He’s actually better than his own material for the first time, and so this incredible cast and all of this exceptional technique is all utilized in service of a ham-handed fable that shoots its wad early, then limps through a miserable final third that insults the audience over and over again. It’s sort of amazing to witness this much good work wasted on something so inconsequential, and it is hard to describe the emotional effect of something so frustrating. The film’s really only got one sequence that could be described as frightening, and it’s well-staged. The Ones We Do Not Speak Of invade the village one night, and the alarm bell is rung, sending the villagers into a frantic scramble for safety. As we see the creatures creeping through the village, catching only the slightest glimpses of them, it’s tense stuff, and the sequence builds to a beautifully realized moment of tension. But Shyamalan shoots himself in the foot before he’s ever able to stage another scare.

You see... there are no monsters. They are a creation of the village elders, a tool with which they instill fear in everyone else. Here’s where you can start to draw parallels to our current societal situation if you want. The leaders of the village create monsters which they use to scare people into doing certain things and behaving certain ways. They use colors to indicate whether the villagers should be afraid or if they should feel safe. If anyone starts to question the leaders, they arrange for the monsters to attack, reinforcing the fear. Sound familiar yet?

When Lucius is hurt, Ivy has no choice but to head into the woods, and here’s where the film spins completely out of Shyamalan’s control. Her father reveals the truth about the monsters to her, and to the audience. Then when she heads into the woods, he still wants to wring fear out of us, so he actually tries to convince us that even though we just saw the costumes hanging in a shed, maybe the monsters really are real, and maybe he was just fooling about the fact that he was just fooling, and he sends a monster after Ivy. If you fall for that scene, then you might as well tattoo the word “sucker” on your forehead, because it is the single worst sequence in his whole career, and I’m including WIDE AWAKE in that. The scene is pumped up with James Newton Howard’s overblown score and sound effects like a snarling lion, but to no avail.

After that scene falls flat, there are even more surprises supposedly waiting for the audience, and Shyamalan flounders even more dramatically as he tries to wow us with his reveals. I can't even get into the bizarre logic problems that riddle the final act, but they are overwhelming. When we learn that the entire film takes place now, modern-day, it's clumsy and poorly staged, and it calls into question every single line of dialogue that comes before. Deciding to remove yourself from society is one thing. Deciding to speak like you're in a badly paraphrased version of THE CRUCIBLE for no good reason is another. I understand exactly what effect Shyamalan is hoping for with the ending, but it's a fundamentally flawed premise, one that unravels the more you examine it. The reshoots only cover about eight minutes worth of material, and the strangest thing about them is that he didn’t change any of what we learn during the scene... just how we learn it. Gone now is the legendary “stupid fucking white people” beat, replaced by Shyamalan’s most obnoxious cameo appearance to date as Ranger Exposition, a character who shows up only to feed us information that ties everything up in a big bundle of obvious. When the laughter started tonight in the Cinerama Dome, it was the sound of an audience realizing just how completely they had been duped. The conclusion of the picture seems to be aiming for an emotional sucker punch, a crescendo that will send us reeling out of the theater, but our good faith has been abused too severely by this point, and it just doesn’t work. It’s too late to reconnect. The damage is already done.

Here’s the thing... if M. Night Shyamalan was a bad filmmaker, none of this would matter. I don’t give a shit when Howard Deutch releases a bad film, or when Shaun Levy makes a shitty comedy, or when Eric Shaffer releases another film in which he improbably bones supermodels. I expect nothing from those filmmakers or the dozens of other mediocre guys who crank out bland, forgettable product every year. I can’t get terribly worked up when a hack does hackwork. What else should we expect? The truth is that M. Night Shyamalan is obviously an enormously talented man, and for that reason, giving him a pass on a film like this is a disservice to him. He is capable of better, and no matter how much talent he brings to bear on this story, there’s simply nothing underneath. It’s a magic trick with no finish, a joke with no punchline. THE VILLAGE is going to buckle under the weight of word-of-mouth, and only his most ardent apologists are going to buy into this one. This won’t end his career. Far from it. I’m sure it’s going to open huge. But this is definitely a defining moment for him. Whatever he does next, he’s going to have to treat his audience with more respect. It’s one thing to want to make a movie about lies. It’s another thing to make a movie that is a lie. Understanding that difference and being able to illustrate it is something that seems to have simply escaped him this time out.

So I’ll cross my fingers now, and I’ll hope that he builds from here on all of the things that are wonderful about his work, like his obvious ability to elicit great performances from actors and his exceptional eye. Even the greatest filmmakers stumble from time to time. It is the way they recover from these missteps that truly makes them great. Only time will tell...

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • July 30, 2004, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Fun fact:

    by Archduke_Chocula

    Howards middle name Dallas is taken from where she was conceived. go ahead. Laugh.

  • July 30, 2004, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Darn...

    by badboymason

    I read a book recently on writing, where the author noted that a vast majority of the short-story submissions received for Science Fiction mags were "concealed environment" stories. i.e. - there is a story where unusual things happen, and the twist at the end is that its actually taken place somewhere surprising. Such as finding out the characters involved are actually humans in a big "zoo" for aliens, or they are actually microscopic people living in a human body. Add to that list, The Village... which I am guessing that if it wasnt written by M. Night Shazamatazz, would have got thrown straight into the bin with the rest of them...

  • July 30, 2004, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Mori by reading the script early you ruined the movie...SPOILERS

    by Jon E Cin

    Way to go...a pretty dead on review..except for one BIG part! Calling people "suckers" when you already know what is happening cause you read the script. Night makes you actually believe that its possible a monster is out there. First the overdub of "these are based on rumors of real monsters"...and when Ivy walks into the Red Berry area...that was tense..oh when the monster charges..that was bad ass!.....but of course if you read the script months in advance you the surprises are limited..cause you already know who is in the suit. Its good to be a sucker!

  • July 30, 2004, 8:15 a.m. CST

    I was at the Dome tonight...What laughter are you talking about?

    by Jon E Cin

    The rangers boss was hilarious....nobody was like..I BEEN DUPED!

  • July 30, 2004, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Suckers?

    by Palmer Eldritch

    come on... I guess the twists of this film from the TRAILERS!

  • July 30, 2004, 8:36 a.m. CST

    In praise of Shyamalyan's visuals

    by Fish Tank

    One of the BEST shots I've ever seen in a movie is in Signs. Gibson is standing on his porch as the sherrif pulls away from the house. The driveway is circular, but the shot is framed/cropped so that the car is in frame/out of frame/in frame/out of frame, then drives slowly away in frame. All one take. We only hear the tires on gravel as it's doing this as Gibson is silhouetted on the porch. Absolutely brilliant stuff.

  • July 30, 2004, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Please explain the subtext.

    by johnnyangelheart

    I'm sorry but I don't get the subtext. Is M.Night saying that we weren't really attacked by terrorists on 9/11 but were actually victims of a bloody hoax perpetrated by our national village elders, aka the Bush administration? And there aren't really any terrorists out there, only agents of the village elders? Gosh, not even Michael Moore went that far. Or am I misreading this?

  • July 30, 2004, 9:12 a.m. CST

    We're in a zoo!!!!!

    by RenoNevada2000

    Anyone else remember that episode of THE NEW SHOW with the recurring "Twilight Zone-ette" sketches?

  • July 30, 2004, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Maybe Night should have done the "Planet of the Apes" remake

    by the G-man

    Because this twist is just third generation rehashed Rod Serling.

  • July 30, 2004, 9:19 a.m. CST

    twist

    by stvnhthr

    Okay, I guessed that there were no monsters when I first saw the trailer, but I didn't guess that it took place in modern times. I think Night is getting known for his twist endings so he is going to have to have the "obvious" ending be the new twist just to surprise the audience on his next film. -Steve

  • July 30, 2004, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Heh, as note delsewhere, for all Doctor Who fans...

    by Gislef_crow

    ...this story is basically a takeoff on a 60's Doctor Who episode "The Rescue." Complete with a twist ending/solution with a goofy looking monster that is so embarassingly bad that one episode-guidish type book noted the Doctor is later striken with a "greatest fear" hallucination of the same creature just because he was so embarassed at not having seen through the blatant twist.

  • because if i had waited until i actually saw the movie, i likely would have gone ape shit crazy in the theater and incited a riot. for a while there, i thought moriarty's script review *must* have been a joke, but goddamn if it ain't really that bad. that's just a fucking shame. so insulting to the audience.

  • July 30, 2004, 9:48 a.m. CST

    re: subtext

    by kydd twyst

    What he was refering to was that after a tragidy in each elder's pre-village life they decided that scaring the villager's in to doing what they wanted them to was ok. Sorta like the occasional scares by the current administration that are very very vague. At the same time you are kinda correct in that the monsters in real life are real. Also I think he meant how fear is used in general on the news. By watching the news it would seem you should never leave your house.

  • July 30, 2004, 9:48 a.m. CST

    m nights cameos are so sad

    by The Data

    he always appears in his movies to tie up the loose ends. it really isnt even a character he plays, its just him the director sitting down in front of the audience and telling them some plot points they need to know in order to understand his convoluted mess, then he says good bye walks away and the film starts up again.

  • July 30, 2004, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Who will see The Village next?

    by afraidoffans

    Will it be the the guy who deliver's Harry's pizzas? Is it the janitor? Whoever it is, expect it to take up a lot of webspace here to hide the fact AICN doesn't get scoops or interesting articles anymore.

  • July 30, 2004, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Didn't want to spoil the review: Did He Like It....

    by Russman

    these freaking guys don't know how to simply say: Hey, I enjoyed it or Hey, I didn't like it.

  • July 30, 2004, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Surprise twist ending...

    by B.NyeTheUruk-Hai

    Haley Joel Osment emerges from the forest at the end of the film and whispers, "I see Amish people"...

  • July 30, 2004, 11:27 a.m. CST

    You know, those planes that slammed into the World Trade Center

    by Mahasamatman

    I'm a little disturbed by the parallel drawn here, and it's one that I fear a lot of people are making. The invasion of Iraq has turned into a clusterfuck, no doubt of that, and the case for war certainly seems to have been built on bad evidence and in bad faith. But we're fools if we swallow the _Culture of Fear_ thesis (by the way, the author of that book should sue Michael Moore for stealing so much from him and never once giving him credit) that argues that there's nothing to be afraid of, and that our current crop of politicians keep us afraid to ensure they can get away with their malevolent policies. 9/11 wasn't imaginary, and part of its horror was the way in which it broke with history -- it was an act that, prior to its occurrance, was unthinkable. Not that people in our governmen couldn't imagine such a thing happening, or that they didn't believe it was feasible, possible, but because the weight of history would surely prevent anyone from actually follow through on it. That is, while a group might contemplate and even plan such an act, they wouldn't ever do it simply because nothing like it had ever been done before -- it was just too big, too "bold" (if you'll forgive the expression), too unprecedented to actually DO. We sat comfortably on that notion for years, believing that the weight of history would protect us -- that no one would do it because no one had ever done such a thing -- until Bin Laden said "Fuck it, who cares? Let's do it." I submit to you that we're still sitting on that notion now, when it comes to things like dirty bombs and bio-attack. We say, "No, they might be able to, but they wouldn't, there's nothing to be afraid of because we've never heard or read or seen such a thing before, it's a boogieman, an imaginary montser." But it pays to remember that, for far too long, a good dpart of the world felt the same way about the Holocaust: "Oh, these stories we hear, the evidence we're getting, it's scary, sure, it's horrible, but there's no way anyone could actually DO that. What we're talking about is isoltaed massacres, atrocities. An organized system that applies Henry Ford's principles of efficiency and organization to try wipe out an entire race of people? An assembly line of death. Come on. No one would do that." But the weight of history didn't protect 8 million Jews, it didn't protect anyone in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and it won't protect us. Let's not let our disgust for some of this administration's policies trick us into thinking they've manufactured imaginary monsters. They're not imaginary, folks, they're just invisible.

  • July 30, 2004, 11:56 a.m. CST

    I'm surprised he didn't tell M.Night to "Stop!" like he did the

    by riskebiz

  • July 30, 2004, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Shyalahack still has some "fans"? Ye gods.

    by SalvatoreGravano

    Then again, why should I be surprised? After all, McG, Anderson, Sommers and Pitof have their supporters, too.

  • July 30, 2004, 11:59 a.m. CST

    "Great visuals"? That's the defense of this movie? "Exorcist II"

    by SalvatoreGravano

    If Shyalamutt can "shoot visuals", he should be an assistant camera operator at most.

  • July 30, 2004, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Hey Mahasamatman ...

    by Snobster

    The imaginary monsters he's comparing to wasn't 9/11, its the imaginary terrorists the Bush administration makes up whenever things dont go their way. When the polls show that his popularity is down we coincedently get a "possible terrorist threat" and a raise in the color alert. Its Bush basically saying, "You dont want me as president? Look! There's a monster and its gonna get you! Argh! And its your fault for not keeping me as president!"

  • July 30, 2004, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Meh...Shyamalan's best movie is Unbreakable.

    by Sod Off Baldric

    The Sixth Sense was okay but a little dull if you knew the twist going in (it was spoiled for me before I saw the flick), and Signs was just a complete kick in the balls thanks to all the plot holes and that ridiculous ending (and it was ridiculous, you know this to be true). Unbreakable, however, is a modern masterpiece that gets better every single time I see it. So far Shyamalan is one for three with me, and I don't think those odds are going to change as The Village sounds like just another field-goal punt to the sack.

  • July 30, 2004, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Give Night "Wicker Man" or "Knowing."

    by Christopher3

    He should work on scripts besides his own.

  • July 30, 2004, 12:23 p.m. CST

    I've never seen everyone so crazy about a movie

    by PullMyFinger

    everyone's so worked up over this movie. Now I can't freakin' wait to see it.

  • July 30, 2004, 12:25 p.m. CST

    WOW! You go, FluffyUnbound!!

    by Anonymus Coward

    On the other talkback FluffyUnbound has the ultimate band-aid for this movie: beyond the forest is the FUTURE so we can get some of that Minority-Report flavor or Road Warrior dystopia, whatever, something besides "Now".... and that the monsters are genetically engineered mutants... gee, maybe the land beyond the forest be THE PAST (Time Bandits) or THE MOONE (Baron Munchausen) or (that episode of Star Trek:TNG where Worf goes out one door of the bridge and sees himself coming in through the other door) or the FOREST OF NARNIA or a Mobius-strip connection to Middle Earth (via the LOST HIGHWAY)... I also like the idea that the PLOT TWIST is when the camera pulls back to reveal a FILM CREW and CRAFT SERVICE PEOPLE and GAFFERS AND GRIPS... The first time I saw ADAPTATION and heard Donald's idea for "The 3", I thought it was the silliest most ridiculous thing in the world and I laughed out loud! But what if we are all, each and every human being on the earth, "the 3" ??!!!

  • July 30, 2004, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Newsflash: 9/11 Really Happened

    by Cellu Lloyd

    9/11, Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda... these are not inventions of the Bush Administration, you stupid fuck. It is you who have your head buried in the sand. Little Johnny Edwards himself said a Kerry Administration would "destroy" Al Qaeda. Whoever wins in November, we're still at war with a very real enemy. We all know you and Harry and all the other fanboys will whine from the sidelines the entire time. But at least acknowledge the fucking reality. The Village may or may not be a good movie, but as an metaphor for current events it's piss poor.

  • July 30, 2004, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Hey...

    by Ford Fairlane

    Mori... I used to look forward to yer reviews. Now I won't. You and Harry officially suck now. I just finished reading your review to Unbreakable again. You DO NOT know what you are talking about. The movie was great. I will return tomorrow and tell you what I think of your Village review, because thankfully, I didn't read it due to your spoiler warning.

  • July 30, 2004, 12:54 p.m. CST

    and ask the Kuwaitis and the Kurds if monsters are real

    by Silver Shamrock

    or was it all just a scam to manufacture fears not based on reality? and Uday and Kusay were really just misunderstood renisance men weren't they?

  • If you don't like Unbreakable then you don't understand M. Night and you don't understand his movies. I'm out

  • July 30, 2004, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Another "apologist" revieiwer

    by Rupee88

    If a film sucks, just say it sucks. There's no need to rationalize and soften the blow and make excuse after excuse after excuse. This film sucks just like Signs did...end of story.

  • July 30, 2004, 1:16 p.m. CST

    It's religion, stupid!

    by Tzaddi

    I at no point thought of 9/11 or the Bush administration when I saw the movie. Now that I read about it, I guess "yeah I can see how as an afterthought Shamaylalala named a character Walker and so on..." but it wasn't the point of the movie at all. I saw a metaphor of religion. The ten commandments. An essay on the nature of evil. AND a wonderful love story. (I am assuming everyone reading has seen the movie...) See, the blind girl quite literally went to the end of the world for love. I thought it was wonderful and it brought a tear to my eye. The point of showing her climb the wall wasn't to surprise the audience, but rather to show her determination and love. She stood there, infront of the great unknown, to us as the audience, it was silly, and not an unknown, but take the time to look at her face, to realize what she is hearing and where she is standing means TO her, and the courage it took to do what she did. See, I also guessed very early that they were in the present, the twist ending. But that wasn't the twist, and anyone who obsesses over that particular twist is dumber than, well, something very very dumb. The twist was that the monsters WERE real. The monsters are evil, and evil comes from humans. Even the most innocent among us has the capacity for evil, to be the monster. In regards to religion, well, religions are filled with pointless rules such as not eating meat on certain Fridays, or allowing the color red into the village. But see, if you constantly worry about following the pointless rules, you won't even think about breaking the big ones. And there is more, much more to this movie, and all his other movies. Shaymalalala seems to be bulding quite a body of work, each movie providing a piece of a much bigger picture, or rather THE big picture. Oh yeah, I also agree that it is silly to suggest 9/11 did not happen. I still feel anger that the Moore film actually dared to make fun of anyone afraid of Bin Laden, as if it was a made up monster (the shot of Bin Laden with the shriek).

  • July 30, 2004, 1:33 p.m. CST

    El gato mysterio and rupee88, thankyou so much for your enlighte

    by Captain Katanga

    I had no idea that Signs "sucks" and is "weak" until i read your brilliant posts. When i saw that movie with a sell-out audience, and found myself jumping out of my seat and genuinely moved, i just didnt realise that what i was watching "sucked". If only you two could have been there that night to let me and the rest of the audience know! Back then i felt a rush of emotion at the supremely clever ending... but not anymore! Now I have learnt the art of "nit picking like a fucking teenager", i realise how silly it is that the aliens were affected by water! Forget suspension of disbelief, or that, when put under a magnifying glass, the idea of aliens invading is inherently ridiculous. Thankyou both so much. If you see M Night around, perhaps you could inform him that Signs sucked, tell him where he's going wrong, and perhaps offer him some of your own work. I'm sure he would be grateful. Signs is weak, I have learnt to except that, and indeed ACCEPT that.

  • July 30, 2004, 1:45 p.m. CST

    I guess I will see the Village even though I think the trailers

    by andrew coleman

    I don't know what it is but the movie just doesn't look interesting from the trailers. I've liked all of M. Night's movies and actually I liked Signs more than Sixth Sense but I really loved Unbreakable. The only reason I liked Signs was that it seemed better paced then his first two movies but I totally agree about the messy ending but still a good movie, I mean it made over 200 million dollars so it can't be that bad

  • July 30, 2004, 1:45 p.m. CST

    A truly fascinating post, Mahasamatman

    by Immortal_Fish

    I salute you!

  • July 30, 2004, 1:53 p.m. CST

    johnnyangel "Gosh, not even Michael Moore went that far."

    by Immortal_Fish

    Yes he did. On Bill Mahr's HBO show he said, "There is no terrorism." The show aired in either Nov or Dec of 2003.

  • July 30, 2004, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Snobster

    by Immortal_Fish

    To you, it's a change in color. To others serving active duty, fire and police agencies, and others who work for government contractors, a change of threat level means temporary changes in policies and procedures. It means that instead of merely popping open my briefcase when entering or leaving the office, I have to wait and watch as a security guard pores through the contents. It's *not* something done on a whim, despite what you consipracy theorists wish to believe. Things like this come at a cost. And it is worthwhile. Can't help but presume that if your boy gets in and he starts flipping the terror alert color scheme every now and then, folks like you will be first in line to apologize for his actions, unlike now.

  • ...stupid obnoxious, unconscious fat moron! I'll be glad to see you in Hell... from above!

  • July 30, 2004, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Village is a victim of narrow-minded preconceptions.

    by Veraxus

    People seem to think the movie is over the instant you figure out the big secret which is revealed about 45 minutes into the film - which isn't big, and isn't much of a secret if your fairly observant. So basically, EVERYONE is obsessing so much over the 'twist' that noone actually WATCHED the movie. It seems like it's mostly a victim of bad advertisement - it's not a survival/horror but a character piece and a suspense/drama. A movie about the extents that love can drive us to - overcoming our own demons. I have never been impressed by Shayamalan's movies - I figured out 6th Sense in the first 5 minutes, same with Unbreakable, and Signs was so full of logical inconsistencies that it wasn't creepy OR entertaining. Signs started to dabble in the subtext that makes movies great - like faith. But this was never truely realized. In The Village, it was. ********************************* IMO, The Village is Shayamalan's single greatest work. Unlike his previous works, The Village isn't structured like a blonde joke. There's some very interesting issues being touched on for people with brains bigger than a pea - but you have to get over the fucking twist to see it. There's more going on there than figuring out who/what the monsters are. There's a really great movie in there for someone with the mental capacity to SEE it.

  • July 30, 2004, 2:30 p.m. CST

    "Sound familiar yet?"

    by Big E

    "The leaders of the village create monsters which they use to scare people into doing certain things and behaving certain ways. They use colors to indicate whether the villagers should be afraid or if they should feel safe. If anyone starts to question the leaders, they arrange for the monsters to attack, reinforcing the fear. Sound familiar yet?"---------- Hmm, I must have missed all those times when the Bush administration STAGED TERRORIST ATTACKS on the U.S. populace whenever someone was questioning the color-coded alert system. Accordingly, you'd think that with "Fahrenheit 9/11" playing in theaters around the country (and in the Middle East, thanks to Hamas), we'd be getting plenty of such phony terrorist attacks. Incidentally, let's ignore such silly little facts such as how anti-Bushies also spend plenty of time crowing about how Bush doesn't/didn't do ENOUGH to warn us about terrorist attacks, and also how Shymalan has ALWAYS been known for using colors as key points in his films. ----------- Anyway, I'm going to write a screenplay about a pretentious ass of a film reviewer who is so in love with himself that he is literally incapable of writing up a review for his childish website outlet without 1) putting up multiple links to previous articles and reviews he's written and 2) thinking that his opinions are so important and earth-shattering that he saves the "big reveals" of said opinions to be put in larger-than-life red text so it stands out from the rest of the review. Counting the minutes until I'm banned.....

  • July 30, 2004, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Interesting parallel between terrorists and made-up monsters

    by devil0509

    So, Moriarty, you see a parallel between village elders inventing monsters, and the Bush administration's use of terrorists to push forward an agenda. Interesting notion. For that parallel to be valid, you would have to believe that the terrorists are actually invented by the Bush administration. Are you implying that there are no real terrorists? That the Bush administration actually invented the terrorist attacks to push forward their agenda? Were CIA agents flying the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon? To think that you would have to be delusional, irrational, and/or an idiot. And as much as I think Moriarty is overly inflated on laughable self-importance, I didn't, until now, think he was an idiot.

  • July 30, 2004, 3:06 p.m. CST

    A Piss in the Ocean

    by Ribbons

    Okay, let's see if this makes any difference at all: NO, NO, NO, people, you were not the only ones to have guessed the twist ending to 'The Sixth Sense' correctly the first time you saw it in theaters. You're just the "only ones" insecure enough to broadcast your cleverness.

  • July 30, 2004, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Also...

    by Ribbons

    ...I'd listen to Snobster. I don't recall any reference to the 9/11 attacks in either Mori's or Shyamalan's words. And in defense of Shyamalan, anyone who compares him to McG/Shadyac/etc. just because the general public likes him need to get over themselves, and how far into his movies they figured out the ending and/or poked holes in it. People seem to have selective recognition as far as logic problems go, and 'Signs' was not a bad movie because of them.

  • July 30, 2004, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Shyamalan has always been hilariously pretentious

    by santos kauffman

    It used to be cool, because Sixth Sense was decent and Unbreakable is phenomenal. Signs was atmospheric enough to be worth catching on the big screen, that one shot of the alien in the alley was pretty dope.....but it's logic was heinously preposterous, and the third act was hilarious, as was the religious angle. I'm glad The Village sucks, because this guy desperately needs a critical bust to deflate his ego and inspire him to write something decent. Unbreakable is so fucking dope that I still have a fraction of faith that its a universe which Shyamalan could make a stellar trilogy of. Im with the few other talkbackers who automatically dismiss the opinion of anyone who doesn't love that film.

  • July 30, 2004, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Okay... Let's Try This Again...

    by drew mcweeny

    Did I say that I subscribe to this particular theory about Bush and the culture of fear? No. See, I've kept my politics off this site. Have I been fervently pushing FAHRENHEIN 9/11 at people as some sort of holy writ? No. I haven't. However, I recognize that there is a section of this country that now walks around yakking about "the culture of fear," and it's my belief that they are going to seize on this movie as a parable that will make them feel better. It's also my belief that Shyamalan is dealing with the anxieties of living in an age where we are told every day to be afraid. I just think he did it in a thuddingly obvious way. It is possible to see a message in a film without also personally believing that message. But, as always, it's more fun to attack the reviewer than it is to actually discuss the ideas themselves, isn't it?

  • July 30, 2004, 5 p.m. CST

    Perspective

    by UnChienAndalou

    I hope we can all agree--regardless of our overzealous political slants--that The Village is a flawed and middling work that is nowhere near as good as Night's three previous works. Can't we just leave it at that and jettison the conspiracy theory soapbox crap?

  • July 30, 2004, 5:06 p.m. CST

    Moriarty - read this

    by devil0509

    "You see... there are no monsters. They are a creation of the village elders, a tool with which they instill fear in everyone else. Here

  • July 30, 2004, 5:07 p.m. CST

    lambblion

    by JoseJones

    I am curious and apparently not very informed, maybe you can help. Where can I find this research you write of? I searched Kerry's website and he did not have anything you elude to. I would think that if a liberal agenda wanted to take over the country, they would post this disturbing news. I'm wrong. Does this mean that every part of our government is in on it? Were the planes flown by remote? Is Bin Laden in on it? I guess the whole world would have to be in on it. Wow! Those bastards sure had me going. Thank god you are here to let me know the truth. So, again, where can I find this research? Also, just for the record, I saw the movie last night, and loved it. It is about much more than the twist ending, and I did not think there were any connections to our current government or the culture of lies that they apperently represent. I think it is unfortunate that a reviewer (not just Moriarty but many others) needs to advance his political beliefs when discussing a film. Let movies be movies. The Village's sole creator denies the "links" to the current administration. This is not Farenheit 9/11 or even On The Waterfront. Let it be the wonderful film it is and keep your politics out of it.

  • Rather, it seems that he's saying to retreat into isolation and fear after a brush with violence or loss is the wrong thing to do. I think this movie is being horribly misinterpreted by people on BOTH sides of the political spectrum, largely by those who haven't seen it yet. Which would include myself, but having read the reviews I did notice that the elders suffered violence before creating the village, and everyone seems to be missing that point. Oh well.

  • July 30, 2004, 5:17 p.m. CST

    That's a very good point Vegas

    by devil0509

    I don't see any sense in equating the Bush administration to the village elders or the terrorists to the "monsters in the forest". But I can easily see this plot being used in broad allegory as a cautionary tale of how societies react to. Of course, it remains an overdone plot. Along the lines of when Mr. McGruder dressed up as The Phantom to keep everyone away from his gold mine, only to be foiled by those pesky kids and their talking dog (Joaquin Phoenix in the Velma role).

  • July 30, 2004, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Fear itself

    by Tzaddi

    Wow... talk about going off in bunny trails... I see the theme of fear as it relates to religion... For example, christianity tells you that you better behave or you go to hell and burn for eternity. And in doing so, keeps people from sinning, becoming bad persons. In the movie the characters are given commandments that they must follow to keep the creatures at bay. They state that there are concequences that will be paid if the commandments are broken. And yes, they live with fear, but fear is a part of life, and a tool the elders are more than willing to use for the common good. They are in fact keeping the monsters away, evil. The reson one does not want to break the commandments, do evil, is that one sooner or later becomes evil, like the retard did. Whole point of the shot of him down in the hole, half dressed in the costume, deep under the earth... also the theme from signs is repeated that what might see as setbacks (almost falling into a hole) are actually blessings (using the hole to beat the monster). Anyway, Shaymalalala keeps on getting better and better. I found this movie more philosophical and intellectually stimulating than Signs, but Signs did carry for me a very strong emotional punch due to some setbacks I was experiencing myself at the time... I had a hard time getting myself to stop crying at the end of the movie, very embarrasing. Oh, and Unbreakable ruled my ass. Sixth Sense is actually the one I would rank last.

  • July 30, 2004, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Is it a middling work?

    by devil0509

    Actually, we probably can't all agree that The Village is middling work, far from Shyamalan's best, because the vast majority of people posting on this site right now haven't seen it yet. I might not bother with it in the theater because of the generally mediocre reviews and the fact that the plot really comes off as contrived and overdone. On the other hand, my wife remembers him as a really nice guy in high school, so we tend to try to see his movies in the theater because of that.

  • July 30, 2004, 5:32 p.m. CST

    by JoseJones

    I do not think that Night is saying what is the right or wrong thing to do. He lets the viewer decide. There is no profound statement either way. There is a magic in the idea of leaving society and forming your own little utopia. This is not something I would ever want to do, but for those that have suffered serious trauma as a result of society's evils, it might be an ideal alternative. They have left society and created their own little world. They could have created any fantasy they wanted and decided to use the turn of the century as their model. A more peaceful age when life seemed to be a bit more simple. They might be delusional. They might be weak for giving up on the present day, but Night leaves that up to us. He does not ram either side down our throat. Ivy knows the truth at the end of the film. It will be up to her to decide whether she wants to tell the others or remain happy in their alternate universe. The viewer gets to decide what they think will happen or should happen. Nothing political. Night just presents a fantasy that many have, at some point, wished were possible. You can't tell me that some of you geeks (I use the term lovingly) wouldn't want to create your own world with 7 or 8 friends, where there are no rules, other than the ones you provide yourself

  • July 30, 2004, 5:51 p.m. CST

    I wasn't attacking you, Mori, as much as the message

    by Mahasamatman

    which you said could be reasonably read into this movie, by "some." My problem was with the word some, because (I think) MANY people now have bought into this culture of fear idea. As evidence of this, I could point to Snobster's posts about how this administration is supposedly using the color coded "threat elevated" meter to frighten folks into losing sight of its mistakes and scandals. That's idiotic -- as idiotic an idea as saying Clinton ordered the bombing in Yugoslavia or the tomahawk missle strikes on Osama Bin Laden to distract the country from the Lewinsky scandal.

  • July 30, 2004, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Then I'm a sucker

    by Sneako

    Cause I didn't see the "experiment" thing coming. Even after the dumpster and apartment line. Good little flick, though. I think M. Night crafts great inoffensive stories that geeks like the ones here are too cynical to appreciate, let alone enjoy in any manner. Lighten up.

  • July 30, 2004, 6:18 p.m. CST

    I guessed the ending to Sixth Sense after Willis took the bullet

    by SalvatoreGravano

    Actually, to be honest, I didn't specifically guess it as much as I smiled and muttered or thought something along the lines of "Well, on the Twilight Zone, we'd eventually learn that he really died now and the rest of the film was his last dream, just before fading away". Then I smiled again, knowing that there surely were no idiot hacks left to rip off "Owl Creek Bridge" in such a way, and even if there were, a ripoff film of this sort would not be getting such good reviews. And then Shyalamoron did precisely that.

  • July 30, 2004, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Heh heh, some of you liberals are funny...

    by tango fett

    Bush rigged 9/11 to jack up oil prices so the aliens would go somewhere else to get their fuel?...well, not quite all of that, but the idea is ludacris. How could George Bush (keep in mind he's not the brightest guy in the world) concoct such a large and fairly complicated scheme? And while I'm at it, Michael Moore can go live with the pussy French if he hates America SO MUCH. And he can take Kerry with him. That's 2 less assclowns than we need gone. And thus, I've ranted my political rantings. Cheerio

  • July 30, 2004, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Now that I've actually seen it...

    by Cellu Lloyd

    I liked it quite a bit. And after hearing all this 9/11 and Bush metaphor bullshit I was absolutely ready to hate it. The metaphor is not as tight as a lot of critics are suggesting. Just because one of the elders is named "Walker" doesn't mean he represents George Bush. And if he does it's a far more sympathetic portrayal than everyone is saying. And there is no judgement cast upon the villagers and their life. The movie is completely agnostic on this. Forget the "twist". It's a story, not a mindbender. Just because Shyamalan doesn't trick you doesn't necessarily mean the story sucks. Lambblion, get a clue. Hey, guess what, aliens live among us. What, you didn't know that? Do a Google search for Christ's sake. YOU CAN FIND ANYTHING ON GOOGLE!

  • July 30, 2004, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Okay, enough already with beating up on the 9/11 parallels. I ge

    by truthseekr1488

    The human emotions that the movie deals with, however, are universal. The participants of the Village "experiment" knew that suffering and evil in the "real world" was not an illusion. The deception or self-deception came into play in the way in which they or the "elders" chose to deal with those very real evils by trying to fabricate an island of imaginary safety, and the inner costs that they paid for this little island of safety. Again, the emotions and attitudes that the film deals with are not specifically related to 9/11, otherwise you wouldn't have seen nearly the same thing on a dozen Twilight Zone and Outer Limits and Star Trek episodes in the '50s and '60s. (At least this movie didn't have Kirk giving the Villagers a lecture on how their elders had deceived them and how much better it is to live in the real world. :)

  • July 30, 2004, 8:52 p.m. CST

    What did the re-shoots change?

    by onetrueking

    What did the re-shoots change? Anyone have a link?

  • July 30, 2004, 9:35 p.m. CST

    We've been duped....

    by phil dearly

    We

  • July 31, 2004, 1:04 a.m. CST

    That's it, you're all a bunch of fucking idiots

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    All these people writing in suggesting that for the Village to have meaning the parallel between this film and the events of 9/11 is that the Bush administration invented the terrorists. You people have your head in your ass. In no way shape or form do the 'monsters' have to represent Al Qaeda. It's about the ability to manipulate through fear. That is all. You morons with your "in order for this to make sense Bush would have actually had to have bombed the towers himself," bullshit is staggering. It's just like all the idiots who thought Bowling for Columbine was about gun control. It's not. For the love of God, please figure out how to remove your head from the very deepest part of your ass.

  • July 31, 2004, 1:48 a.m. CST

    Saw it today. I liked it but I'm sure most will not. it's a lo

    by Russman

  • July 31, 2004, 2:01 a.m. CST

    I'm sorry this movie is terrible and if you don't think so you a

    by IndustryKiller

    Once again like Signs the filmmaking is strong as oak butt he narrative is so poor it is a wonder that a man as seemingly intelligent as Shyamalan could not see it. Every single thing Moriarty says is true. Every single thing. What he doesn't say is how incredibly pointless the film is. There is literally nothing to take away fromt hsi film. Nothing to make you not forget it as you walk out of the theater. To those who say its the victim of narrow preconceptions I say that's bullshit. The story that is there isn't nearly as engaging as the story that is supposed to be there. In fact it's pathetic. This film will only be remembered as the film that gave us Bryce Dallas Howard who was fucking amazing despite the terrible script.

  • July 31, 2004, 5:05 a.m. CST

    The Village

    by BillEmic

    No one cares but...I loved this movie. So there's at least a few of us here. Although it would have been cool if the park ranger had been sitting in his car after Ivy leaves, contemplating it all when...WHAM! A *real* creature attacks and slaughters him.

  • July 31, 2004, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Our Screening in San Diego, about 6 people walked out first 35 m

    by MentallyMariah

    THE VILLAGE was the most retarded movie experience ever, GO SEE GARDEN STATE, GO SEE MARIA FULL OF GRACE, FOR GOD SAKES, STAY OUT OF THE VILLAGE!!!!

  • July 31, 2004, 8:10 a.m. CST

    To be a metaphor for the consequences of the use of a manipulati

    by FluffyUnbound

    There would have to BE consequences. What are the consequences? I haven't seen the movie yet. It sounds like the only thing that carries consequences is keeping a retarded Adrian Brody around. The whole "Let's build a Shaker village in the woods" thing sounds like it was pretty much working out.

  • July 31, 2004, 11:05 a.m. CST

    It would have been cool if....

    by EvilRobot

    When Ivy got out the truck was being driven by a real monster, or hell I'd have taken a grey alien too. For real though what if they cut out the whole revelation of who/what that last monster was. Then at the end of the movie pan back to the monster and then we see that it was a real monster? You could leave everything else the same and I think that would have made this thing a whole lot better.

  • July 31, 2004, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Moriarty..How is Shyamalan's fans any different from Star Wars o

    by BigTuna

    Really, they think he can do no wrong. Doesn't sound any different then a lot of fans. Yet you seem suprised that his fans are like this. For the record, I liked the village, not as good as his other films (excluding Wide Awake) but solid.

  • July 31, 2004, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Excerpt from a better review

    by Billy_Oblivion

    "... The Village's greatest strength is a moral core that never devolves into moralistic propaganda." "Shyamalan poses questions about the human response to evil and loss then allows the audience to come its own conclusions. His themes are incredibly relevant to the dilemmas we face today: Should we confront the things that threaten us and try to defeat them, or should we retreat, sacrificing even truth if it is necessary to enjoy a precious, if tenuous, peace? Should we ignore real menaces we can't control in favor of imagined ones we can?" "Shyamalan doesn't paint his villagers motivations as right or wrong, and his reticence to make an allegory of his tale may leave some viewers frustrated. But it will also leave them thinking more deeply about the issues than if they were force-fed a lesson. Already, critics are reviewing The Village through their own political lenses, and it is to Shyamalan's credit that both the left and right could make credible arguments that the film falls in their favor." By Megan Basham, at National Review Online. This is very much on point, to my way of thinking. An obvious point, but significant: We don't know what the elders decide at the end of the movie. Did they abandon their sef-imposed mission? Or will they continue? Will they pass the deciion to the younger generation as represented by Lucius and Ivy? Will they put it to a vote? Or continue to lead the way their conscience dictates? More to the point, what would you do? If you know the answer to that question, and are comfortable with it, I submit you probably haven't thought enough about it. Most people will get out of this movie about what they brought to it. Some few will be stimulated to think harder about the issues of risk, safety, authority, fear, governance, and citizenship that this movie raises. Maybe a bit more than they are comfortable with.

  • July 31, 2004, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Aren't antigifted idiots trying to read their own "meaning" into

    by SalvatoreGravano

    Why don't you look for the second layer of meaning in "Van Helsing"? Or "Catwoman"?

  • July 31, 2004, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Because there is none.

    by Billy_Oblivion

  • July 31, 2004, 4:43 p.m. CST

    NEW REVIEW - Are Critics Really THAT Stupid?

    by Veraxus

    I'll start off by saying that I am NOT a fan of M Night Shayamalan. I figured out 6th Sense in the first 5 minutes - same goes for Unbreakable. Signs had some holes in logic so big you could drive a truck through them. The point is this: if you *liked* those pretentious pieces of cinematic crap, then you will HATE The Village. Really, the movie is a victim of it's audiences own preconceptions. The fact that it's being advertised as a thriller/horror dosn't help one iota. There's no twist, no gimmick, no great revelation. The story is carefully revealed piece by piece rather than in one giant exposition like Shayamalan's other films. If you've read the reviews then you've heard the same thing over and over "Night spoils the twist and so you are just waiting for the movie to end." THERE IS NO GOSH DARNED TWIST FOR HEAVENS SAKES!!! This is a movie about love, hope, and overcoming great obstacles in the name of good. Walker spells it out quite clearly in his speach to the council - The Village is place where people can hope for a better future... and you should do everything to nurture that hope. What's this? A REAL MOVIE with REAL VALUES from M Night Shayamalan? *GASP* By now I think it's safe to say I absolutely LOVED The Village. It's Shayamalan's best work. It pays off for those who are paying attention to details. This is not a sit-and-watch film - you have to be actively engaged and paying attention. When you walk into a movie called Death to Smoochie expecting something akin to carebears, and instead get Reservoir Dogs - you're bound to be upset (I remember people bringing gangs of kids to that movie, it's the same story here). Well, when you walk into The Village expecting Sixth Sense - you're not going to happy. Go into this movie expecting a drama/suspense/love story - not a supernatural thriller. It really has more in common with Anne of Green Gables than The Thing, but there's plenty to love if you know how to look at it. SCORE: 9/10 - marked down a point for an overdone running-through-the-woods scene. SPOILERS ENSUE - I believe going into the movie with this knowledge could drastically enhance your appreciation of the film. Knowing this, you will spend less time trying to figure out the nonexistant 'big secret', and actually watch the movie. . . . . . . . . . . There are no 'real' monsters - they are a story perpetrated by the council, who founded the village on the idea of creating a crim-free society. The Village is hidden in a modern-day forrest and disguised as a wildlife preserve - paid for by Mr. Walker who is one of the richest men in the world. The village does have one bad apple, however... some of the younger ones were raised in The Village, and grew up being told stories about the creatures in the woods. They have no reason to doubt. Noone is allowed to leave the village - not even for medicine, to protect their way of life - mostly to keep the world outside from intruding into their little world. When something bad happens, one person has to venture through the woods and into the world outside for medicine, that person has a hard time coping with the years of lies they grew up with and still partially believes in the creatures. But will they get the medicine and make it back in time? . . . . . . . END SPOILER See the Ebert & Roeper review. Roeper *got it*, Ebert didn't. Again, I give The Village a score of 9/10.

  • July 31, 2004, 7:29 p.m. CST

    www.whatreallyhappened.com

    by phil dearly

    Our government is subservient to corporations. The corporations are owned by globalists (who are in fact zionists). The global elite own, well, everything really. Through the power of government, they are trying to take more and more of our rights and freedoms (and we're letting them!!) The Patriot Act anyone? "There are no accidents in politics. If it happens, you can believe it was planned to happen" ---F.D.R. (and he should know since he had forewarning about Pearl Harbor). So, before you line up to get your inplants (for your "protection", of course), consider for a moment the possibility that maybe the terrorist threat is exaggerated (to the point of preposterousness in my opinion)! Folks, they want to delay elections, because of suppposed evidence that Al-CIAda might strike. Please! It's like Lenin said (no, not

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 12:23 a.m. CST

    Village was better than the OVER RATED Garden State

    by andrew coleman

    If any of you even think about seeing Garden State, don't the movie has no meaning I mean seriously Village and Catwoman had more meaning than the piece of shit movie. Also I don't get how there is not middle ground with this movie, The Village. It seems people can only really hate this movie with a blood lust. Or if you liked it your in a catagory of M. Knight super fans. Can't you just say you enjoyed it or thought it was disapointing without being placed into a group of haters or lovers?

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 12:24 a.m. CST

    J. Christ III

    by WoodyStiffer

    This guy just kills me, despite the analogies to the Bush regime and their retarded politics of fear, this moron offers the following post "The human emotions that the movie deals with, however, are universal. The participants of the Village "experiment" knew that suffering and evil in the "real world" was not an illusion. The deception or self-deception came into play in the way in which they or the "elders" chose to deal with those very real evils by trying to fabricate an island of imaginary safety, and the inner costs that they paid for this little island of safety. Again, the emotions and attitudes that the film deals with are not specifically related to 9/11, otherwise you wouldn't have seen nearly the same thing on a dozen Twilight Zone and Outer Limits and Star Trek episodes in the '50s and '60s. (At least this movie didn't have Kirk giving the Villagers a lecture on how their elders had deceived them and how much better it is to live in the real world. :)" This jackass STILL BELIEVES IN THE 'SCARY REAL WORLD' that we live in. Fucking amazing. It just goes to show that there are fucking retards that will always go along with our leaders, no matter how retarded their actions are.

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 1:13 a.m. CST

    ANOTHER BUSH SUPPORTER

    by WoodyStiffer

    Some people seem to be denying the fact that M SHAMALAMADINGDONG Doesn't like the crook that is BUSH. Here's his take "I liked it quite a bit. And after hearing all this 9/11 and Bush metaphor bullshit I was absolutely ready to hate it. The metaphor is not as tight as a lot of critics are suggesting. Just because one of the elders is named "Walker" doesn't mean he represents George Bush. And if he does it's a far more sympathetic portrayal than everyone is saying. And there is no judgement cast upon the villagers and their life. The movie is completely agnostic on this. Forget the "twist". It's a story, not a mindbender. Just because Shyamalan doesn't trick you doesn't necessarily mean the story sucks. Lambblion, get a clue. Hey, guess what, aliens live among us. What, you didn't know that? Do a Google search for Christ's sake. YOU CAN FIND ANYTHING ON GOOGLE!" Absolutely hysterical!!! This fucktard LOVES M. Night, yet refuses to believe that M. would be against that Redneck, Racist fucktard Bush. Unbelieveable!!!

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 2:14 a.m. CST

    woodystiffer

    by JoseJones

    So what is your take on the current situation? Do you believe that there could possibly be a terrorist threat to our country? When color-coded terror warnings are issued it is mainly for non-government security officials that protect most of our major banks and institutions. What do you think is a better option? Where do you live? In a city like New York or any major metropolitan area it would be impossible to run around telling all private sector security that there might be a higher risk of terror. Or do you believe that something like 9/11 or the first World Trade Center attack or Oklahoma City or the US Embassy, or USS Cole or Madrid are once in a lifetime occurrences? Or do you think that our current president, Spain's president, Tanzania's leaders, Bill Clinton and others killed their own citizens? Do you think it is a conspiracy being carried out by all the leaders of the world? Do you share the solid political views of our brilliant paul dearly? You do know that John Kerry wants to increase homeland security funding as well as the number of troops in the Armed Forces? So John Kerry is in on it as well. Why don't you enlighten us with your ideas for a better, safer America. Because we have been safe for almost 4 years now, do you firmly believe we will remain that way. Read again the reasons why we have a color-coded threat level. What do you suggest would be a better option? And regarding The Village, if it was anti-Bush, why are the village elders not evil? shouldn't the end of the film show Ivy running back to the village and liberating all her people, telling them the truth, resulting in an uprising against Walker, and concluding with all of the youngsters running out to the towns in celebration? The elders were not portrayed in any negative way. The audiences personal and political feelings that they carried into the film allowed them to interpret it the way that suites them best. That is why people who support Bush and who are anti-Bush have been saying that Night represents their views. Also M Night Shyamalan has never said this is a political film. Do you know his politics? You would think with the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 if The Village was anti-Bush that he would comeout and say it. Please answer my questions. John Kerry, George W Bush as well as many of the world's leaders would surely benefit from your expertise. Or do you live in some hick town and therefore have nothing to worry about anyway?

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 2:17 a.m. CST

    woodystiffer

    by JoseJones

    So what is your take on the current situation? Do you believe that there could possibly be a terrorist threat to our country? When color-coded terror warnings are issued it is mainly for non-government security officials that protect most of our major banks and institutions. What do you think is a better option? Where do you live? In a city like New York or any major metropolitan area it would be impossible to run around telling all private sector security that there might be a higher risk of terror. Or do you believe that something like 9/11 or the first World Trade Center attack or Oklahoma City or the US Embassy, or USS Cole or Madrid are once in a lifetime occurrences? Or do you think that our current president, Spain's president, Tanzania's leaders, Bill Clinton and others killed their own citizens? Do you think it is a conspiracy being carried out by all the leaders of the world? Do you share the solid political views of our brilliant paul dearly? You do know that John Kerry wants to increase homeland security funding as well as the number of troops in the Armed Forces? So John Kerry is in on it as well. Why don't you enlighten us with your ideas for a better, safer America. Because we have been safe for almost 4 years now, do you firmly believe we will remain that way. Read again the reasons why we have a color-coded threat level. What do you suggest would be a better option? And regarding The Village, if it was anti-Bush, why are the village elders not evil? shouldn't the end of the film show Ivy running back to the village and liberating all her people, telling them the truth, resulting in an uprising against Walker, and concluding with all of the youngsters running out to the towns in celebration? The elders were not portrayed in any negative way. The audiences personal and political feelings that they carried into the film allowed them to interpret it the way that suites them best. That is why people who support Bush and who are anti-Bush have been saying that Night represents their views. Also M Night Shyamalan has never said this is a political film. Do you know his politics? You would think with the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 if The Village was anti-Bush that he would comeout and say it. Please answer my questions. John Kerry, George W Bush as well as many of the world's leaders would surely benefit from your expertise. Or do you live in some hick town and therefore have nothing to worry about anyway?

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 11:37 a.m. CST

    What the ending should have been

    by callmesnake

    They should step out of the village and it should not be the present 2004. It should be like the year 3090. Really futuristic. With all futuristic looking buildings and stuff. That would have surprised the characters in the movie and in the audience. Or they should step out of the village and its another planet altogether.

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Saw this the other day.

    by mrfan

    Not bad. Just wish M. Night would stay out of his films. He cannot act. Why does he do this to me? Anyway, the cast was good. Especially the Howard girl. I give it three out of five. And does anyone know what his next project is about yet?

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 2:59 p.m. CST

    The Twist ending

    by Paul Allen Voiq

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 5:34 p.m. CST

    He LIed!

    by dvdbob

    I must say that I am a huge M Night fan and of course as every film geek should I own all of his DVD's BUT, Warning, Spoiler ahead. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM! I figured out the "suprise" ending of the village about 5 minutes into the film. M Night, the gifted story teller that he is, made one unforgivable mistake. He lied to the audience! There is NO need for the shot of the tombstone with the date on it in the first few minutes of the film. The children of the village would not know the difference between 1890 and 2004!! M Night did not need this shot! All it did was trick the audience when we already believed that it was the 1800's. He used a trick rather than his talent for this film. Take "The Usual Suspects" for instance. Kevin Spacey, a character in the film is the one who is not telling the truth to the audience. Bryan Singer even shows you Gabriel Byrne getting killed by Keyser Soze in the first 2 minutes. Thumbs down for the Village and especially thumbs down for M Night.

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 6:25 p.m. CST

    dvdbob

    by JoseJones

    The way I looked at both the gravestone reading 1897 as well as the way they talked in the film was, yes to dupe the audience a little bit, but more importantly for the villagers themselves. They had decided to leave a very modern society to pursue life the way it was way back when. We do not need to suspend belief if we are to think the villagers decided to go all out. If I created my own little world, I would probably try to do whatever I could to reinforce the "new reality" If they wanted to live like it was in 1800s what is wrong with reinforcing that idea by actually telling yourself that it is 1897? If I created the 1950s in my backyard, and if I truly wanted to buy in to that fact, I would not tell myself everytime I stepped into my backyard that it was 2004. Do you get my point? sorry if it is a little rambling, but I think Night did the right thing

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 7 p.m. CST

    M Night Needs to Stay Away from Twists

    by stlfilmwire

    (SPOILER) - I like M Night. He's a great storyteller. The problem is, he needs to stop listening to people talking about twists... even though he only had two real twist endings... Sixth Sense and the Village. The problem is, if I am told that he's got another twist in store, I have been able to figure out his movies without even seeing them... which is exactly what happened with The Village. Since I heard idiots talking about it, I asked myself, "What would totally floor a viewer?"... and whammo... I get it every time. He's a great storywriter... he should just try to do some different kind of suspense films... so I dont trust my instincts as much as I currently do.

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 7:09 p.m. CST

    And about Sixth Sense...

    by stlfilmwire

    and to whoever asked earlier, yes, I too figured out The Sixth Sense... When I saw Bruce get shot, I thought maybe he might have died (because I heard about the twist)... but when I saw the restaurant scene with his wife, I was convinced.

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 11:30 p.m. CST

    I got a question

    by Rcamacho2278

    If Walker OWNED the property he was living in with his peeps. WHy didnt he keep medicine around? That is so stupid. Walker was a crazy Zealot. And why on EARTH would they leave a costume under boards where they locked the retard?

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 11:47 p.m. CST

    The key...

    by stlfilmwire

    To understand M Night's intention, you have to ask yourself, "What was the thought process behind deciding that the character Ivy is blind?"

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Hmmm....

    by stlfilmwire

    And the planes flying overhead thing was a stretch too... yeah... Walker made sure that no planes would fly overhead. And I agree with the grave. If they didn't want to expose them to the outside world, why would they decide to lie and tell them it was the 1800s...when they could just say that is 2004.

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 12:03 a.m. CST

    OK...

    by stlfilmwire

    Let's focus on the guy who didn't like his clothes getting messed up. Let's try and scrape together the reasoning behind him. Hehe. Curious as to what we think he represents. I have my reasoning, but I want to hear what u think.

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 1:26 a.m. CST

    If you're going to attack Moriarty...

    by johnny5alive

    At least attack him for what he's saying, not what he can be construed as saying after one quick, shallow read through. Come on, does anyone actually think "sound familiar yet?" meant the September 11th attacks were made up? Please. What Mori was saying was quite clear to me: Shyamalan's scaremongering elders were an allegory for Bush's scaremongering colour coded alerts and phony wars. For the record, yes of course there are "terrorists," but I think everyone here could do well to realize that that is a relative term. Send a soldier into my country for reasons that aren't so clear to either me or the soldier and I'd call you a terrorist too. Thus, the word is a load of persuasive rhetoric; a concept as lofty and hard undefined as "terror" is as perfect a way to define/label an enemy (the Other) as calling someone an "infidel" is - and may none of us forget it. By that same token, Moriarty's interpretation is spot on: "Those We Do Not Speak Of" = "Terrorists". Say what you will about how this is Night's most complex, thought-provoking story and a philosophical musing on fear, but don't expect me to buy it. I saw the themes all right, but I also saw them plod through an awkwardly written and acted, overblown film. I also saw them as flat out obvious. Yes, culture of fear, check, gotcha. So?

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 2:03 a.m. CST

    lol phil dearly!

    by Ninja_Master

    lol phil dearly! That's great! Your drooling idiot act is spot on! Night should have cast you over Adrien Brody. I love how you "proved" Osama Bin Laden's confession was a sham with a link to a site of unsubstantiated wacko claims (like no Muslims could possibly be involved in 'Al-Qaeda', because the Koran doesn't condone decapitations. That

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 2:04 a.m. CST

    Hey, that scene was cool....

    by kimberwyn

    What was so bad about the scene with Ivy in the woods? I thought it was the "scariest", if you want to go that far and call it that, scene in the film. I don't think that he meant for us to think the creatures may be real. I mean, who DIDN'T know that it was Noah in the costume? And even if you didn't get that, I bet most people though it was still one of the elders who didn't want anyone one to go out of the viallge (which would have been a good plot idea as well). That scene made sense because, 1. It did set up another very suspenseful moment. 2. If Noah was jealous enough to try and kill Lucius its probably not going to stop there, why not have him try and stop ivy from going in to town so he makes sure Lucius dies? 3. They needed to kill off that jerk Noah anyways and there was no better way to do it. And as for the moral of the story, I don't know how the heck anyone is relating it to terrorism. I know there is some deep underlying meaning, but I don't have a clue what it is nor do I feel like thinking about it. This is what I got and its enough for me: every society is going to have its bad seed. Oh yeah, and I give the movie a B-.

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Wow. I liked his other movies, even Signs, but not THIS!

    by Drath

    The "plot holes" in Signs didn't bother me because the whole alien plot was a Macguffin anyway. I can give it that we don't need to know why the aliens came to a planet that is mostly made of a deadly substance to them. Maybe they were desparate, maybe they didn't know, maybe they came to use the water in humans as a weapon in an intergalactic war. Whatever the reason, it's not important to the family's situation, all they have to know is that the aliens have come and are coming after them. You might as well demand to know why the birds attacked in "The Birds," when it's really not the point. That said, It worried me when Shyamalan said "oh, they came to eat humans," in an interview because I thought he understood that such an explanation was irrelevant and even did more harm than good. I also disliked the awkward expository scene in the army recruiting office, but it was a minor false note to me. Not so with the Village! Mori is right, the Elders' stilted speach makes no sense. It is a deliberate lie to keep us from guessing the truth. The same with the headstone. Why would the elders change the dates? And you can't tell me this "oath" they took would stop parents from seeking ways to save their children in the outside world. Brendan Gleeson let his own child die rather than get a cure from outside? Bullshit. I don't believe it. And Lucius's own MOTHER doesn't want to save him by going to the outside to get some medicine? More bullshit. She should have been leading the charge. Certainly it would have made more sense for an Elder to go outside than the fucking BLIND girl!! Never mind that with two stab wounds Lucius should have been dead anyway. Oh yeah, and about Noah killing those animals, what idiot would think that was a coyote? The elders would have thought it was some of the village's children before they thought it was an animal! Everything about this movie fell apart for me, and all because the humans weren't acting right. I didn't believe in them like I believed in the human characters of Shyamalan's previous movies. It's enough to make me wonder if his other movies were flukes. I hope he does better next time. This movie felt like nothing but a set up for the grand twist ending. Very disappointing stuff.

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Grumble, grumble.

    by Purple Toupee

    Grumble!

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 6:52 p.m. CST

    The original Star Wars was about the Bush administration

    by pizzatheface

    You know. Vader represents Bush and the Empire is his administration. And when he is looking for the plans to the rebel base on the cruiser and they weren't there, that's Lucas telling us there are no WMD's in Iraq. Seriously, just about everyone here wants to draw a parallel in today's movies with today's political situation. If you look hard enough, you could find parallels in every single movie to prove that the filmmaker means something else. Well, OF COURSE Night wanted to include references to war and soldiers dying, because that is our world today that the people were escaping. There have been wars going on since there have been two people who differ in opinion. Not every message a filmmaker intends is "Let's get Bush"! Some people just want to tell a compelling story, and Night does better that almost all other filmmakers today.

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Bush is a liar?

    by Ninja_Master

    knowthyself, you said "I was as mad at this film as I was at Bush for his lies about WMD's." How can anyone honesty buy that? British, French, and Russian intelligence all said that Iraq had WMDs (Vladimir Putin warned Bush several times that Iraq was going to attack the US). Does Bush control Russian intelligence? Are the British in the pocket of big oil? And now 3 separate committees (The 9/11 Commission, The Senate Intelligence Committee, and Lord Butler's British investigation) all found that there is no evidence Bush lied about anything. Everyone from Bill Clinton to John Kerry agreed that Iraq had WMDs. If Bush is a liar for saying Iraq had WMDs, so is John Kerry who said in January 2003 "Without question we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppresive regime...He presents a particularly grievious threat because he is so consistantly prone to miscalculation. And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction...So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real."

  • Aug. 2, 2004, 8:14 p.m. CST

    (great review) that is exactly what I thought

    by gunnarcannibal

    The Village is a movie you can never watch twice because anything that is scary about it is a lie. That was the same problem with The Game, in that it was really only A GAME!

  • Aug. 3, 2004, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Plot Problem

    by jsmokehaus

    Ok heres the biggest problems with the monster at the end (Adrein Brody). 1. How did he get out of the locked room? His parents opened the door to feed him remember? 2. Lets assume that he crawled out from under the boards and took the costume (to answer #1). How did he know the girl was in the woods? Obviously nobody told him he snuck out unnoticed remember? Why would he ever think that, nobody has ever gone into the woods. Why think that now? 3. The woods surrounded the whole village, how did he happen to guess the exact way she went? Amazing when you consider it. He happened to guess the exact way she left, or she happened to go the exact way he always did when he explored the woods....very, very unlikely. 4. Why did her dad tell here that in "History books" monsters were "rumored" to live in the woods? The only reason to tell her this would be to scare her. Why tell her the truth about there being no monsters if youre gonna turn around and say well on second thought there may be monsters so be careful??? WTF is that? He was a professor for gods sake, and the land owner. I would assume he would have a better grasp of his own land. Which further supports the weakness of my third point. Amazing that these woods are so enormous he doesnt know whats in them, but Adrien Brodyn, as the monster, pinpoints her location. No way.

  • Aug. 3, 2004, 1:30 a.m. CST

    Plot Holes

    by jsmokehaus

    Ok heres the biggest problems with the monster at the end (Adrein Brody). 1. How did he get out of the locked room? His parents opened the door to feed him remember? 2. Lets assume that he crawled out from under the boards and took the costume (to answer #1). How did he know the girl was in the woods? Obviously nobody told him he snuck out unnoticed remember? Why would he ever think that, nobody has ever gone into the woods. Why think that now? 3. The woods surrounded the whole village, how did he happen to guess the exact way she went? Amazing when you consider it. He happened to guess the exact way she left, or she happened to go the exact way he always did when he explored the woods....very, very unlikely. 4. Why did her dad tell here that in "History books" monsters were "rumored" to live in the woods? The only reason to tell her this would be to scare her. Why tell her the truth about there being no monsters if youre gonna turn around and say well on second thought there may be monsters so be careful??? WTF is that? He was a professor for gods sake, and the land owner. I would assume he would have a better grasp of his own land. Which further supports the weakness of my third point. Amazing that these woods are so enormous he doesnt know whats in them, but Adrien Brodyn, as the monster, pinpoints her location. No way.

  • Aug. 3, 2004, 1:37 a.m. CST

    Signs??

    by jsmokehaus

    Why does everyone bash the ending to signs? Im convinced most people dont understand this movie at ALL. Heres the whole movie summed up. THE ALIENS DONT MATTER TO THE STORY AT ALL! The plot holes tied to them dont mean anything. Got it. The name signs and the fact that Mel Gibsons character is a priest should be enough. The name of this movie isnt about the crop circle signs. The movie is about the signs from god that we miss in our everyday lives that are designed to lead us into our purpose. Thats why Mel puts on the priest oufit at the end. He saw the....here it comes....SIGNS. Imagine that what a coincidence. It makes alot more sense if you understand something before bashing it.

  • Aug. 16, 2004, 8:32 p.m. CST

    About the twist...(SPOILERS)

    by johnmikeoos

    One of the big criticisms of this movie is how the twist seems to say, "Hey, there really aren't any monsters in the woods...PSYCHE, there are monsters...no, just kidding on that psyche." See, I didn't read it that way. When that "PSYCHE" moment happened, that wasn't Night saying "PSYCHE." Quoting from Harry, who quoted from Cameron: "YOU HAVE TO LOOK WITH BETTER EYES THAN THAT." Put yourself in Ivy Walker's shoes. Stop looking at it with a critical eye and let yourself get absorbed. The so called "PSYCHE" moment was nothing more than Ivy doubting herself. Think about it: You're told one thing for over twenty years, and then, suddenly, you're told that it's simply NOT TRUE. Are you immediately going to stop believing in the one thing you were told? I don't always act this condescending, but, no. If you hear evidence of what you've been told exists for 20 years, regardless of what else you've been told, YOU WILL BELIEVE IT. Period.