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  • I don't think I've ever been more shocked by how much I liked a film. I had very low expectations when I decided to watch "The Village," because I knew how much critics had panned it. I'm not saying that I regard the consensus of the critics as sacrosanct. But the movies I love are rarely ones that have earned critical scorn, so by the law of probability I doubted that this one would be any good. Besides, I had noticed a steadily downward slope in the quality of M. Night Shyamalan's films since "The Sixth Sense." When "The Village" was released and subsequently panned, it seemed to fit the pattern that I myself had noticed. So I didn't go and see the film. Only recently did I take a look at it on cable, more out of curiosity than anything else.

    And alas, I found the first fifteen minutes rather slow. The movie has a lot of characters, and it doesn't quickly establish which ones are the most important. All we see is this primitive nineteenth-century village in the midst of woods that the villagers believe to be haunted by ominous, sentient creatures who will not harm the people as long as they don't set foot in the woods. The villagers have all sorts of rituals to protect themselves from attack, such as avoiding the color red (what is it with Shyamalan and red?) and wearing yellow hoods. But rules are meant to be broken, and a quiet, mysterious young man played by Joaquin Phoenix wants to journey into the woods so that he can visit "the towns" on the other side, which boast superior medicine. Among other things, he wonders if he'll find a cure for his mentally handicapped friend (Adrien Brody). In the meantime, he's falling in love with the blind girl (Bryce Dallas Howard) whose role in the plot will expand as the movie progresses.

    The love story between Phoenix and Howard is well-handled and believable, transcending the romantic clichés. The two characters seem to possess a common understanding and don't have to talk much in order for us to feel the developing bond between them. But what they do say to each other is intriguing. My favorite line is "Sometimes we don't do things we want to do so that others won't know we want to do them." Their personalities also transcend stereotype, particularly with Phoenix: while stoic and courageous, he's also shy and withdrawn, as revealed in scenes where he passes letters to the public council instead of speaking in front of them. His ultimate significance to the story turns the heroic convention on its head.

    Everyone in the village speaks in an oddly formal manner, using big words and avoiding contractions. The accents are American, but the diction is like that of a nineteenth-century English novel. Amazingly, the actors make this language sound natural as it rolls off their tongues. The cast includes several familiar faces: William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson, and the aforementioned Phoenix and Brody. But the star of the film is the as-yet unknown Howard, who delivers a performance so compelling that it's a shame the film was trashed by critics.

    Much of the film concerns the relationships of the characters in the village, but the mystery of the creatures also dominates the plot. This is more of a quietly creepy "Twilight Zone"-style tale than outright horror. Like Shyamalan's other films, it ultimately carries a message of hope and optimism. But Shyamalan does not forget his horror roots. No other Hollywood filmmaker today is better at crafting scenes where a character is being haunted by an evil presence. These scenes work because of Shyamalan's acute sense of how nightmares feel. Like all skilled horror directors, he knows not to focus on the monster itself but on the panicked reaction of the character being stalked.

    While the use of a blind character is hardly a new device, Shyamalan handles the scenes with Howard in an interesting way. Instead of the usual approach of teasing the audience by showing exactly what the blind character doesn't see, he practically makes us blind along with her. He has the camera follow her as she walks, so that we don't see what's in front of her. We soon realize that we are seeing little more than what she is able to discern about her surroundings. In crucial scenes, we are effectively almost as much in the dark as she is.

    I cannot say much more about the plot without ruining the movie's surprises, which are abundant. Critics dismissed "The Village" as a crude exercise in plot manipulation. I couldn't disagree more. While I'm not certain that the logistics of the plot work in every detail, most of the criticisms I have heard reflect a superficial reading of the story.

    The film has the same basic structure that Shyamalan always uses, where we are swept up in the events and only at the end do we find out what the movie was truly about. From there, we have to think backwards to understand the ultimate meaning of the story. I have seen the movie three times now, noticing new things each time. The social themes make me think that Shyamalan is familiar with Joseph Campbell's works on primitive societies and the origin of drama. The back story is very well thought out compared to that of the average thriller, and I feel some disappointment that more people aren't able to appreciate it. The beauty and genius of this film is a well-kept secret.
  • I like clever movies, and I like scary movies. And because of my disposition I already spent money on two very awful movies that came from Hollywood this year: abysmal "Godsend" and at first glance promising but ultimately stupid and disappointing "The Forgotten".

    That's why I proceeded with care to the latest Shyamalan's work: "The village". The trailer looked promising: a desolate turn-of-the-last-century village, sorrounded by the forest in which some horrible creatures live. Promising, but being careful lately, I first checked around the net...and was amazed to see a big load of negative reviews. Roger Ebert for instance, whose opinion I usually respect, gave it a horribly low grade! Great.

    Nevertheless, I chose to see it, and I must say was quite pleasantly surprised. Here, ladies and gentlemen, you have a very nicely shot, atmospheric thriller with great cast, good story and a few finishing touches of Shyamalan's cleverness (which could be simply called brilliant when compared with the latest scripts that the Hollywood vomits over its audience!).

    Why the lousy reviews? Well, there are basically two kinds of people that will want to see this movie: first the horror fans, who will expect a gruesome and chilling and potentially bloody tale, and the puzzle-movie fans, who are more or less not interested in the movie itself, but in "solving the latest Shyamalan's puzzle" of what the movie is all about.

    The horror crowd will be disappointed. There are scares in this movie, but way too much characterization and drama for their taste. As for the other crowd, well people, the twist is there, but this time it's very guessable (although Shyamalan still has some tricks up his sleeve, as you'll see).

    It seems that Shyamalan will always live in the shadow of his masterpiece "The 6th sense". People still remember getting their socks knocked off with its powerful ending, and keep expecting that to happen again with every following movie. What's worse, Hollywood realized that the twists are trendy, so lately we have lots of movies with a final twist, most of which are stupid/cheap/illogical. People today set their expectations too damn high, especially if they see Shyamalan's name at the movie poster.

    This movie is great. The atmosphere is great, the cast is fantastic, and what I mostly love about it, it's clever. It's logical. And whatever you say about it, it's CONSISTENT. Compared to the other Hollywood crap we are getting served lately, this is a VERY good movie.

    Watch this, but not as a puzzle, but as a great movie in itself.

    Well, just my 2 cents.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I thought the introduction, middle, and ending of this movie was excellent. M Night creates unique horror movies that are not just blood and gore. The ending made sense with the plot and direction of the film because when I first saw the movie, I noticed that the living quarters of the characters seemed very new. If you re-watch the film, you will see how the village homes are polished and don't looks like rustic log cabins. The ending was a strong point of the film because it makes sense how people who experienced violent crimes or lost loved ones in real life would want to create their own utopia.I think this movie has a strong political and spiritual message: People do not change. This movie also reminds of the Twilight episode called "Looks Just Like You." In this episode, the men and women undergo cosmetic surgery to turn into the ideal male and female standards of health and beauty. Although this utopia is created through physical improvement, M Night's is achieved by shunning modern technology.
  • The Village is set in a small, rural community living in a kind of 19th Century self-supporting agrarianism. Woods surround the town, and the villagers maintain a strict perimeter, as there are creatures in the woods with whom they've reached a truce so long as the borders are not breached. Tension mounts as the creatures start breaking their normal pattern, and one of the villagers, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), seeks permission from the town elders to travel through the woods, to the towns and "those we don't speak of", so he can acquire medicine for his fellow villagers.

    For anyone seriously interested in the art of film, The Village is worth a viewing just for its cinematography and score. That's not to say that the story isn't good. It's a captivating tale of a very odd small town, complete with a twist, as is characteristic of director M. Night Shyamalan. The twist may not be as shattering here as it was in some of his previous films, such as The Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000), but it is still a change that catalyzes an eye-opening recontextualization and reassessment of the previous material, making the film and the final resolution of the story even more poignant. It is also interesting to note the many possible metaphorical readings, ranging from political insularism to religion, or even more literal comparisons to social and geographic segregation (from ethnic enclaves to gated communities).

    Shyamalan could be said to have a directorial gimmick, although that might not be the best word because it's usually taken negatively, and I don't mean it to undervalue his approach. He makes genre films in the guise of realist dramas. So far, all of his films since he hit it big with The Sixth Sense have used this interesting device, each in a different genre. The Sixth Sense was a horror/ghost story. Unbreakable was a comic book film. Signs was sci-fi. The Village is fantasy/adventure. It also has some horror elements (as do Unbreakable and Signs).

    Part of Shyamalan's genius as a filmmaker is that he can achieve the usual responses associated with those genres using such unusual, relatively mundane and realist material. For example, in The Village, he is able to build up an incredible amount of suspense in relation to two very simple things--flowers of a particular color, and beginning a walk into the woods. A simple walk into the woods is also the beginning of an adventure just as grand as any depiction of a quest for the Holy Grail, say. And the ensuing plot developments, although very ordinary on one level, have a profound, redemptive effect. Many of the most important developments in the climax aren't even directly stated; they're just subtly implied in what we're shown, yet they all work extremely well. While Shyamalan's style may require some adjustments for viewers more accustomed to chaotic, MTV-paced genre films, or on the flipside, for viewers less accustomed to elements of fantasy in their films, it is worth altering your preconceptions about pacing and content.

    The cast is excellent. I'm not usually the biggest fan of William Hurt, but I even loved his performance. Joaquin Phoenix and particularly Bryce Dallas Howard are amazing. The film wouldn't have worked without the right person in either actor's roles. Both were perfect choices. There is also a wonderful, very slight surreal quality throughout most of the film shown in the behavior of the villagers towards each other.

    James Newton Howard's score may be his best to date in a very long list of credits. The music always provides just the right atmosphere, sense of wonder/mystery, pathos and suspense. Roger Deakins' cinematography is equally brilliant, capturing a slight eeriness, sense of foreboding and comfort all at the same time, and with an ingenious use of colors. Much of the film leans towards rich yellow/orange hues and tints, with strong green accents in the grasses and trees. Whenever red is introduced, it is appropriately intense. The framing of shots and staging of scenes is equally impressive.

    I know that this film has had its detractors, but I cannot see why. For my tastes, The Village is yet another masterpiece from a very creative, innovative filmmaker.
  • In recent years, M Night Shyamalan's reputation has taken a serious beating, having directed universally panned Razzy films (such as The Last Airbender and The Happening), and even some recent successes (Split, Glass) haven't been enough to salvage his career. However, slightly earlier in his directorial filmography sits this genuine horror-mystery masterpiece, criminally underrated and judged undeservedly.

    The Village is a different take on a horror trope, detailing an isolated community's resolve against a hidden threat in the surrounding forest. As this genre goes, the cast does not get any better: Sigourney Weaver, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody and Brendan Gleeson all feature prominently, as well as relative unknowns Jesse Eisenberg and Dallas Bryce Howard in some of their earlier roles. All are individually excellent and well-cast, perfectly depicting the repressed fear of a society without outside influences.

    The plot of is consistent and of genuine quality, which doesn't often translate in the horror genre; however, do not be dissuaded by the premise of horror - The Village plays more off the resulting drama than cheap jump scares, and slow burns until the revelations in the second half blow the script open. The forest village is the ideal setting for this hidden evil, sparsely populated and somewhat bleak - the integral use of red and yellow elevate the cinematography further, making the environment more distressing.

    The Village should be a must-watch purely on the merit of the plot: some may not connect with the subtleties of the script and the nuances of the story, but those who take the time to invest will be thoroughly rewarded with a quality film.
  • I disagree with other commenter. the ending twist was not obvious. I found this to be a thoughtful, deep movie with effective dialogue. I had to give Shamalan props as the result was not the typical Hollywood plot. If you go into watching it wanting a horror action movie, you will be disappointed. However, if you go into it with an open mind and like drama/suspense with a good premise, this is a very nice movie! The camera work was effective. Adrian Brody plays a good role albeit not a large one. Rating the Shamalan movies, I'd say The Village was second only to Sixth Sense. It was better than both Signs and Unbreakable. Definitely turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
  • M. Night Shyamalan definitely did himself a disservice in releasing "The Sixth Sense". Brilliant as the film was, its "twist" ending was so powerful that audiences the world over expected nothing less from the talented young director. And so, Shyamalan has been trying with every single outing since to recapture that sense of awe.

    Although many have made scathing remarks about the ending of "The Village", it is perhaps his most perfect since "The Sixth Sense"; though by no means a huge surprise, it nevertheless settles into the ambiance and leaves the film with a tinge of melancholy that belies the trailers.

    It is a film of startling imagery, with a theme of 9/11-inspired innocence versus corruption that creeps into the mind and stays there until it unfolds over and over again. Many have called the acting "wooden", but a second viewing of the film would change that opinion; it is, after all, part of the point. Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron's daughter) lights up the screen in an astounding premiere performance as the blind Ivy, Adrien Brody delivers a searing portrayal of longing as the dim-witted Noah and Joaquin Phoenix heightens the moody tone with his strong, silent-type Lucius. "The Village" is about these people, this community living in fear, not the monsters of which they have been warned; it is about the psychology of fear rather than a horrific portrayal of it.

    It must be said that the only thing wrong with "The Village" was the promotion for it. The adverts made it seem like a thrill-ride of Gothic horror, like the scariest film yet to be filmed - and audiences were running in their droves to catch yet another Shyamalan Twist. Instead of investing their emotions in the characters, viewers kept their distance in the knowledge that they would be hoodwinked, that the entire thing was a set-up to catch them out anyway. Wrong as this is, it was ultimately the undoing of the movie; had it been promoted as a thoughtful, stark, moody piece of film-making, then both the critics and the public would have been satisfied.

    This is not a film about The Twist Ending, but about wrapping its beauty around your mind, and the quiet, haunting finale is what helps to keep it there.
  • This movie absolutely blew my mind. I grew up in a small village in Central Illinois. My village is on the map solely because of the Amish community which has established itself in the rural area around the town. "The Village" is reminiscent of all things strived for by the Amish community. Whilst ridiculed by many and misunderstood by most of the rest, the Amish and the community in "The Village" long for the same things: a return to simpler times when the good in life was much more prolific. Although it could be argued that the members of the village have their ideals based upon and rooted in fear, that doesn't differ drastically from many ideals held throughout the world. The negative aspects of our ideals may not be as obvious and spelled-out to us like those of in "The Village," but they remain similar none-the-less. "The Village" is a real thinker's movie and I commend M. Night Shyamalan for another remarkable movie. I can't wait to see what's next.
  • It is very sad to see such a beautiful movie being so underrated, I believe the problem with it is that it was promoted as a horror film, this was a huge mistake because it attracted the wrong audience. Horror film fans won't like this film that's for sure!

    The village is a beautifully directed film, with wonderful cinematography & atmosphere, great performances (I loved Bryce Dallas Howard powerful performance and of course Joaquin Phoenix & Adrian Brody as well) and brilliant story! James Newton Howard's score fits perfectly with the film's atmosphere and is also very powerful & touching.

    As a conclusion.. I believe Shyamalan is a great film maker and the Village is one of his best works, I highly recommend it!
  • I went to see M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" today.

    First things first... I won't even discuss a SINGLE aspect of the plot, here, so you can read this safely. I will say this: If you plan to see the movie, do not read a single review (besides mine!). As with most of Shyamalan's films, the less you know about the plot going in, the better.

    As far as the quality of the film... it is solid. Beautifully directed, well acted, dramatic, scary, sometimes funny, and with some great plot twists. It is not as good as "The Sixth Sense", but it's probably not fair to keep comparing Shyamalan's work to his first big hit, one of the best psychological horror films ever made. A director could work his entire career and never make a SINGLE film as good as "The Sixth Sense", let alone recapture that movie's amazing brilliance.

    But, I hear you asking, is "The Village" better than "Unbreakable" and "Signs" (Shyamalan's second and third films)??? Well, that depends on what you thought of those films. Personally, I'd probably say that it is a better film than those two. At the very least it is more sophisticated, with stronger themes, a much bigger and better cast, and more subtle surprises than in those two films.

    "The Village" continues Shyamalan's pattern of there being twists in the plot, but this time there are SEVERAL of them and they occur sporadically throughout the film... not one big one at the end. You WILL be surprised by the film, but don't expect to be bowled over.

    I would describe this as his most subtle film, and also as more of a character study than a horror film. The characters here are very rich, and their interactions and relationships with one another are very rewarding in big and small ways. The acting is phenomenal, most noticeably by Academy Award winner Adrian Brody and Joaquin Phoenix. But first time actress Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter), William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver all give solid performances as well.

    "The Village" is a character study of how a community and individuals respond under pressure and fear. And while it has elements of horror, I'm not even sure I would describe it as a horror film.

    But don't get me wrong, there are some real scary moments in the film... just don't go in expecting a roller coaster ride. While I was watching it, I kept thinking about some of the better episodes of The Twilight Zone that had a few thrills but left you thinking about human nature more than anything.

    Go see "The Village", but bring someone with you.
  • The film The Village, was quite unfortunately Mal advertised, this being in Greece of course. Instead of showing the ingenuity of the plot and the sort utopia created, it depicts a cheap horror story. This accomplished two very inopportune things. Firstly it attracted quite a unimaginative unintelligent crowd of people, who were, of course, displeased by the outcome of the story. Secondly it didn't allow the more imaginative more interpretive crowd to enjoy the quite complacent plot and Walden Two like utopia ultimately falling apart the sole reason people never left the place was due to their fear of some unknown creature.It was well done, had a good group of productive actors and a very suspenseful plot and deserves better reviews than it is given.
  • The Village is a clever and literate movie. I know it has received a number of negative reviews. However this is to be expected as Mr Shyamalan has had some popular success and is therefore fair game to "critics".

    There is a twist at the end, of course. And if you apply a little thought you can probably work it out. It took my 14 year old son and I 95 minutes to get it! There are some genuine surprises in it, but they are delivered under hand and make you go "ah" rather than "Argh".

    It's essentially a love story, with some great performances, especially from Bryce Howard.

    Watch it and enjoy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've just watched the movie for the first time and I have a confession.

    I knew there were a lot of people who didn't like this film. I knew there was going to be a twist at the end.

    What I didn't know that I would spoil the film for myself.

    I had completely forgotten about the supposed year of 1897 shown at the start, so while I was watching the rest of the film I tried to work out the twist based on how the village related to the present-day. My very first suspicion was that the village was some sort of sociological experiment that kept a community living as if was the 18th or 19th century. I wasn't too far off. The revelation that it was 2004 failed to shock me (I thought it was the present-day all along not because I actually worked it out but because I had no reason to believe otherwise).

    When I found out about the tombstone's date all I could think was, "What was the need for giving us that information?" It would have made no difference if we didn't know it was 1897 and it slightly devalued the film. It was a bare-faced lie to fool us. But because fate allowed me to ignore the lie, I am not angry. It shows our friend Shymalan made a huge error. What if there are others who have perhaps missed the opening minute? As an experiment, show this film to someone (with some degree of intelligence) who hasn't watched it before, but from after the funeral scene. I bet they won't find the it's-2004-twist surprising.

    For me this film was about innocence lost and going to great lengths to regain it. It was an extreme thing to do, but understandable. Adrien Brody's character harboured the two sides of every human in their extremes - the completely innocent and the insanely violent.

    The connotations become more and more obvious as you think about the film, which in the end is a very entertaining commentary on the modern-day world.

    Despite everything, a very good movie.
  • It's not what you think it is. It's not horrific. It's not gory. It is however a very well written and played thriller drama, with a fantastic love story woven into it to keep it from getting overbearing.

    I've seen the 6th Sense and thought it was fantastic, and passed on Signs because I'd already been sick of alien movies by then, though it looks like I should see it.

    I went into this film without preconceptions about M. Night Shyamalan or his previous work. I wanted to see a good scary movie. Good it was. Scary it was less. Don't go into it expecting to get horrified, and you won't leave the movie upset about it.

    I liked this movie a lot, largely because it caught me by surprise at many points. It's too easy to spoil the movie if I mention why though, so I'll just say you have to see it for yourself.

    The acting, particularly by Bryce Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, and William Hurt, was played well with the right subtlety and nuance to make the characters believable.

    Howard's role as the smart, emotionally strong tomboy who also happens to be blind was played with an understanding you don't often see in a period role. She was Ivy, and she was living in the late 19th century. She showed an innocence that she could only have gotten away with in this character, and she played it like the time was hers.

    There was no doubt of who she was. She conveyed the strength (both her real strength and that which she exuded with a feminine machismo) of her character very well, but never pushing it over the top. She never shouted an emotion; she whispered it, but it was loud and clear. When she spoke about love and fear, you felt it. When she cried she wasn't hamming it up; she exuded grief from eyes, face, and body. She was brilliant, and I can't wait to see her on screen again. She also happens to be incredibly beautiful. Did that cloud my judgment? Go see the movie.

    Phoenix continues to upstage his previous roles in every movie I've seen him in. His expressions are classic. The theater laughed more from his modest look of confusion in one scene than I've heard at the last 3 comedies I've watched. He was being more serious than ever, but the comedy of his emotions, however brief, was transmitted perfectly through his stone cold face, only barely showing what he felt inside, but saying everything. Throughout the movie, he was quiet, thoughtful, brave, and pure of spirit, and he said it all in so few words. When he spoke of emotion, it had a power that gripped me. The lines he delivered, though incredibly well written, were meant for him.

    Shyamalan's dialogue helped, in that it was rarely obtrusive when spoken by these actors.

    About the story: It twists in ways few could imagine. That makes it a bit upsetting. Expect to be let down a little. If you're not looking for gory horror, then you might just love it. When it's not changing directions though it's fantastic in it's subtleties. I can't avoid that word because it applies well to how Shyamalan put this together.

    I don't buy many movies, but I will be purchasing this when it comes out on DVD.
  • Not saying that Horror movies can't have good stories but this movie felt less like the whole point was simply to scare you. I found the characters to be very unique especially Lucius and Ivy, the main characters, as well as the elders of the village and Noah, a mentally challenged man. The acting from Lucius and Ivy (her especially) was superb and I think that drove the movie forward even when there was slow downs in action. Their relationship felt very genuine and was very sweet, especially a scene on their porch. The movie does sort of have the M.Night twists and they are the good kind that make sense and add to the story. I would say there are two main twists and they are both very good. Really excellent movie, highly recommend.
  • Genuinely, best movie I've watched so far. I've watched it at least 50 times.The beautiful script, the brilliant performance of the actors (Joaquin Phoenix and William Hurt specifically) and the whole atmosphere in general, where Shyamalan's tension building works so well - it's perfect in all perspectives. I'm not writing this as an attempt to be objective. I wanted to have a personal review here that added a better score to the movie & a personal view on how this movie has changed me and is now unmistakably my best movie.
  • garywborg1 August 2006
    This is the movie that finally taught me to forever ignore the critics, at least as an undifferentiated mass. What they have to say about this (and other movies of M. Night Shyamalan) is of a piece with the way Pauline Kael used to dismiss Hitchcock movies as fluffy, second-rate thrillers. Or the way logical-positivists dismiss all philosophy. Here's a clue: If you're an MSM movie critic and see and dislike one of this fine director's movies, spare yourself some professional embarrassment and recuse yourself. "The Village" isn't a complicated movie, but it does explore some quite interesting subject matter--what constitutes and sustains a community, what role does the individual play, how do the tensions between individual and community play out and, in that process, how deeply does this interplay challenge and touch our hearts. Touch-feely critics whose critical faculties are formed in our therapy-driven society apparently are just not equipped to see or understand any of this.
  • Movie Nuttball3 March 2005
    The Village is a good film that has a good cast which includes Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Brendan Gleeson, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cherry Jones, Adrien Brody, and M. Night Shyamalan. The acting by all of these actors is very good. The movie is filmed very good. The music is good by James Newton Howard. The film is quite interesting and the movie really keeps you going until the end. This is the most different film Shyamalan has made in My opinion. This is a very good and thrilling film. If you like Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Brendan Gleeson, the rest of the cast in the film, Thrillers, Drama, Horror, M. Night Shyamalan, and interesting films then I strongly recommend you to see this film today!
  • The Village is an excellent movie in all respects, possibly not Shyamalans best, but definitely up there. I really can't imagine why reviewers gave it low scores, I don't know anyone personally that dislikes the movie at all.

    The Village centers around a quaint 19th century village in the middle of nowhere. The inhabitants of the village are relatively happy, despite the constant fear of the horrible creatures in the woods surrounding the village.

    The characters are extremely believable and beautifully crafted. Granted, there is some broken dialogue, and it makes one cringe at one point or another, but it is not common and does not ruin the characterization. Joaquin Phoenix is excellent as usual, as is Bryce Dallas Howard, a new face in the cast of Oscar winning actors.

    The plot is a typical Shyamalan twist fest with a little romance added for good measure. This does not take away from the atmosphere at all, however, and is done very well. There are a couple parts that are quite chilling, but not SCARY per se. I definitely felt a tingle run down my spine a few times. The ending, if it hasn't already been ruined for you or you don't figure it out half way through the movie, will leave you in shock.

    Overall, this is an amazing movie, I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone; you will not be disappointed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I began watching "The Village" with reservations. I thought it would be a basic thriller. After viewing, I was pleased to find the questions it summoned...essentially, is the depiction of the Village a Dystopian or a Utopian society? Interesting elements are contained in the film that lead to an answer. First, what is the motive behind the attack of Noah Percey (the mentally challenged character) on Ivy Walker (the blind girl) in the woods? Was Noah's motive (a) to help Ivy navigate the woods, with his eyesight and experience? (b) to find his playmate and continue to play the games in which they often engaged? (c) or had his madness/jealousy escalated to the point that he was seeking her out to kill her, as he had attempted to kill Luscious, her fiancé? Furthermore, what was the purpose in his adorning the costume, was it (a) to escape the village people, as they were holding his captive for his attempted murder? (b) merely a costume for a game? (c) did he become a true creature of the woods? It is my opinion that the jealousy Noah experienced in hearing the news of Ivy and Luscious's engagement heightened his madness, causing him, first to attempt to kill Luscious, and then to similarly go after Ivy, with the intent also to murder her. Evethough the creatures in the woods were a fictional creation established by the elders to contain their society in the boundaries of the village, a real creature of the woods was created by Noah. Thus, their fictional creation morphed into a reality proving that the village, in fact, is a dystopia. The experiment made by the history professor was unsuccessful in that the society found they still can not escape the tragedy that befalls human beings. Jealousy, madness, and murder are not created by modern society but rather are inherent to the psyche of human beings. These human traits can not be stopped by isolation.

    Interested to hear other perspectives.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Yes, this film was marketed poorly. Yes, the trailers were misguided. But yes, this is also not a very good film.

    The problem is that Night has introduced too many concepts, ideas and sub-plots with not enough time to fully realize any of them. The casting is wonderful; Hurt does his best "intellectual every man", Phoenix is a decently stoic enigma and newcomer Bryce is actually fantastic as the lead. But Sigourney Weaver is given little to do and some difficult, mundane dialogue to act her way through. Brendan Gleeson is inexcusably underused and Adrien Brody seems to have been edited out of any real emotional impact.

    What this film wants to be is a comment on contemporary America - where a group of intellectuals (with the funding of one very wealthy family), disenfranchised with modern street violence and urban decay, could conceivably remove themselves from the modern world and live in the perceived utopia of a rural 19th century. But too many easy answers, tacked on script "quick fixes", and multiple convenient solutions expose the many holes in the film making. It always feels like Night was tacking on justification scenes as the film posed questions instead of having a clear vision at the script stage. I won't go into all of the examples - but there are many (costumes hidden under floorboards, a blind girl, a mentally challenged man who can't expose the truth of the woods, a clearly quick-fix line about someone paying off the government to not fly over the commune, etc). You never get the sense that Brody is in love enough to kill. You never really fear the "woods", you are never really forced to wonder what is in the boxes in the elders' homes, and the creatures should never have been shown (first rule of mis-direction-based suspense!). I'll offer this one question as an example indicative of the other problematic elements: Why - if the "elders" know that it is really not the 1800's, and also know that they are living in a protected area set up by the Walker family - do they make such a fuss about Ivy going for medicine? They know what she will find but not be able to see. Unlike Night's previous films, the mystery is not guarded in a realistic way. He makes these elders seem suspicious and mysterious solely for the benefit of the audience, but there is no real justification for the characters themselves. This is troubling throughout the film and ends up like most badly written suspense films where the twists only trick the viewer but seem ridiculous and improbable if you just deal with the fictional world contained in the film.

    All in all, it's overly-simplistic; the equivalent of the "it was all a dream" device. While I was not disappointed that this film was not the horror thrill ride that the trailers would have you believe, I was disappointed that a clever idea was so badly edited together (it looks like hours of footage was shot, but slashed down to its essential plot points for time) and never realized. It's a shame, it could have been a great film if Night would have stuck to a couple fully developed characters and plot paths and really got us to invest in them.
  • As with M.Night's other movies, I enjoyed this latest outing, especially the performances of the leads. I think the movie suffered in overall response due to a poorly conceived marketing plan.

    The movie was sold as a horror film and fans of that genre went into this with that mindset in place. When the film actually turned out to be a look at how we try and protect those we love from the horrors of the "real world", fans were upset and rightly so. As anyone that has enjoyed M.Night's movies, all is not what it would seem. I think the marketing pushed too hard the horror aspect which created an expectation that was not going to be met.

    I think if you go into this movie expecting another commentary on spiritual and moral themes, you are going to like this. If you are going into this for the scare factor, you are going to be left empty.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    There's been a lot of divided opinion on this film, and I do actually understand why someone may not like it, it's not a horror film so don't go in expecting jumps at every corner and bucket falls of gore, nor is it a stereotypical 19th century thriller, the dialogue is all mixed up with modern-day English and 19th century dialect, but that's because the town is created in the idealistic image of the original designers and people who thought up the idea.

    Like Shutter Island I would argue that this is infinitely better on a second viewing when you see all the subtle hints that all is not conforming to the usual Victorian rural village life. On my first viewing I would only have given this a 6 or 7/10.

    The acting is beautiful and the three main characters played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix and Adrian Brody is quite frankly Oscar worthy. Every shot is very subversive and surprisingly hands play a huge and abnormal part in this, in the forest each branch is snagging forward creakily as if it's a hand and in the scene where Joaquin's character is stabbed the angle the knife goes in and all four of their hands being in shot is unreal and tense. Also, the music by James Newton Howard is actually fantastic and one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard!

    Not all critics and people will love this film, and that's fine as everyone has a different view and I understand why this film may not be liked, read Roger Ebert's scathing review of it for example, and he's certainly no fool.

    10/10: Brilliant, unique and worth two viewings if you've only seen it once
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'The Village' is not the 'scary monster movie' some reviewers wanted it to be. It is a subtle mood-piece, a Hardyesque rustic love-tragedy, a heroic quest, and a fable exploring the use of fear and deceit as tools for social control and manipulation. The 'twists' are, more accurately, keys to the mysteries and apparent anomalies. What is truly disturbing is the conclusion: a chilling 'happy ending' which raises serious moral questions.

    The first scene, the funeral of a child, Daniel Nicholson, tells us it is 1897. Covington is an isolated Pennsylvanian village with its own rituals and customs. It is some sort of pacifist commune run by a council of Elders, reminiscent of the Amish, Mennonites and Shakers, or - given the prominence of women - of 19C progressive experiments such as Brook Farm. But the idyll is precarious: in the surrounding forest there are mysterious Creatures which the villagers placate with animal sacrifices and other rituals. Everyone has to stay within the village bounds; the colour red is forbidden, while yellow offers protection. When the truce between the Creatures and the villagers is broken, livestock are found skinned and doors are marked with red.

    Against this 'Little House in Sleepy Hollow' folksy/Gothic background, a touching romance develops between shy, hard-working Lucius Hunt and Ivy Walker, a lively and indomitable blind girl. There are complications: Ivy's sister Kitty sets her cap at Lucius; Lucius has to overcome his own emotional reticence; and Noah Percy, a waif-like, mentally handicapped youth has a crush on Ivy. It's Thomas Hardy territory: the spirited young heroine; the quiet, stalwart hero; the rival marked for tragedy. (Imagine Giles Winterbourne or Gabriel Oak competing with Abel Whittle for a visually-impaired Elizabeth-Jane!)

    ****Spoiler**** This triangle provokes crisis. Seemingly the last to know of Ivy and Lucius's engagement, Noah - distraught, at the mercy of emotions he cannot articulate - stabs Lucius. His wounds become infected, and his only hope is for someone to cross the boundary, to brave the woods and the Creatures, and bring medicine from 'The Towns' beyond.

    'The Towns' are forbidden territory, regarded as evil, violent, corrupting. We have already begun to learn that Covington village was founded by people fleeing 'The Towns': the Elders (including the parents of the young protagonists) had all lost family members, and sought to build a peaceful life. They are oath-bound never to return. Earlier, after the death of Daniel Nicholson, Lucius had himself contemplated making the dangerous journey for medical supplies, to prevent other children dying. Now it is Ivy, determined to save her beloved, who sets out on the quest. Her blindness is regarded as an advantage, in that she will not see, and thus not be tempted, by the world beyond the wood - if she can complete the journey.

    We are now in the world of folktale: the valiant young girl travelling through the forest in her hooded cape (in this case yellow!), to bring back potions for her lover. But on the way there are several important revelations for us and for Ivy. We learn more of the Elders: of the society which they have fled, and that which they have created. We discover the true nature of the Creatures which manipulate and intimidate the villagers. And when Ivy does reach help, we see what she cannot - what really lies beyond the woods.

    Bryce Dallas Howard is splendid as Ivy, a strong-willed and endearing young heroine. Adrien Brody is heartbreaking as the desperately vulnerable Noah: despite the harm he causes (which rebounds on himself), this viewer ended up clinging to a slender thread of hope on his behalf. I was less certain of Joaquin Phoenix's Lucius. He's likable enough, and I was certainly rooting for him to pull through, but 'strong and silent' can veer dangerously close to 'inexpressive and wooden': Joaquin is generally better in more demonstrative roles. Perhaps he and Adrien should have swapped roles? Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt, as Alice Hunt and Edward Walker, sensitively convey a tentative relationship, within the constraints of late 19C rural puritanism (he is married). Brendan Gleeson is also good as the bereaved Nicholson. Both music and photography are superbly atmospheric.

    Like most fairytale quests, Ivy's is a success. But to describe the ending as 'happy' would be misleading. It is *disturbing*. The Elders, especially Ivy's father, are still determined to cling to their deceptions. The most frightening moment in the film comes when Walker asks a couple to allow their child's (presumed) death to be co-opted to reinforce the community myth. The real monsters are in the village itself, not the forest: still-traumatised, manipulative adults, who claim to be acting for the good of others - to the cost of the most vulnerable.

    Some have interpreted the film as a parable about the US government's use of terror-threats to create a climate of fear in the present, or about its own nationalist mythology. It may also allude to affluent 'white flight' and gated communities (the all-white composition of the village is, I suspect, deliberate). But the deeper themes are international, generically human. Organised religions have used myth and legend as instruments of intimidation and social repression. Yes, urban life is sometimes insecure and haunted by fear of crime, but is a retreat into a simple rural life the answer? Nostalgia for an 'innocent' past can be dangerous (children killed or handicapped by treatable illnesses). But perhaps there is hope for the future, when courage and love such as Ivy's can prevail.
  • When we go to the movies, we have certain expectations in mind. These expectations are increased when one attends a Shyamalan film. He is known for his intricate plots, mind blowing twists, and thrillingly suspenseful style. His newest feat, "The Village" more than lived up to his reputation.

    This is the kind of film that will make you gasp, scream, and jump from your seats while also making you think, which is rare with today's movies. The viewer is never quite sure what will be around the corner and that is what makes this movie so great.

    All of Shyamalan's movies (ie. "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable," and "Signs") have a certain mysterious essence that makes them stand out from other suspenseful films. He makes the audience feel many emotions besides fear, in fact, the presence of so many emotions in The Village adds to its quality. He manages to weave a romance into his story, thus making the audience truly feel for his characters. His films tend to have in underlying them, whether it be hope, courage, faith, or in this case love, and that is what makes his work so superb. Go to this movie expecting to feel fear, and every emotion in between.
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