The Village


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"The film is predictable.  Many people will be knocked on their...shall we say...ear.  But many more will see what's going to happen coming from a mile away."










The Village
The Masked Reviewer

Well.  Here you are.  You've come to read what the Masked Reviewer has to say about The Village.  And why is that?  Because the Masked Reviewer tells you how the movie is without ruining any of the surprise.  Sure, you don't worry about that with Elf or Fahrenheit 9/11 (or The Passion of the Christ, for that matter...we all know how that story ends)...but when it comes to Mr. Surprisey McEnding, M. Night Shyalmama, you come running to the Masked Reviewer.


Of course, the Masked Reviewer has already suggested that there is a twisty surprise in this movie.  Perhaps that's enough to spoil it.  What is it?  What could it be?  Don't worry, the Masked Reviewer won't give it away.  He'll make you beg for it.  And even then, no dice. 

The Masked Reviewer didn't know anything about the movie, except of course that it was directed by M. Night Shamylammy, who you may remember from The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs.  The Masked Reviewer didn't know there was a shocking turn of events, ala Sixth Sense.  But, the plot isn't as shocking as people would have you believe (especially M. Night Slyshamlalam). 

The film is predictable.  Many people will be knocked on their...shall we say...ear.  But many more will see what's going to happen coming from a mile away.  Just knowing that there's a big surprise may be enough to put people on the lookout.  But even if you don't know there's a big surprise (which you know there is now, sorry), an astute viewer will have it all figured out early on. 

That's not to say that it ruins the experience...but M. Night Shahyomamma has put so much emphasis on the twist that if it doesn't pay off, the movie doesn't have much punch left.

So let's start with the worst part of the movie: the dialogue.  What was up with that?  It's supposed to be from a certain time period, an antiquated rural way of speaking.  You've heard it before.  You know what it's supposed to sound like.  This isn't it.  It's stilted and awkward, and M. Night Shamalamadingdong is certainly not very good at capturing the essence of this dialect.  It's awful.  It's distractingly awful.  The problem is that the writing is so bad, none of the actors can say their lines in a way that is at all convincing.  It's halting and doesn't flow, and it doesn't sound like what it's supposed to sound like.  As a result, every actor does their lines in a way that's reminiscent of a third grader reading just ain't right.

The actors themselves are fine.  Joaquin Phoenix (who you may remember as Creepius from Gladiator or the guy with the bat from Signs) is better than the rest.  This could be because his character doesn't say much.  He is able to convey a lot of charisma and character through body language, and he does a good job.  William Hurt is also solid.  Judry Greer ("Arrested Development") provides one of the few laughs in the film.  Sigourney Weaver is okay in the role of Phoenix's character's mother, but don't get your hopes up -- she doesn't do any Alien-style butt-kicking.  Adrien Brody (Academy Award (tm) winner) plays a retarded guy.  He's a good actor (he won an Academy Award(tm), you know) and his portrayal seems to be pretty good, but...somehow it's out of place.  He gets inappropriate laughs, probably because his character is always smiling and drooling on himself (as retarded guys are prone to do).  What, are you getting upset at the retarded guy comments?  How many retarded guys read this website?  There's nothing wrong with retarded guys, but the fact remains that they shouldn't be laughed at, as they kind of are in this film.  Not intentionally, though.  Oh wait, change "retarded guy" to "mentally challenged individual".

The breakout performance comes from Bryce Dallas Howard.  She's a knockout.  There's no nudity, so you won't be seeing her naked, but she is very compelling in her first major feature film role.  That's not to say that her performance isn't flawless, but the flaws again come from writer/director M. Night Shyamalooman.  Her character, Ivy, is blind.  And yet...she seems to get around better than Daredevil (the Marvel superhero who is blind and yet manages to fight crime...he's not handicapped, he's handicapable of kicking your butt!) 

The Masked Reviewer feels an injunction coming from the ADA. 

In any event, her character seems capable of running by trees without getting hit, recognizing by touch things she's never seen before, navigating open terrain she's never been to, and recognizing certain people from a distance.  It's just not believable.  It's easier to believe the ridiculous notions in the film, but The Village breaks down in the mundane details, like the non-blind blind person, or the non-challenged mentally challenged person, or the horrendously fake dialogue, or the decisions that some characters make (like Hurt's) that are just outside the realm of believable. 

If you're a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan, you'll see a lot of his trademark work in this film.  If you loved The Sixth Sense, it's unlikely to surprise you as much.  As a whole, it's much more similar to Signs than anything else he's done.  It will blow some people away, and others will figure everything out quickly; for them, it'd be like seeing The Sixth Sense for the first time if someone told you beforehand what the big kicker ending was.  Because so much hangs on that, you may really like the movie, or really think it's average.  It's got some style and decent actors, though. 

As far as scariness, there are about three scares.  They're all cat-scares, though, with silence broken by a loud noise and something appearing on screen...not as thrilling as one would hope.  Shyamalan does manage to develop a little suspense, but never makes it pay off in a satisfying way. 


Expectation from the Title: The story of where "the people" first met and developed their huge hit about where young men can go to enjoy, and hang out with the boys.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  People in this movie don't use any bad language (unless you count the crap dialogue).

The Pros: Sort of stylish, the shocking ending might shock you, if you don't see it coming.

The Cons: Shocking ending won't shock a lot of people, the dialogue is pathetic, there's a lot of completely unbelievable situations and decisions by characters.  The writer/director's name is too hard to spell and pronounce.

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