I remember when this film’s trailers came out, I was pretty eager to see it. It looked like an interesting film. However, it was around this time that Shyamalan started rubbing folks the wrong way. I heard some really negative things about the film and ended up missing it. But it popped up on Netflix download and I figured, what the hell, why not give it a shot.
In a small, secluded village in Pennsylvania a community struggles to survive, not just against the powers of nature and fact that they are using 19th century technology – but there is something in the forest that holds them in terror. The elders of the village lead by Edward Walker (William Hurt) have a set of rituals and rules that the village must follow if they are to survive. This includes never using the color red.
In this village Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) discovers secrets buried in the hearts of these rituals. He begins to suspect that the elders aren’t telling the people the whole story. His friend, the lovely but blind Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) cares for him a great deal, even if he is the black sheep of the village. Her kindness has won the heart of a mentally disturbed man named Noah (Adrien Brody) who appears to have encountered the creatures in the forest, and lived to tell the tale (in his own unique way). These three will find themselves forced to face the darkness beyond The Village and either bring hope to their community or destroy it forever.
- A visually gorgeous film with excellent cinematography by Roger Deakins
- The score by James Netwon Howard is haunting and effective
- A solid premise and interesting take on the hero’s journey
- Stilted dialogue ends up hurting performances and deliveries
- The twist ending will land with a thud for some viewers
- The slow pace will not work for some folks
An interesting movie that nearly works, but ends up stumbling a bit by the end. Shyamalan is one of those directors who does great work with visuals, but needs to work with a screenwriter to get dialogue and flow hammered out. Performances seem stiff and stilted at times, but I believe it is the odd dialogue and phrasing. I understand that is supposed to be archaic sounding, but it just doesn’t work. If you can get past that, you’ll find film with wonderful visuals, a lovely score (with excellent violin work by Hilary Hahn) and one of the few times in a Hollywood film of the era where a woman takes on the classic hero’s journey.
Scores (out of 5)
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