Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Premise: A village is threatened by mysterious creatures living in the woods that border them.
What Works: Shyamalan is very good at addressing big issues on a fairly intimate level. The Village has some very powerful and thought provoking ideas about the need to define ourselves by what we are against and the consequences of isolation. Shyamalan is also good at building in reversals–a change in the audience’s expectations–and there are a few in this film. The sleeper performance of this picture is Adrian Brody as Noah Percy. It is a subtle, funny, and tragic performance that may go unnoticed but deserves some recognition.
What Doesn’t: The endings of Shyamalan’s pictures have always caused him the biggest trouble, and that is true in this picture. The lead characters seem to have come to a decision about the future, but it is unclear what that decision is.
Bottom Line: Shyamalan continues to be a director whose work is fascinating to watch. This film is bound to get very polarized reactions, as I observed at the screening I attended. Fans of his work will enjoy this picture and it comes highly recommended.
Afterthought: Early in the picture, Shyamalan shows an ability to write humor and it would be fun to see him try to make a straight comedy.
Episode: #12 (August 1, 2004)