The Village (2004)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 13

M. Night Shyamalan was one of the hottest young directors working after his debut The Sixth Sense and the Bruce Willis vehicle, Unbreakable. Unfortunately, the reported wunderkind’s work began to take a downward spirals, to the point where they were not even placing his name on the trailers promoting the movie.

Part of the problem was that Shyamalan films started with a couple of epic twists and he became known as a director whose movies will always feature a mind bending twist that makes the movie special. This became expected, and, this became an albatross around Shyamalan’s neck.

The twist completely crushed The Village beneath the banality of the truth of this movie. Any positivity that the film may have built up with its 19th century aesthetic and eerie creatures is undone by the twist ending that Shyamalan presents.

I was astonished by the cast of this movie. As the opening credits flew by, the names of the actors involved in The Village was way more remarkable than I remembered. Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Cherry Jones, Brendan Gleeson, Judy Greer, Celia Weston, Jesse Eisenberg, and Frank Collison was an amazing group.

There are moments in the movie that work well. The relationship between Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) is nicely developed, but some of the oddities of the characters could be developed more. Adrien Brody’s character was ill-defined and felt more like a plot point than anything else.

Boy, does the plot require some stretching and, in the end, has so little reason to it that it destroys the goodwill it may have had. The initial appearance by the creatures from the woods was creepy and they looked good, but the answer to the mystery just was unsatisfying. There could have been a really strong horror film with some adjustments to the story and the elimination of the twist ending, but it was there to the film’s detriment.

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