The Village (2004)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Switches things up.

I know you guys remember the legend of M. Night Shyamalan – back when he was good – a rising name in the world of great directors. Not only directors, but writers alike…people were starting to call him the new Hitchcock – which was huge praise. People expected a lot from his unique view on filmmaking. So it’s really no wonder why The Village is quite possibly his best movie when it comes to casting. Have you seen this thing recently? The cast is really impressive, names I not only forgot were on there, but was pleasantly excited to see them – like Jesse Eisenberg – whose role is completely unimportant and barely even there – but it’s Jesse Eisenberg! Anyways, I do like this movie more than most, and I’ll try my best to explain why.

The Village is about – surprise, surprise – a village set in the late 19th century. Filled with residents who have really made a nice life for themselves, apart from the fact that the entire town is stalked and threatened by mysterious creatures that live in the woods surrounding the village. Basically, the townsfolk and the creatures have some sort of agreement not to cross the border and everyone is safe. That is…until things change. Someone breaks the code and crosses the threshold, sending havoc and death among the people of the village, threatening their very limited existence.

Alrighty – so a lot of people have a problem with this movie. In fact, this is really where people began to lose faith in Shyamalan. Not completely though, that’s what Lady in the Water ultimately did – but it started here…why? Easy answer, people had huge expectations from Shyamalan at this point – and expected to see the same basic thing here. A creepy, scary tale with a huge twist at the end that makes you question your entire experience. While that is somewhat available here – that’s really not what it’s about.

The subplot of the film is really the main focus – or should have been, rather. I’m talking about the love story between Lucas Hunt (Joaquin Pheonix) and Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the entire subliminal commentary about society and culture in general. These two things intertwined were actually quite captivating. The romance in particular, blended with the creepy dark tone of the movie was specifically unique and weirdly welcomed. These two had really, really good chemistry and you start to fall in love with their paring. The thing is…that’s not what the main focus was on primarily when you watch it for the first time.

When you watch this for the first time, you are just paying attention to these…creature things that live in the forest…and when you do that – no, the movie really isn’t that great…but when you focus on the love story, it’s really unlike anything you’ve ever seen before – and you can’t help but respect that. Also, the film has really interesting visuals between the color red and yellow. While everything else is a dull, desaturated color, the reds and yellows were both very vibrant and worked really well against those other, duller colors. Basically – it’s really nice just to look at if nothing else.

Here’s where my main issue comes in: As much as I really like the love story here, and hidden messages – which I do…M. Night. purposefully geared the audience to focus on these creatures because of his past reputation. I understand why, but he put himself into the ditch by doing it. That very decision is what actually started his decline in the movie business, which is really disappointing to me, because I consider myself to be a pretty big fan of his…I still don’t think I can miss his next film – regardless of his current, forgotten position in film. I know he still has it in him, and I await his fame to regain its strength.

The Good:

When you stop watching this film as a horror and start watching it as a dark, but sweet romance…you really appreciate everything the movie is about – because the acting and chemistry from our leading characters is too good to pass up. You love these characters. Who cares about the creatures when you have these two?

The Bad:

The giant misunderstanding about this movie is actually really disappointing – but I do understand where people are coming from – and it is partially Shyamalan’s fault – he did bring it upon himself.

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