May 23rd: People are Strange

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113. The Village (M. Night Shyamalan, 2004)

What an infuriating film-maker M. Night Shyamalan is. Of the films of his that I’ve seen (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and The Village) there are flashes of beauty that suggest he might be better suited as a cinematographer. He conjures up sumptuous colours and compositions repeatedly in The Village to surround the fantastic cast. He also crafts an interesting premise with a clear direction as to what the reveal or twist will relate to. But this has clearly become the M. Night Shyamalan signature and millstone by this point. He has to have his twist and it comes at the expense of actually telling the story. The Village strikes me as an excellent hour-long film, the likes of which grace the Masters of Horror series, stretched to 90 minutes. I’m unsure if it was internal or external pressures on the man but it seemed at this point that the twist ending might have been written into his studio contract.

Regardless of this The Village is an entertaining distraction that’s easy on the eye but the formula is tired and the execution is a little laboured in stretching the story.