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I just got around to watching this one and it turned out being a decent movie. It had a good cast too. I enjoyed the whole concept of the village and reason(s) behind its establishment. One-time watch for me but worth seeing.
@pumpkinheadt, very well said. I think as this was released just two years after Signs, and following the acclaimed The Sixth Sense, the general public was expecting a much faster pace and bigger *bang* out of this one. Personally, I found the story line intriguing and I enjoyed the pace of the film. I would have watched it just for Joaquin Phoenix, but was treated to Bryce Dallas Howard's commanding performance.
This one got horrible reviews (Roger Ebert, whose reviews I usually adore, gave it 1 out of 4 stars, ouch!), but I'm so glad I took the time to watch it. Not as brilliant as Signs or Sixth Sense, but some lovely performances, a gorgeous soundtrack, and M. Night Shyamalan's patented moody storyline. I think it's a love-it-or-hate-it sort of film. I loved it. 9/10
this movie was a disappointment, i don't think i've watched an m. night shamalan movie since.
July hasn't been a good month for the movies.

After DC Comic fans wouldn't go see Halle Berry ham it up in a stupid S & M outfit and thus, witnessing the apocalyptic catastrophe, "Catwoman" rightfully crash and burn at the box office (a pathetic 3rd Place opening with $17 Mil, finishing behind the tepid "I, Robot", a film that opened the week before it), "The Village" is a damn good breath of fresh air.

I did something before seeing this movie that I don't normally do: I read just about every critic's review of the film. I hate doing that for several reasons. For one, I always have their thoughts in my head and always find the faults they point out are magnified ten times larger than normal, two, I don't like spending time talking about other critics and three, I don't want to go in with any sort of expectations other than what I saw in the trailers and T.V. spots. I remedy all of this by just reading little quips or by-lines and then wait until I've seen the movie.

If you haven't read the reviews of this film, most have been highly critical of director M. Night Shyamalan who, after doing two weak movies, reloaded and turned out the fantastic ghost story, "The Sixth Sense". Somehow, in all his success, Night set himself up to fail. That film was so good and the twist at the end so mind-blowing, that he couldn't possibly live up to future releases. "Unbreakable" was a wonderful film giving us a glimpse of the mythical "hero's journey" and "Signs", while not very good, was effective in at least building tension before it finally petered out with no payoff.

So now, after you've read all of the above (I told you I hate getting into what critics think), let's turn to "The Village" (opening this weekend).

"We are thankful for the time we have been given," says Edward Walker (William Hurt) in monotone, addressing his people, who are gathered for lunch/dinner at a few long wooden tables. He ends there, seemingly trailing away from what he wanted to say. Already, there is a tense energy in the air. Something isn't right. Before this, one of the townspeople buried their child. Victim, apparently, of a gang of creatures that live in the woods surrounding the isolated and puritanical village-town of Covington, Pennsylvania. Run by a group of "elders" headed mostly by Walker and Alice Hunt (Sigourney Weaver), they inform their people that they do not stray into the woods and the creatures do not go into Covington. Their loud and eerie howls fill the air, causing the townspeople's nerves to be on edge. Only the seemingly-crazed Noah Percy (Adrien Brody in a thankless role) seems to find humor and laughs outloud at the noises coming from the forest beyond...

In response to the town's recent death, Alice's fearless son, Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) announces to the elders that he wants to go into the woods and obtain medicine from a neighboring town. He does so, against their wishes, but is witnessed by one of the creatures to be in their territory. Because of this, all hell breaks loose. The creatures come into town, leaving red marks on every door of every building. Animals are found skinned with twisted necks.

Through all this, Alice addresses the nervous townsfolk, telling them, "we must remain vigilant"...familiar words, especially in light of current world events.

If this isn't enough, Edward's blind daughter, Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) has fallen for Lucius because he shares the same traits she carries. He is brave and he knows how to handle himself. He's also very morose and serious and doesn't speak much. This makes him a poor match for Edward's other daughter, Kitty, who was shot down by Lucius after she (embarrassingly) confessed her love for him. It isn't until another tragedy befalls the town that Ivy takes it upon herself to try and learn the mysteries of the woods by continuing Lucius's quest. In doing so, however, she may unlock something a lot darker and more sinister.

Giving anything else away would be grounds for my arrest, trial, and execution.

This movie is brilliant. It's Shyamalan's finest film since "The Sixth Sense" and exactly what "Signs" should have been: smartly written, incredibly clever, beautifully shot, and actually creepy. There is no gore in this film (save for one scene with Brody, but it's minor) and there shouldn't be any gore. Everyone who was expecting a slasher-film came to the wrong movie...looking at Shyamalan's history, you would think that moviegoers would learn that, but no, they continue to complain.

The only problem I had with the movie was the cardboard acting. Everyone seems to be on auto-pilot as they walk through their lines as if they're going through a cold-reading in rehearsals. The only time this works is with Hurt, who expresses so much through his eyes and facial expressions, Phoenix, who seems like he has a chip on his shoulder and Weaver, who seems to be both tired and worried. The actress who steals the show is Bryce Dallas Howard. As Ivy, she is very much human and has fears and worries like the rest of her neighbors. However, she is also driven and keeps cool mainly because she has the luxury of not having her eyesight.

Like all of Night's other films, this one is also leisurely-paced but there's always that underlying tension that gives the film its wings and because of that, it's not boring. Like Rod Serling before him, Shyamalan retains his skill of stringing you along and then trapping you when you least expect it. Again, I won't spoil the ending, but once it's revealed, you may realize that you are actually a PART of the town of Covington and that thought will haunt you long after you leave the theater.

-- Matt

***1/2 out of ****
The new film from gotta have a twist wonderkid is a mess with ideas. The B movie machinations that once seemed clever now feel like imitations. I still feel that a masterpiece lies within Shyamalan and I eagerly await for him to reveal a twist in his career.

Bottom Line: See it if you gotta but curb your expectations or you're in for a collossal disappointment.
BLAH!!!!
This is the story of an old village, isolated because of mysterious monsters that live in the woods. There is a pact: we don't bug them, they won't bug us. But one day that pact is broken and all hell breaks loose. Shyamalan has his patented trick-ending and although it can't be on par with that of the Sixth Sense, it is still a good one. And yours truly figured it out halfway through the movie! :D

The story is good, the pacing is poor. People will quickly become bored and you need a big attention span for this one. A lot of the shots are masterfully done, especially, M. Night's patented cameo.

Definately not up to par as his other works, but it's still got his style and is still an incredible story.
:rotten: but also alittle :fresh: , not much though. I went tonight to see The Village. Now I have been wanting to see this movie for awhile, so I decided I would take advantage of the midnight showing, and go see it before everyone else did. I had it all figured out 30 minutes into the show. I thought the movie was good, but it was very predictable. I didn't even think the acting was all that good. I did however like the love story Shamalan created. I think this could have been a good movie. There were a few parts that had you on the edge of your seat, but it was nothing special. This was one thing that made me upset, they portrayed this movie as a thriller, and it wasn't. It more of a drama, love story than anything, so this was very misleading. I'm starting to not think Shamalans movies are as good as they first were. Anyway for what it's worth, this was an ok movie, I probably would go see it again.

08-09-04

Ok, I don't normally do this but I thought this needed to be added. I went to watch this movie again tonight, and I must say. that this movie grows on you. I think the acting is good, unlike I said in this earlier review, above. I love this movie, the directing is outstanding. I would go watch this over and over. I think for someone to go and watch this they should watch it as a drama, rather than I thriller, I think it was marketed wrong, it was marketed as a thriller, rather than a love story drama, but when you really think about it, was it marketed wrong?? This is what he wanted to do by creating this movie, he doesn't just make any kind of movie, he creats a movie that is going to make you think, really think. If people out there didn't like it, then they didn't really watch it. Thanks.....


disappointing is all i can say. everything in this movie was good except the story. the acting from phoenix and howard was great (and the only thing that kept me awake), the score was awesome, and the cinematography was gorgeous. but the story...i think shamalama tried too hard with this one. he made things way more complex than they should have been and fell victim to his own devices. he builds up the twist way too much and then it falls flat on its face. i think he needs to return to the basics and give up on his philosophical/ethical musings. this is just barely fresh for me, i'd recommend it as a rental, but only for the above mentioned pros. night all.