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The Village (2004)

A movie I’ve been meaning to do a post about for a while is:

The Village (2004)

I absolutely love this film!

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a really good and original drama/mystery/thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense).

M. Night Shyamalan made a huge impact on audiences in 1999 when The Sixth Sense burst onto our screens. It’s a film that’s almost impossible to fault and even harder not to like. He followed it up with several other movies, all commercially successful but not all well received from a critical point of view.

Strangely enough, The Village received mixed reviews on its release which I find crazy considering that in my opinion it’s a masterpiece! I guess people just got tired of Shyamalan’s signature movie twist formula.

If you haven’t seen it, it stars Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator), William Hurt (Lost in Space), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Adrien Brody (The Pianist) and Brendan Gleeson (Braveheart) among others.

This is what it’s about:

“An isolated town lives in fear of unknown monsters from the surrounding woods. But when one from the community is badly injured, a blind girl sets out into the woods to find help from beyond.”

Expectation ruins so many movies. It’s one of the reasons sequels are rarely as good as the originals. No matter how good a film is, if there’s a lot of expectation attached to it it’s doomed to fail.

With M. Night Shyamalan, he set the bar so high with The Sixth Sense that he made it almost impossible for any of his later movies to live up to the same standard. That said, I think Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002) and this one are all fantastic films and each brilliant in their own way - which is more than I can say for The Happening (2008) and The Visit (2015).

Not only is the story brilliant, but the performances from every actor involved are absolutely superb. From Adrien Brody’s mentally challenged Noah Percy, to Bryce Dallas Howard’s blind and adorably innocent yet confident Ivy Walker, the characters are so well written that you invest whole heartedly in the story.

William Hurt adds a tonne of credibility to the film with his scene stealing performance, and the emotional interactions between he and the other actors are utterly convincing. Add to that the totally believable chemistry between Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard and you’d have to be looking for something to pick holes in to criticise this film.

I love it when directors use the same actors in their films and when actors have starred in other movies together (I’m a bit sad like that).

M. Night Shyamalan is obviously a fan of working with the same actors having used Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Glass (2019), Bryce Dallas Howard in this movie and in Lady in the Water (2006), Joaquin Phoenix in Signs and The Village, not to mention Cherry Jones who also appeared in this film and Signs.

After watching this again last week I realised for the first time that both Bryce Dallas Howard and Judy Greer also starred in Jurassic World together as sisters as they do in this movie (am I the only one who finds these little things interesting..?)

As if the film wasn’t good enough with all of that it has a beautiful score by the amazing James Newton Howard.

If you somehow haven’t seen this film and are disillusioned by the unimaginative dross we get fed by Hollywood these days, check out The Village and try to ignore all of the hype I’ve just fed you about it (I’d hate to ruin it for anybody by over-selling it....too late? Soz).

P.S. Look out for a young, pre-Adventureland/Zombieland Jesse Eisenberg...

Seen it? Let me know what you think.

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