The Village: (A Movie Review)
Filmmakers. Don't make movies that make fools out of your characters---all of them. When you do that you show contempt for your characters---all of them. Even if you, filmmakers, protest to the contrary, that you do not have contempt for your own characters, and that, indeed, you have nothing but love for them, honey, your actions on the screen have boldly declared the opposite. You have functionally displayed contempt for said characters for all the world to see---all of them. If you, filmmakers, show contempt for your own characters, why shouldn't we, the viewing public, find them similarly contemptible and therefore unsympathetic?
The only exception, for me, was the young blind woman, whom the village elders sent on a dangerous quest---all by herself. She was extremely brave and heroic. But she was most cruelly used, and I, personally, cannot forgive that.
At the conclusion of the film, when I first saw it at the Cineplex, I was so angry at the movie that I wanted to tear down the movie theater with my bare hands, brick by brick. But that would have been wrong, because it wasn't their fault. It was M. Night Shyamalan's fault.
I say that with regret. I say that as someone who thought The Sixth Sense (1999) was really, really cool (and I still do). I say that as someone who really enjoyed Unbreakable (2000). I have only seen four movies by Mr. Shyamalan: The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, The Village, and After Earth (2013). Two out of four ain't bad.
However, I understand that critical reaction to the rest of Mr. Shyamalan's catalogue[Signs (2002), The Lady in the Water (2006), The Last Airbender (2010), and Devil (2010)], for which he got a producing credit] generally runs from mixed to disapproving. I have to admit, it is not that I can say that The Village is a badly constructed movie; it certainly was not. It was perfectly adequate, as far as that kind of thing goes.
I was going right along with everything, thinking that this was some kind of horror movie. That is until we learned that...
1. Oh no, they are not really living in the seventeenth century but the twenty-first century.
2. Oh no, they are not really living in some unspoiled, undeveloped patch of forest country; but they are, in fact, living inside an American national park with ranger stations all over the place, and yet, somehow, no one seems to notice them.
3. Oh no, their village is not really being menaced by ferocious monsters, who stay just beyond the border of the settlement; but they are just villagers wearing monster costumes.
4. Oh no, the village elders are not really even modern-day backwoods country types with a passion for the Bible and Christianity; they're not Amish or Quakers or anything like that; they're just white, American, upper middle class, white collar professionals, who've had an extreme reaction to their various midlife crises.
5. Oh no, the children of the village---all of them starting from the first generation born in the national park---believe that the fraud is the way the world really is.
6. Oh no, a villager has been badly wounded. He will die unless someone journeys to the outside world to get modern medicines with which to treat him. By the way: How come nobody thought to bring along antibiotics and other things, when they first set up shop in the national park?
7. Oh no, the only one who can make the arduous trek is the blind woman, all by herself, through the woods, somehow evading the 'monsters.'
8. And then, the young blind woman comes out of the woods and just happens to meet a young park rangers, who is instantly smitten with her, sorry about her blindness, and incredulousness at the fact that people are living in the middle of the national park.
9. The young ranger agrees to procure some medicine for her. He goes back to the ranger station and sneakily puts some things into a bag and comes back to the young woman. She 'pays' him with an old pocket watch.
10. She makes it back to the village.
11. Yada, yada, yada
Here, again, is my main complaint about the movie. As far as I could determine, the plot relies on systemic idiocy across the board from almost all characters involved, in order for the thing to hang together. That is all I'm going to say about it. I shall leave it there.
Take care and Thank You so much for reading.
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