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Touchstone Pictures, 2004, Rated PG-13, 2hrs.
Well, every village has one – an idiot that is – however, The Village had more than its fair share. Actually, call me the village idiot for turning over my hard-earned $10!
Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix)
Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard)
A "marked" house in the village
Now what did we say about going into the forest, Lucius?
A watchtower in the village
This movie was written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, who brought us the movies The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. Producer Scott Rudin also delivered School of Rock, The Hours, and Sleepy Hollow. I guess with this track record a slip up here and there is forgivable, and slip big time is what they did with The Village.
To be fair, the first half of this film actually works. Is set in a sylvan town that is cut off from the rest of the world, by choice. However, after watching these characters for a bit, I would think that they were exiled so that the real world would no longer have to deal with them. The elders of the village decided they needed to move away from the evils of the real world to live a simpler life (couldn't they have just moved to Pennsylvania and become Amish?). We learn early on that "those we don't speak of" love the color red and "won't bother us, if we don't bother them". Well, I for one could have cared less if they came into town and wiped them out.
Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) is forbidden by the town elders to enter into the forest to see why "those we don't speak of" are suddenly attacking the village at night for no apparent reason. Before Lucius can act on his covert plan anyway, Noah (Adrien Brody) comes along and throws a wrench into things. Good thing Brody has already won his Oscar, because from the looks of it there won't be another any time soon.
This film could have gone in a different direction, which would have made it a truly creepy, scary movie. There are a few scares in The Village, but mostly because of the music and the booms that startle you awake.
People say that M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most original filmmakers of our time. Well, we are all familiar with the plot twists in Signs and The Sixth Sense, so time to move on Mr. Shyamalan and surprise us by breaking from the formula that is no longer working for you.
Just so I say something positive about The Village, let me mention Bryce Dallas Howard - yep - Ron Howard's (Opie!) daughter as Ivy Walker. This is her feature debut, and she plays the blind daughter of Edward Walker (William Hurt), a village elder (I'm not even going to discuss Hurt's stale performance and major accent issues), who is in love with Lucius. She almost makes The Village worth watching. She's talented, beautiful, and quite likable. After watching this film for awhile, all I could keep hoping for was that she would come back on the screen.
The thing that upsets me the most about this movie is that I am no longer allowed to pick the movies we see every Friday night!
Do you think we got this movie totally wrong? Agree with us? Or just want everyone to know your thoughts? Then start a discussion of this movie in our forums!
Reviewed by: Boolicious, Special Contributor to Haunted Bay 11/14/2004
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