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The Village (2004)

  Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Adrien Brody, Bryce Dallas Howard, William Hurt, Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver
Links: The Village on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

The Village (2004) is also mentioned in pearly's review of The Forgotten (2004).

"Better than I had imagined" - a review by pearly

Another day, another M. Night Shyamalan film. It's not difficult to figure out that I hated his last one, Signs (2002), and if you extrapolate from there, you'll probably realise that I didn't hold out the highest of hopes for this one either. And, having seen the preview, it really did look quite terrible. Why did I go and see it then? Well, because... shut up, that's why.

In The Village, nestled in a valley surrounded by forest lives a small community of old-fashioned folk - the type of people who, when speaking, use words like "shall", and put the word "not" into their sentences in unusual places, e.g. "let the bad colour not be seen: it attracts them".

The village elders tell the younger ones of the terrible creatures living in the forests - the creatures that they must not speak of. And Shyamalan has clearly been reading some J.K. Rowling, because aside from nearly copying her concept for Lord Voldemort as He Who Must Not Be Named, he's also used the name of Lucius for one of his lead characters. Okay, maybe this is a bit tenuous, but it was enough to get me thinking about it.

Edward (William Hurt) is the father of two headstrong girls, one of which isn't worth mentioning here, and the other of which is the lead character in the film, and is therefore definitely worth mentioning. The latter's name is Ivy. She is played by Bryce Dallas Howard, who is, as of course it must also be mentioned, the daughter of Ron Howard. Bryce said on a recent episode of The Panel that she had never before watched Happy Days. I consider this to be strange in the extreme.

Alice (Sigourney Weaver), like Edward, is a village elder. She is the mother of the rather less headstrong, and rather more quiet and mysterious Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix).

Unfortunately, a Shyamalan film doesn't manage to get the best out of Phoenix, who is an otherwise quite solid actor. For what is supposedly one of the lead roles, he isn't in it all that much either. Adrien Brody, who plays another resident of the village, and one that suffers from some sort of disability, did a lot more with his role, though it was certainly in a different league to his Oscar winning role in The Pianist (2002). The real standout here is Howard, who I really enjoyed watching in her role as the courageous and kindly blind girl who is looked upon as a motherly figure by the rest of the townspeople.

And so, the premise of the film is laid down. A quiet village, some murderous creatures in the surrounding forests who don't think much of the colour red, and some sexual tension between many of the lead characters. And then, there is the usual Shymalist playing out of the story. You can tell from the preview that there's going to be, and that people will be saying "make sure you don't find out what happens before seeing it, cos it'll ruin it", and it would ruin it, too. But I cannot help but think at the point (and even earlier, let's be honest), that Shyamalan has done this already, and that he perhaps needs to move on. Still, while he's making the big bucks, he's probably got no real reason to.

pearly gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 13 Sep 2004

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