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stephen_speicher

Shyamalan: The Village, etc.

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M. Night Shyamalan continues to delight me. I long ago stopped reading reviews of movies before going, and based on previous preview trailers at the theater I was expecting a real scary horror sort of movie. I have no liking for horror movies, but I went anyway because it was Shyamalan who I consider to be a brilliant director and writer. I was so delightfully surprised to find a love story wending its way through a fascinating (and a little scary) world that Shyamalan created.

A thoughtful story combined with Shyamalan at his artistic best, along with some first-rate acting, adds yet another excellent movie to the growing Shyamalan list.

For anyone who has seen the movie: I did not notice the acting role that Shyamalan plays in this movie, and his role is uncredited. Does anyone know just where he appeared?

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Wasn't he the boss of the security guard? You only saw his reflextion in the glass.

That was my first thought, but the reflection in the glass door did not look like Shyamalan. And, if I recall properly, we see the hands of the "boss" holding some reading material, and the hands were not dark-skinned as is Shyamalan. I am not sure of this latter but will look for it when I see the movie again.

Incidentally, I thought that that scene, the reflection in the glass door, was exquisite.

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He is the guard behind the desk. I went back and saw it again. If you are looking for him, the hand and back of the neck look darker. The face in the glass looks like him and Areactor is right about the voice.

OR you can wait for the credits and see his name next to "guard behind the desk."

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He is the guard behind the desk. I went back and saw it again. If you are looking for him, the hand and back of the neck look darker. The face in the glass looks like him and Areactor is right about the voice.

Thanks. I'll be looking more carefully when I see it again, tomorrow.

OR you can wait for the credits and see his name next to "guard behind the desk."

I did not stay for the full credits, and yesterday imdb.com listed his role as "uncredited." Today it says "Guard at Desk." Someone there must be reading this forum! :(

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To offer a contrary view: though the directing in this film is beautiful, in every other respect it is one of the worst films I've ever seen. The plot makes no sense--it's not a matter of there being a few plot holes: almost nothing in the plot stands to scrutiny. The suspense is repeatedly ruined by revealing things to us in the wrong order. And, though I don't think Shyamalan knows what he's doing, the film whitewashes some of the most wicked motivations and actions possible to human beings. He condemns certain notions in the film as misguided-but-good-intentioned that are in fact absolutely evil.

It's hard to be specific with criticism of The Village without giving too much away, so I'll leave it at that.

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To offer a contrary view: though the directing in this film is beautiful, in every other respect it is one of the worst films I've ever seen. The plot makes no sense--it's not a matter of there being a few plot holes: almost nothing in the plot stands to scrutiny. The suspense is repeatedly ruined by revealing things to us in the wrong order. And, though I don't think Shyamalan knows what he's doing, the film whitewashes some of the most wicked motivations and actions possible to human beings. He condemns certain notions in the film as misguided-but-good-intentioned that are in fact absolutely evil.

It's hard to be specific with criticism of The Village without giving too much away, so I'll leave it at that.

I also had a number of criticisms of the film, a couple of which you mention--but I did think that the plot makes sense. It's annoying to do the spoiler alert thing, but I would be interested in hearing what doesn't make sense about the plot. I have a couple of things in mind you could be referring to, but I think they can be answered.

I enjoyed the film, even with its flaws--and it had extraordinary potential (which it failed to live up to).

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I agree that it had potential, especially with Shyamalan, an extremely competent director, at the helm. But it would just have to be revamped from the ground up, keeping only loosely the same basic plot premise. Here are some things that don't make sense (major, major spoilers):

The basic motivations and policies of the elders don't make sense. They all have someone they know that is murdered--but how do they decide that the way to avoid murder is to start a completely isolated village? It is never explained how "modern society" or "complexity" or what have you leads to random rape and murder, or why the elders think it does. And the way they go about creating the village is totally arbitrary. Why do they all decide to speak in the passive voice, start bizarre customs like not allowing a younger daughter to marry until the older daughter does, designate certain colors as "safe" and certain colors as "dangerous", and so on? And why were they allowed to bring 10 inch long bowie knives and clothes that they could never make, but not simple medical supplies?

After the one elder decides that it's okay for the girl to leave the village to get medical supplies--why send a blind girl into the forest when any of the elders could go without any danger or fear or risk of their secret being discovered?

And--on a different note, but one that I can't resist--how the hell are we supposed to believe that we are innocent if none of our loved ones are murdered, but if a father listens to the verdict that his daughter is going to be blind for life, knows that there are medical supplies that would help, but chooses not go get them--that somehow represents innocence, or good intentions?! Because the basic ideas of the elders are never explained, this is not just wicked, but totally nonsensical. It is just somehow vaguely supposed to "fit" with the rest of the atmosphere.

(Edited to get the spoilers hidden properly.)

Edited by mattbateman

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I interpreted the movie as the elders attempt to abandon one malevolent universe (which they mistakenly interpreted as such) to replace it with a new one that is unmistakably malevolent. I also agree with the flaws in the plot pointed out by mattbateman.

Even so, I still enjoyed the movie because of Lucius and Ivy's unwillingness to settle for pain suffering. It caused me to make a vague connection with “Anthem” in light of their rebellion.

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He is the guard behind the desk. I went back and saw it again. If you are looking for him, the hand and back of the neck look darker. The face in the glass looks like him and Areactor is right about the voice.

Yes, on second viewing it is clear that that is him. I guess there is only so much detail that one can identify and consider. Whenever I see a really good film again and again, there are always more details and connections to be made.

Shyamalan is such an excellent storyteller. But as much as I enjoyed The Village, my favorite one of his films is Unbreakable.

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I'm not really a Shyamalan fan to be honest, but I liked this movie. For me, his stories always fail to deliver. There's always a terrific opening to the movie, then it goes completely pedestrian in the middle and it relies on a twist at the end to pull the viewer back in. The sixth sense is an example of where it works and in my opinion, unbreakable is an example of where it doesn't, partly because the twist was so predictable and not very exciting. This movie however, had more substance, it's an indicator that he's maturing as a writer and it makes for a much better all round movie than his previous ones, which as I've said already I found to be a bit over stylish and shallow.

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I go to movies for pleasure and not as an exercise in philosophical analysis or cinematic technique. Thus, I usually ignore explicit philosophy -- and even plot holes -- and concentrate on the story and sense of life.

For instance, I know that time travel is metaphysically impossible yet I like many time travel stories. Most of them are really about free will and the difference that choices make in life.

That is why I enjoyed "The Village." On a sense of life level, it is a story about independence and courage in the pursuit of values versus fear, ignorance, faith, and tradition.

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But as much as I enjoyed The Village, my favorite one of his films is Unbreakable.

Me too. A film that requires and rewards patient viewing. I thought it was one of Willis's best performances.

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Me too. A film that requires and rewards patient viewing. I thought it was one of Willis's best performances.

And I thought that Samuel L. Jackson was just incredible in that role. I think that Jackson is one of the finest movie actors around.

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Me too. A film that requires and rewards patient viewing. I thought it was one of Willis's best performances.

And I thought that Samuel L. Jackson was just incredible in that role. I think that Jackson is one of the finest movie actors around.

I absolutely agree. Though many would disagree with my opinion that his best roles are in QT films. :yarr:

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To offer a contrary view: though the directing in this film is beautiful, in every other respect it is one of the worst films I've ever seen. The plot makes no sense--it's not a matter of there being a few plot holes: almost nothing in the plot stands to scrutiny. The suspense is repeatedly ruined by revealing things to us in the wrong order. And, though I don't think Shyamalan knows what he's doing, the film whitewashes some of the most wicked motivations and actions possible to human beings. He condemns certain notions in the film as misguided-but-good-intentioned that are in fact absolutely evil.

It's hard to be specific with criticism of The Village without giving too much away, so I'll leave it at that.

Good- I thought I was going to be the one to have to make this post. I saw the movie and walked out angry. The only part I enjoyed in the movie was when the first girl tried to tell Lucius that she loved him and he just stared at her. The look on his face was just comical. Other than that the movie was a complete dud.

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there are spoilers in here, so if you haven't watched the movie don't read this.

I was very excited about this movie before it even came out, so i naturally imagined about what it might be about, and what the ending would be. Sadly i predicted the 'twist' ending, which made it disappointing. i also predicted that there weren't any monsters at all. i usually like his movies, and The Sixth Sense is still one of my favorites, but i don't like predictability.

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I finally saw The Village, and loved it. I'll echo Stephen's first post in this thread. True, there are some questionable things about the plot--though not nearly as much so as in some other recent movies, such as Spider-Man--but I think the essential thing about this movie is the love story, which is well told, well presented, and well acted. And a pleasure to watch. I think it's basically a good film, and I can forgive its flaws in light of its virtues.

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I go to movies for pleasure and not as an exercise in philosophical analysis or cinematic technique.  Thus, I usually ignore explicit philosophy -- and even plot holes -- and concentrate on the story and sense of life. 

For instance, I know that time travel is metaphysically impossible yet I like many time travel stories.  Most of them are really about free will and the difference that choices make in life.

That is why I enjoyed "The Village."   On a sense of life level, it is a story about independence and courage in the pursuit of values versus fear, ignorance, faith, and tradition.

In a sense I agree with you. Yet there are some items upon examination that I don't quite understand myself.

For example:

You said that you ignore explicit philosophy and even plot holes and concentrate on the story and sense of life.

In a way I am able to isolate those features of a movie that I find compliment my values, and can even focus on them, but never to the exclusion of the plot holes and explicit philosophy. In fact this type of thing only accentuates my displeasure with a movie that could have been otherwise good.

I don't go to see movies much anymore for this very reason. I am often unable to walk away satisfied with the experiance. Imagine that you were to go to a restaruant and order a meal. When you are served your order it looks fantastic. When you take your first bite you discover something isn't right. The main ingrediants all go together well, but the spice they chose doesn't blend with the rest of the meal. I can isolate those tastes for sure, and seperate those aspects which I enjoy from the one that I don't, but that one that I didn't like is still there.

You can't subtract it from the whole meal and experiance only that part of the flavor you liked. When you walk away from the restaruant you will sure be able to tell someone what part you liked or didn't like about it, but the fact remains that as a whole the experiance was displeasurable. All the more distressing when the meal could have been good, should have been good, but it wasn't.

I don't go to a movie or even out for a meal with a mind to analyize and pick it apart under a microscope, but my it is impossible not to evaluate every aspect of what your senses recieve. Believe me, I want to be able to simply enjoy a movie. For the most part however, I can't. If I see something or hear something which does not agree with my values I cannot help but reject it. The more it diverges from my values the more violent the rejection. Compare the meal I spoke of above with some chinese food left out for a couple days. Even if superfically it looks good there is no way to ignore the other attributes. I can no more not taste food than not pay attention to what is presented in a movie.

Now if there is something wrong with my reasoning, please I would like nothing more than to know.

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I go to movies for pleasure and not as an exercise in philosophical analysis or cinematic technique.  Thus, I usually ignore explicit philosophy -- and even plot holes -- and concentrate on the story and sense of life.

You said that you ignore explicit philosophy and even plot holes and concentrate on the story and sense of life.

In a way I am able to isolate those features of a movie that I find compliment my values, and can even focus on them, but never to the exclusion of the plot holes and explicit philosophy.  In fact this type of thing only accentuates my displeasure with a movie that could have been otherwise good.

That's true for me at times too, but I respond to the film as a whole.

Where I find I may differ with other Objectivists is that I don't judge a movie based on a few lines of explicitly philosophical dialog out of context of the whole story. I don't dismiss a movie because one of the villains is a businessman or the hero says a prayer. If the hero invents a wonderful new gizmo, I don't get stuck on the issue of whether it is technically feasible.

In other words, I go along with the story and see where it takes me. (I may or may not like where that is and I may not wait until the end to decide that. I have walked out of movies too.)

AFTER the movie I ask myself what I feel and WHY. I try to identify what it is about the film that causes me to feel that way. In the process I learn a lot about movies -- and about myself.

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AFTER the movie I ask myself what I feel and WHY.  I try to identify what it is about the film that causes me to feel that way.  In the process I learn a lot about movies -- and about myself.

That's exactly what I do.

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AFTER the movie I ask myself what I feel and WHY.  I try to identify what it is about the film that causes me to feel that way.  In the process I learn a lot about movies -- and about myself.

In this way I have gained valuable insights even from terrible movies. So the experiance isn't completly a waste. In the same sense that when I go to a restaurant at the least I learn more about my tastes and whether I will return...

...out of context of the whole story...

:confused:

This is the line that makes all the difference. Upon reflection I see that if I judge some travesty to be out of context and isolated I can ignore it for the duration, if it is intrigal, cannot. That was the distinction I was not making in my previous analysis of the problem.

Thank you!

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