Night Shyamalan | Starring:
Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin
| Runtime: 106m
| Rating (out of 5):
||I feel like a giant
loser. I can't figure out how I feel about this film--at all. It has
more problems than I care to list. They aren't small problems, either.
They aren't things I can overlook. It's not as if Mel Gibson's collar
is buttoned in one shot and then unbuttoned in the next. It's not
like a six-shooter fires off seven bullets. It's not as if I can hear
the faint hint of an Australian accent peaking through the faux Pennsylvania
drawl adopted by Mr. Gibson. None of these things happened. These
are things that I can live with. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone
is human. No, the problems with this film are way more deep-seated.
They are flaws with the logic and plot of the film. We are told certain
things during the movie. These are things that Mr. Shyamalan purposely
included in his script. They are things he wanted us to know. They
are there for a reason (or so one would hope). And then he goes and
contradicts himself. If he hadn't included these facts, things would
have been fine. If characters didn't suddenly disappear when they
should be around. If the plot made any logical sense whatsoever...
If M. Night's message wasn't completely garbled by the end of the
movie... If he didn't cop out by explaining away what would have been
a really cool ending by using a trite, hackneyed device... This could
have been an awesome movie. And before anybody reading this jumps
down my throat, I understand that this isn't really a movie about
aliens. I understand it's supposed to be a movie about family, love,
faith and blah, blah, blah. It's an excuse, man. Star
Wars wasn't really a movie about war. But trust me, people would
have jumped down Lucas'
throat if he made some of the silly plot moves that Shyamalan made
in Signs. I should just stop now, as I don't want to share
every single problem with this movie. Well, maybe a couple more. This
next thing is not a plot problem, but a poor choice that was made,
and is sort of a spoiler for any of you who haven't seen the film:
why the hell did they feel the need to show the fuckin' alien? Not
only would it have been much scarier never to see the whole thing,
but it looked like the Calibos dude hanging out in the swamp in Clash
of the Titans. It was like watching an old episode of Davey
and Goliath. It was completely unnecessary. It almost ruined the
whole thing, the way the stupid Tom
Hanks shaky-hand did in Saving
Private Ryan. All I ask is that writers read through their scripts
a few times to make sure everything makes sense and is consistent.
Sloppiness is insulting to moviegoers, especially from a person like
M. Night who sells himself as a highbrow kind of guy. Despite ALL
of this, I enjoyed the movie. Sometimes I am hardest on the ones I
like the most. M. Night's direction is like no other. His pacing is
slow and deliberate. His dialogue is intelligent and thoughtful. Is
it how real people (especially children) talk? Not really. Read a
book lately? Nobody talks realistically in books either. He manages
to make his films feel literary. That's what it is! That's his secret.
I figured it out. He makes literary films. They are paced like books.
They unfold like books. People talk as if they are in books. He gives
you those little moments of silence that you'd have when reading a
book to absorb what you've just read--maybe a moment to rub your eyes
or turn a stubborn page. Despite all the problems, I left the theater
feeling like I just read a good book. I know this is the most confounding
review I've ever written, but that's Mr. Hipster for you. [movie theater]
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This much ignorance
about literature can only lead to hurt feelings and a whole lot of
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