Se Willage

Yesterday night, the BBC showed The Village, by M. Night Shyamalan. I’ve been somewhat curious about the movie, because I’ve been told it’s fairly good, and because of our honeymoon. Yes, that needs some explaining, but it’s really simple: we spent our honeymoon in Vienna, around the time the movie got into the cinemas there. Unfortunately that meant lots of TV adverts for the movie, in which the voice-over had an unfortunately strong German accent, constantly pronouncing the title “se willage”. Oh well.

Either way, here’s a short note on the movie: not worth it more than once.

If you haven’t seen it, there’s not much I can tell about it. It’s got a fairly good story, with a few twists that would be spoilt if I explained more. For the story alone, it’s worth sitting through once, I think. And when I say story, I really mean the concept behind the actual plot — it shows something about very human hopes and fears.

It’s also a decently good movie in terms of imagery. Colours, while blatantly used, are used to enhance the moods. There’s a lot of attention to detail in the props, giving everything a fairly authentic feel. And the camerawork can’t really be criticized either.

The sad things, the painful things that make it so hard to sit through the movie, are the acting and the dialogues. Saying both are steeped in pathos is probably not strong enough.

Remember (I do!) the way Elijah Wood acted out his role in The Lord of the Rings? Most of what I remember is him staring teary-eyed into the camera (or into the distance), one hand either grasping the ring around his neck, or holding it out on his outstretched palm. Any moment you expect him to burst into tears.

The acting in “The Village” is like that all over the place, just very much overdone. Whether people portray joy, grief, insanity, fear, anger… in almost all cases they overact dramatically (haha, I crack myself up). The best performance is probably by Joaquin Phoenix, who manages to express more emotion with an almost perpetually sullen stare than the other actors together. Doesn’t save the movie though.

And the lines given to the actors aren’t any better. It makes sense, for the viewers more than the characters, to have everyone speak in a relatively archaic fashion. But there’s no excuse for making every line of dialogue fraught with significance. No-one does that in real life, and if they do, they need to be taken to the back yard and put out of their misery.

There are good actors in the movie… given that the dialogue is so over the top, it makes me wonder whether the acting is so bad because the direction is. After all, writer and director are the same person, and I’ve seen some of the actors act well before. If that’s the case, it’s a reason to avoid other movies by the guy… seriously put me off The Happening.

Either way, the fact remains that the concept behind the plot is probably worth watching the movie once; the plot itself isn’t too complex, but good enough, and the rest of the movie is just bearable. Just don’t spend money on it, wait until it’s shown on TV.

  • Shrimpy

    all of movies are similar in the *holy crapola!* at the end moment (or earlier if you are extra smart, but im not hehe) so for sheer enjoyment values, i like them.
    i dont read too into them or anything like that.

    it would be interesting for me to read your reviews of his other movies because the other 2 out so far also have know actors in the major roles too… it would be cool to read your views on that :)

    Shrimpys last blog post… To read or not to read…

    • unwesen

      Well, I haven’t seen other movies of his. But if/when I do, I’ll post something :)

      • unwesen

        … and that was a lie. Sixth Sense I liked very much, though it’s been long enough ago that I saw it, that I can’t really remember enough details to comment more.