Ok, that’s out of the way! I really didn’t love this film, not sure I even liked it… And Stuart is an idiot.
“Why is Stuart an idiot?”, you ask. The idiot turned to me at one point and said “wouldn’t it be cool if…” and then went on and detailed his ideas about the final plot twist! Sure, I had already considered it, and felt it was way too lame to be really the direction the film would take. But that’s not the point. If anyone knows how I feel about behaviour in the cinema, it’s Stu. Anyway, when it turned out he was right (what was Shyamalan thinking??), he turned to me again and made some kind of upbeat grunting noise like Nelson in The Simpsons. Not only did I have to deal with the shock of Shyamalan’s twists (there are two ffs!) being see-through and ridiculous, I had to deal with Adrien Brody sitting next to me.
Anyway, this film is about child abuse. A bunch of cult leaders abuse their kids in the name of protecting innocence. END SPOILERS There, I’ve ruined it. It is not nearly as clever as it thinks – does it provide sharp social commentary? I’m sure Shyamy thinks it does. And when is this guy going to get over ‘the twist’? Ok, so it worked in The Sixth Sense. Big deal. Move on. For the sake of your career as much as anything – you’re becoming known as a one trick pony.
Bryce Dallas Howard is superb. She was brilliant as the heroine of the piece, at times moving, perceptive, courageous. Her performance is wonderful, and surely this girl is destined for great things – even were she not Ron’s daughter! Hurt and Phoenix are also very good. The scene on the porch between Howard and Phoenix is excellent, clearly the most well written segment of the film, and beautifully played. The cinematography is lovely – the village is a beautiful place. The soundtrack was suitably thrilling, formulaic perhaps, but I still jumped when I was supposed to. The editing is not terrible.
With metaphor and imagery, Shyamalan goes way over the top. He chose red as the bad colour? And made the crippled girl the most perceptive and courageous villager? Not in the least impressive.
This is not the worst film to come out this year, but it is really not much chop. If you’re the leader of the Australian chapter of the Shyamalan fan club like Stu, you’d probably love this. For the rest of us, it’s just more of the same. See it for Howard.Rating: