Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


The 6th Sense. Unbreakable. Signs. The Village.
And now ...

Lady in the Water

These are all of M. Night Shyamalans films and they all revolve around one central theme - purpose. Having a purpose, finding your purpose, what is your reason for being here. Lady in the Water is a simpler, more straight-forward delivery of the same; its almost as though he dumbed this one down for the people who didn't get The Village.

M. Night is one my favorites, I think he's found his purpose and will continue to create immaginative screenplays and produce and direct them into awesome film. I've always liked the purpose theme since it is wide enough for everyone to be able to relate. I've also really liked the plot loop-back that he writes into most of his films; toward the end of his films, the intricate plot you thought was reality is blown to smithereens by a larger, cleverly architected story. The use of color, mostly red, to denote intense emotions always makes the viewing somewhat of puzzle. But his strongest gift is to give the audience a few shadowy frames of substance then let their own immagination take over to create a powerful psychological thriller. Its almost Hitchcock.

The trademark color symbolism and loop-back script are gone from Lady in the Water but making use of the audience's immagination is pulled squarely into the foreground.

Overall I liked it and the big screen definitely works better for M. Night films.

Paul Giamatti was freaking brilliant in this film; from the very believable stammering to the heart-felt monologue at the end, he was genuine and personable. I think his great acting ability helps to bridge the huge suspension of disbelief.

M. Night generally makes a small appearance in each film but this time his role is pivotal. His character, like the others, learns his purpose, but the reality of his fate is both blessing and curse. He could change his actions and attempt a different fate but he decides fulfilling his purpose in life is worth whatever liabilty it incurs.

Even though I liked this one, I believe critics are going to rip him a new one for several reasons: 1) Its too long, some scenes definitely needed trimming. It would have made a great 85 minute film 2) the loop-back plot is missing, making this one linear and taking away some dimension 3) no color, the film is shot in color yet its largely shadows and reflections. 4) Too many characters, I liked the Korean chick and her mom but the stoner-guild could have been whacked.



Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

I've got to go see Opie's little girl. The critics are, as you said, already ripping it apart.

11:45 PM

Blogger Jim said...

She's convincing but overshadowed by Giamatti. Its a shame but people aren't likely to get this one.

7:25 AM

Blogger suzy said...

I enjoyed The Village, I am going to see this one too! I was browsing at a bookstore and came across the book, a large format picture book for kids. It is a bed time story he told his children. Perhaps that is why it is so straight forward.

12:04 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Suzy, it is a bedtime story come to life in a very unassuming setting with people who do not know beforehand of their roles in the tale.

Quite interesting to see them discover their parts in the mission.

7:58 AM

Blogger El Güero said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this one.

9:35 PM

Blogger john said...

I was thinking of seeing this, but after getting burned buy The Village (sorry, I didn't care for it overall, and it had SUCH potential!)Maybe I'll just wait and rent it.

9:39 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Guero - its really very entertaining, enlightening even.

10:09 PM

Blogger Jim said...

John, cant blame you and you know it will be on DVD in a month.

The Village was a different kind of film for M Night, I think it threw people off since they were expecting a format similar to the others.

10:12 PM

Blogger The Persian said...

I can't wait to see this, the critics didn't in fact like it (as you predicted) but still, there is something about his films that draw me in.


5:23 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Jim! Glad you have returned :)

6:25 AM

Blogger ScottyFerguson said...

Jim THE VILLAGE was not what I expected. A Scooby Doo plot. I expect more than a Richard Matheson-esque script from someone who can get films made with a large budget. It turned me off to his films but, I will give this one a chance.

8:47 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Scotty, you have returned from Vampiria! My guess is if you didnt like The Village you will not like LITW, but who knows?

9:08 PM


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