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The Village (Widescreen Vista Series) (2004)

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

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Love and Hope in a Postmodern Era.

  • Jan 15, 2005
In THE VILLAGE, the people in a small, rural Pennsylvania town of yesteryear have a pact with creatures who live in the woods surrounding the village. The townspeople stay out of the woods and the creatures stay out of the village. But then the creatures begin appearing in the village. No one knows why. Strange and unusual events occur more frequently until an attempted murder is made upon one of the village's most promising future leaders, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix). In order to save the young man's life, the pact must be broken. A young woman risks everything to save Lucius' life and protect the village.

The acting is full of emotion, yet restrained; realistic and not melodramatic. I especially found the performances of Bryce Dallas Howard as Ivy Walker and Joaquin Phoenix as Lucius Hunt to be especially rewarding. As a bonus the film also has Adrien Brody playing a mentally challenged and psychopathic young man named Noah Percy.

Shyamalan's direction of the images, light, and sound in the movie is first rate. There aren't many directors who can or are willing to get as much depth and emotion from one sound or image as Shyamalan can. A single sound (such as a howl in the woods) or a single image (a figured cloaked in red) creates more of a suspense and chill than any expensive special effect could. Shyamalan has definitely learned from Hitchcock, the person who his work owes the most to. The human imagination is so much more powerful than what can be shown on the screen.

There are many who have complained about the seeming let down of the "twists" in THE VILLAGE. I figured out one of the main twists less than 15 minutes into the movie. Yet, even though I knew what was going to happen, my enjoyment of the movie wasn't lessened at all. In fact, my appreciation for the film increased. THE VILLAGE really isn't a scary film at all, and nor should it be classified as a thriller. Instead, it's a love story and one of the best love stories I've watched in a long time. The love that is shared between Lucius and Ivy is a love that is strong, purposeful, and realistic. In our modern world, we've grown shallow in our ideas of love and even in how we actually love other people. THE VILLAGE is a testament to real love. It shows us what it really means to love another person. In the postmodern, fast food, supersized, commercialized culture in which we live, everything is about me. Love really has very little to do with me, but has everything to do with the other person. That's something we need to hear more and more often. Our hearts have been hijacked and it's time we get them back.

I really enjoyed THE VILLAGE. It's one of the best love stories to come out in a long time. Not only that, but there are a ton of religious and spiritual messages scattered throughout the film. A person could even watch THE VILLAGE as a religious allegory full of Biblical allusions. I'm not sure what Shyamalan's faith is, but I do know that he is making some of the most powerful religious movies today. After tackling the issues of accepting one's identity in THE SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE, exploring the nature of faith in SIGNS, and now examining charity and hope in THE VILLAGE, I am quite curious to see what Christian virtue Shyamalan delves into next.

This DVD edition of THE VILLAGE includes several deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes--including a home movie taken my M. Night Shyamalan, and production photos. I enjoyed watching the featurettes. They augmented my appreciation of the film's artistery.

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More The Village (2004) reviews
review by . November 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Spooky fun
Life in the tiny 19th century village of Covington Woods is idyllic; the townfolk live in harmony, completely isolated from the distant Towns that are feared and never visited. The only problem is the constant threat of the hideous, red monsters that lurk in the woods and send the villagers rushing to their cellars every so often. Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard), the plucky, blind daughter of elder Walker (William Hurt), has fallen in love with strong and shy Luscious (Joaquin Phoenix), son of the Widow …
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
I liked this more than the rest of my family did. They seemed to feel cheated by the ending. I felt like it was inevitable and nicely done.
review by . July 28, 2009
After films such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs became huge successes, M. Night had pretty much established himself.  An article in Newsweek went so far as to name him the next Steven Spielberg.  By now Newsweek is probably denying they ever said that, but they did.  And most of us wanted to truly believe that.  In terms of directing, there's really not much wrong with M. Night.  Truly not.  He usually has good camera work and a good atmosphere about his …
review by . September 09, 2009
   I know that this movie has a lot of bad reviews because many people did not like the ending. But I did. Though I kind of figured out some of it the first time a creature makes its appearance, I had no problem with it.       The acting is first-rate! The movie seems to flow very well. It never seemed to get boring. There is some nice comic relief such as when a group of youths play "chicken" against the creatures by going into the woods and seeing how long …
review by . June 20, 2006
M. Night Shyamalan definitely did himself a disservice in releasing "The Sixth Sense". Brilliant as the film was, its "twist" ending was so powerful that audiences the world over expected nothing less from the talented young director. And so, Shyamalan has been trying with every single outing since to recapture that sense of awe.    Although many have made scathing remarks about the ending of "The Village", it is perhaps his most perfect since "The Sixth Sense"; though by no …
review by . July 31, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great story idea, fantastic ending, fitting atmosphere, great actors...     Cons: ...who had no chemistry. Story needs more "filling"     The Bottom Line: Unfortunately, I nodded, and you probably will too. It's a great story idea, but you'll want to wait for this one on video.     I have been seeing previews for the Village for who knows how long, and have been eagerly awaiting its release in the theatres. Directed, written, and …
review by . January 23, 2005
Nay-say what you will, M. Night Shyamalan is consistent in his apparent mission to encourage his audience to look beyond the obvious to discover aberrant alternatives to the explanation of nature, including humans and their motivations. THE VILLAGE is a very good movie if taken as another chapter in Shyamalan's odyssey. If it doesn't have the shock jolt that his early successful film THE SIXTH SENSE had, then perhaps it is more because we as audience are beginning to understand his take on reality …
review by . January 17, 2005
"The Village" is the latest heaping helping of creepiness served up by M. Night Shyamalan. There are plenty of twists and turns(as expected), and an excellent ending, but the guts of this story run a little thin.    I won't spoil this story for anyone by saying what will happen, but I offer a brief synopsis of what's going on in the film. A small village of people are living in an area surrounded by Covington Woods. As long as they do not cross into the woods, the creatures that …
review by . August 03, 2004
Pros: Good Cast and Setup.     Cons: Bad pacing and absurd finale.      The Bottom Line: A grand premise destroyed by absurdity.     Deep within a lush meadow a thriving community is enjoying a communal dinner following the passing of a young member of the town. The smiles and laughter that emerge from those seated at the table hide that fact that the town lives in perpetual fear of an unspeakable evil.   The towns residents are …
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Even when his trademark twist-ending formula wears worrisomely thin as it does inThe Village, M. Night Shyamalan is a true showman who knows how to serve up a spookfest. He's derailed this time by a howler of a "surprise" lifted almost directly from "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim," an episode ofThe Twilight Zonestarring Cliff Robertson that originally aired in 1961. Even if you're unfamiliar with that Rod Serling scenario, you'll have a good chance of guessing the surprise, which ranks well belowThe Sixth SenseandSignson Shyamalan's shock-o-meter. That leaves you to appreciate Shyamalan's proven strengths, including a sharp eye for fear-laden compositions, a general sense of unease, delicate handling of fine actors (alas, most of them wasted here, save for Bryce Dallas Howard in a promising debut), and the cautious concealment of his ruse, which in this case involves a 19th-century village that maintains an anxious truce with dreadful creatures that live in the forbidden woods nearby. Will any of this take anyone by genuine surprise? That seems unlikely, since Emperor Shyamalan has clearly lost his clothes inThe Village, but it's nice to have him around to scare us, even if he doesn't always succeed.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: M. Night Shyamalan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Touchstone
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