Projections - Movie Reviews

The Village
The Village
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody,
William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson

Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan’s latest foray into strangeness takes place in a village surrounded by deep and scary woods.

The Villagers who live there speak a language similar to the Amish and dress in late 1800's garb. In the opening scenes the Villagers are farming, baking or gathering at large tables outside, no matter the severity of the weather to eat as one huge family.

The Villagers never set foot in the forest, they fear creatures that inhabit the woods and call them, “Those We Do Not Speak Of.” It seems that the Villagers and the Creatures have a long standing truce where neither intrudes on the other.

But just to make sure, the parameter of the Village is guarded by watch towers and flames burn all night to light the boundary. If anyone glimpses anything out of the ordinary, an alarm is rung and the people run to their houses to hide under trap doors in the cellars.

A group of elders lead the Villagers. This somber group has a number of rules that must be obeyed to survive. The color red is forbidden as it attracts the Creatures, no one must step foot into the woods at any time, and all mist hide when the bell is rung.

The leader of the elders in Edward Walker (William Hurt). He’s a kind and sober man, who has two daughters. One of them, Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard - Ron Howard’s daughter), is terrific as a blind girl who is in love with shy and honorable Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix).

Some of the other Villagers are Adrien Brody as the village idiot and Sigourney Weaver as Lucius’ mother.

For some reason, the Creatures who had been happy just growling and breaking branches from afar, become more aggressive and the Villagers have to deal with them.

Shyamalan, is a master of intrigue. He brings to life unusual stories, adds interesting characters and loves to surprise the audience. I’m a fan of his creativeness, but one criticism is that both here and in Mel Gibson’s Signs, the look of the creatures disappoints.

Despite this one flaw, I was captured by the involving tale and the wonderful performance by Howard.

The Village

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