Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Film Review: The Village (2004)

The Village (Review)
United States/2004
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...has its fair share of flaws, but it's mostly an enjoyable experience."

The inhabitants of a secluded village are tormented by creatures that roam the surrounding woods.

The Village follows a set of characters in this secluded village. First up, a young man, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), wishes to travel into the forbidden woods to reach other towns for medicine. The elders don't allow it. While he continues to push his idea, Luscious develops his romance with a blind woman, Ivy Elizabeth Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard). I felt the romance in the plot was ineffective for the most part. Anyway, as you'd expect from a M. Night Shyamalan story, the film leads to a surprising ending. I thought it was interesting, but unfulfilling - too much exposition, I don't like how M. Night Shyamalan himself sat and explained it.

I liked The Village. Well, I liked most of The Village. It's an atmospheric and suspenseful horror/mystery film. The little world that is crafted is great. And, it has good buildup and decent characters. The use of the creatures in the woods was also good. I wasn't a big fan of their designs, but they were effective for the plot. I was engaged from beginning to end, too. I did feel myself being pulled away during some of the romance scenes, though, they didn't feel all-that sincere. Aside from the forced chemistry, the ending was a little disappointing, as I already stated.

I think it was mainly because the mystery wasn't as engaging. I mean, there's an ominous sense of mystery here and there, but it doesn't feel like something the audience can participate with -- I didn't feel an urge to pull out a pen and a pad to keep my own notes. This may be because I was more focused on Ivy's character. To be blunt, I had asked myself often during my viewing: is she supposed to be blind? Sometimes she looked blind, other times she looked like she could see everything - looking at specific locations and such. Did she have certain powers? I was sort of confused by the character and some of her actions.

Which brings me to the acting: it's good. Joaquin Phoenix is great, as usual. Sigourney Weaver and Adrien Brody were great, too. Bryce Dallas Howard was questionable. She seems like a fine actress, I think she portrays fear very well, but I simply couldn't believe she was playing a blind person, she didn't nail it. The film is shot very well, it captures the scenes perfectly. The costumes are great, too. The music was superb, especially for the genre. Writer and director M. Night Shyamalan delivers an enjoyable horror/thriller. The film is held back by some filler, a loose mystery, one iffy performance, and strange exposition during the ending -- I still don't know why he needed to explain the ending to the audience.

Overall, The Village is a good film. It has its fair share of flaws, but it's mostly an enjoyable experience. I really liked the immersive world it crafts, and there are quite a few tense scenes here. The revelation, despite the flawed execution, is also very interesting. I also enjoyed the themes of the film. If you're a fan of M. Night Shyamalan, I think you'll enjoy this one -- not his best, but far from his worst.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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