Movies: The Village (2004)

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by Tom Johnson

Two words: “yawn” and “sigh.”

Could there be any more plot holes in this story? Of course, I can’t really relate the story in order to display those holes so as not to destroy what little surprise this movie has in store. In short, I saw it coming after 20 minutes of the movie. If you’re paying attention, you will too.

The story, real quick-like, what I can reveal: strange creatures of the woods surrounding a small town prevent the townsfolk from leaving or interacting with the rest of the world. The town and the creatures have an agreement – we don’t bother you, you don’t bother us. But that truce is broken one night and the creatures begin showing their anger to the town’s folk by cutting up their livestock and painting their doors with the dread color red. The kind, quiet Lucius begs to go to the towns outside the woods to fecth badly needed medicine, but is repeatedly turned down. In the meantime, blind Ivy and Lucius fall in love.

A tragedy occurs (which cannot be revealed in order to not give away one of the few really good moments of the story) and Ivy is forced to make the journey Lucius wished to make. In between there is that whole twist thing and when revealed it’s just about as exciting as this review makes it sound: not very.

What a waste of some fanstastic actors, reading stiff dialogue like they were still practicing it. I don’t care what time-period M Night was trying to evoke, no one has ever talked that stiffly in any time period. The feeling I immediately got was that these were just people play-acting to pass the time between meaty roles. Ron Howard’s daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, however, stuns with an evocative, emotional display of acting in every scene: It’s just unfortunate she’s wasting her talent here. Hopefully she’ll get enough exposure to find movies that will really display her talent. Adrien Brody also turns in a fantastic performance as the mentally handicapped Noah. Everyone else … well, the term “phoning it in” might be appropriate.

Everything felt forced and unrealistic. The whole thing was just silly. That’s the only word I can use to describe it. And this is unfortunate because it’s intriguing, the story — M Night is just, unfortunately, occupying his and our time with his trademark “twist” endings. If he’d taken away the twist and just let the story breathe and live like it could have, it might have been an amazing movie. As it is, it’s one of the most disappointing movies I’ve seen in a long, long time.

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