The Village (discussion)

I saw this today at the Restaurant Row, and I thought it was a pretty good movie. It was a like a really good episode of Twilight Zone. I’m curious to hear why Mitchell hated this and why Tony loved it.

8 Responses to “The Village (discussion)”


  1. Tony

    I like Shyamalan’s movies because they are “about” something. The Sixth Sense was about work vs. family. Unbreakable was about destiny. Signs was about faith. The Village was about fear. I love the fact that Shyamalan can take a concept or genre and move it beyond the norm.

    I loved the Village because I liked the two main characters. Phoenix’s character is simple and poetic and honest. Howard’s character is fiesty and unrelenting. I love the imagery in the movie, all of the light (like the line of light the night of the wedding). I like the things I didn’t see coming (the stab). I love the dialogue (“the world stands in awe of it” or something like that). Modern-day parable stuff.

  2. Reid

    The Village is about fear in what way? You mean, fear as the principle driving force behind the creation of the village? What do you think the film is a parable about?

    I liked the speech of the characters and the surprises in the film. But I didn’t see very much beyond those suprises.

    (Spoilers)

    I guess, I saw it as mainly an entertaining film, filled with a lot of interesting twists and surprises, but not much more than that. Once Walker reveals the hoax and the audience learns the movie occurs during contemporary times, I don’t think there’s much else there. I almost feel like everything in the filim is set-up for these surprising moments. Lucius and Ivy’s relationship is there to provide motivation for her to go out and get the medicine.

    What does the of Noah mean to you?

    Maybe I’m just not getting the film on a deeper level.

  3. Tony

    Ah, it’s not about depth. I’ve just found that my favorite moments in Shyamalan’s movies are no longer the big “reveal” and “twist” moments.

    I think it deals with fear in many forms. Fear that makes you run. The realization that you cannot escape danger… it follows, always follows. What it takes to overcome fear. How even in the woods, after the lady knows the truth, fear is still quite palpable.

    And then there’s love, when perfected, that drives out all fear.

    Sigh.

  4. Reid

    I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but somehow I don’t feel like the film conveyed fear, ways of overcoming those fears in a fresh or compelling way. It could be that I wasn’t paying close enough attention, too.

  5. Mitchell

    All right.

    Tony has already heard all this, so he’ll probably skip it, but

    (a) I did not hate the movie in its entirety.

    (b) I hated every minute of the movie, except maybe the last ten.

    Explanations:
    (a) The basic idea of the movie was good. I like Richie Cunningham’s daughter, whatever her name is. I was compelled by the story. I found the resolution satisfying. I agree with Tony that there are interesting themes going on here–not just about fear, but about religion and about the whole safety-vs.-liberty thing. I do want to see it again, to see if I can get over

    (b) The language. You know those movies where the story might be interesting as heck, but the film is set in Hawaii and all these so-called locals are speaking some version of Pidgin that sounds like the writers never really heard the language in their lives? Perhaps to the average viewer, the horribly flawed language might not matter, but it’s difficult for a Hawaii resident to take, because it’s SUPPOSED to be Hawaii but it doesn’t SOUND anything like the way people in Hawaii speak.

    That’s what I had to go through, with every spoken line of dialogue in this film. The language was all wrong! There were inconsistencies in grammar, the lexicon was messed up, and almost nothing sounded the way English is supposed to sound, at any point in the history of the language (at least, as far as my own experience with it goes, and while I’m no linguist, I have quite a bit of experience with the breadth of the language from Middle English to Modern English). When you’ve spent your whole life studying the English language, something like this is not only noticable, it’s glaring and it’s impossible to ignore.

    It sounded as if someone who’d read a few Shakespearean plays and perhaps a few Hawthorne stories and a few Henry James essays had sat down and tried to write dialogue in what he thought was early nineteenth-century American English. M. Night Shyamalan is a well-spoken guy, and he pays close attention to details, so I sat in that theater wondering how the heck he could let such lousy writing into this movie.

    Then it turns out that it makes sense! Of course the language is all wrong! It has developed independently of any outside influences, and it seems to have been created by this group of leaders, some of whom MIGHT have been familiar enough with 1800s English to put together some semblance of an imitation of it. Seeing the film again might make it all make sense to me, and I might decide that Shyamalan’s lousy dialect is not incompetence, but a logical, realistic development of the story.

    Still, it’s going to be hard to listen to. When one character refers to the scary things as “Those We Don’t Speak Of,” she uses the contraction “don’t” and it’s THE ONLY TIME IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE THAT THIS CONTRACTION APPEARS. Everyone else in this movie calls them “Those We Do Not Speak Of.” That’s a HUGE inconsistency! I mean, the actual NAME–the thing that everyone in this village calls them is “Those We Do Not Speak Of.” Someone calling them something different is glaringly noticable, yet nobody seems to think it’s unusual!

    I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what everyone thinks about me when I talk about this–that I’m a language snob, and that I can’t allow a movie-director a few errors. But we’re not talking about someone accidentally forgetting to take a watch off in a movie about cavemen, or about seeing the reflection of a cameraman in the window of a department store as the main character strolls past it. We’re talking about the LANGUAGE of the film–the language of a film that basically only gives us language and setting as devices for telling its tale. Because we don’t know anything about this place other than what we see, all we have to go on is the words the characters speak to each other, and if that’s not carefully and thoughtfully put together, how are we supposed to take the film seriously? In my own defense, I saw this movie with seven or eight people, and among us, two noticed the “Those We Don’t Speak Of.” So I am not entirely alone, though it certainly feels like it! Roger Ebert definitely noticed what I noticed–in his review, he comments on the peculiarity of the language and he sorta mocks the way it was put together. But he liked the movie and was able to tolerate the language.

    One of the beautiful things about The Sixth Sense is that it holds up to repeated viewings. In fact, the second time I saw it was much, much better than the first time, since I got to watch the director construct his picture and see how all the pieces fit together as they were being assembled. Perhaps a second viewing of The Village would enhance my experience similarly. But it’s going to be a tough sell.

  6. Reid

    But surely you didn’t think I would this film because of the language thing. So why did you think I would the film?

    I’m also interested in hearing about the way you thought the film dealt with religion and issues like security versus liberty. Personally, I told Grace (who saw the film with me) that I wished they explored concepts of Utopias more in the film. Exploring security versus liberty would have been interesting, too. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the matter.

    Btw, I can understand (to some extent) you getting upset about the language because language is important to you. But I don’t agree with your claim that getting the language correct to the degree that you claim is essential to the success of the film. Are you saying that you can’t enjoy a film unless technical grammar, syntax, inflection, etc. is totally accurate? I understand your annoyance–but to every part of the film except for the last 10 minutes just because one character said, “Those We Don’t Speak Of” seems a bit extreme and snobby.

  7. Mitchell

    I’ll deal with security vs. liberty later, when I don’t have to get up for work in a few hours.

    But as for the language thing, it wasn’t just the “Those We Don’t Speak Of.” That was just one example. The language was bizarrely phoney THROUGHOUT the movie. It was noticable to me from just after the beginning of the film.

    It’s not just that the grammar was technically bad, you see. I could have dealt with that, especially since this was a closed community. The problem is that the grammar was INCONSISTENT. Sentences would sound as if they followed one set of grammatical rules in one scene, and then a completely different set of grammatical rules in another, by the same characters. Reid, the grammar was blatantly inconsistent–it didn’t seem to have any rules at all, and that doesn’t work. The reason the last ten minutes worked for me is those security guards spoke consistently and it at least gave the dialogue a little bit of an anchor.

  8. Reid

    I just didn’t hear the nuances you did. And I actually liked the sound of thelanguage. I felt it sounded like English from early America, but not completely either. That appealed to me, but then again, I didn’t notice the inconsistencies in grammar. Maybe I would have had a problem if the grammar was glaringly inconsistent.

    Also, you now know that the film takes place in modern times, and the language is sort of a mish-mash of older English with modern day English, so that seems a plausible explanation for the inconsistencies.

    Still, is that why you thought I would “hate” the film?

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