the fresh films reviews

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The Village (2004)

Directed by:
M. Night Shyamalan

United States


The Village

100 minutes

Produced by:
M. Night Shyamalan
Written by:
M. Night Shyamalan

Cast includes:


Ivy Elizabeth Walker

Bryce Dallas Howard
Lucius Hunt Joaquin Phoenix
Noah Percy Adrien Brody
Alice Hunt Sigourney Weaver
Edward Walker William Hurt
August Nicholson Brendan Gleeson
Mrs. Clark Cherry Jones -
Kitty Walker Judy Greer -
Finton Coin Michael Pitt -
Vivian Percy Celia Weston -
Tabitha Walker Jayne Atkinson -
Victor Frank Collison -
Jamison Jesse Eisenberg -



M. Night Shyamalan has certainly shaken off any notion one could have of him being a one-hit wonder after he burst onto the scene with The Sixth Sense five years ago. He has established himself as a technically brilliant director whose impressive conceptual universe keeps forming the basis for thematically interesting and aesthetically distinctive films. As with his three previous films, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, his latest, entitled The Village, examines people being faced with phenomena and events they cannot quite comprehend. Thematically, The Village may well be the most original and fascinating of his films to date. It combines a captivating period portrait with agreeable characters and an ever-present, well-preserved mystique. Therefore, it's something of a disappointment to find that said mystique ultimately becomes overfocused and something of a distraction for the film's other elements. Perhaps Shyamalan felt somewhat obliged to substantiate his reputation as the new master of horror. The problem is just that The Village in essence is no horror film. A more patient dramatic intensification of the suspense could have served The Village better. Instead, the suspense curve makes the narrative denouement and pacing somewhat uneven, with an overly abrupt ending which doesn't quite reap the fruits as satisfactorily as one could have hoped for. The first-rate cast of young talents and established actors makes you want to get to know some of these characters even better, not least Edward Walker, played with wonderful immersion and honesty by William Hurt. His monologue to his fellow elders just before the film's major turning point is a great display of acting skills. Young Bryce Dallas Howard is brilliant and shows great promise as his daughter and the film's main protagonist, whereas Adrien Brody, for all his talent, overplays the part of Noah, making a couple of crucial segments if not exactly counter-productive, then at least less forceful. As a concept, The Village arguably started out with just as much potential as The Sixth Sense, but Shyamalan cannot quite reach the same echelons of movie magic this time around.

Copyright 01.09.2004 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
(English version: 28.01.2024 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang)