The Village, Idiot

June 24th, 2005  |  Published in old and busted  |  2 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve typed anything into the file that says “nightly_post.txt” and sits on my desktop. So here’s something quick before returning to radio silence:

We watched “The Village” tonight.

Here’s not a reason I watched it: Because I hadn’t seen it in the theaters and yet had breathlessly demanded the one unfortunate I knew who had gone to see it in a theater to not tell me The Twist and so was plopping down after finding the exact right time to delight in The Twist’s fruition, blissfully ignorant until the very moment that the guy in the… thing that happens that’s all Twisty.

I watched it because I guessed The Twist from watching the trailers and having someone say “So, all these people live in this village that’s, like, in the 19th century…?” and so wanted to see if it was considered awful by reviewers who felt cheated by the ultimate lameness of The Twist or if it was sort of bad, even knowing The Twist six or eight months in advance.

It was sort of bad.

I guess for people who were delighted and surprised in the theaters, it was sort of like a trip to Six Flags: a bit of wanton shrieking, some bad food, a couple of 90 second rides, then the sunburn and groggy ride home. You’re left with a memory of those things that’s more impressionistic than concrete, unless you threw up. That’s usually a concrete memory.

M. Night Shyamalan made “The Sixth Sense” creepy. And “Unbreakable” had some good atmospherics and a sort of wry, self-deprecating disbelief underpinning its story. “Signs” made the unforgivable blunder of showing us the damn aliens and making it so a combination of water and a Louisville Slugger could rid us of them, but it had some creepy moments, too.

The problem is, as much as the puzzle box trick is sort of neat (in at least one of those movies), it’s not necessary (in two of them). So when everything that happens in a movie hangs on the trick, and it springs, and we find to our dismay that the toy really doesn’t work after the first time we use it because the trick juice has leaked out and we can’t put all the pieces back in, the movie has wandered off into the territory of “sucky movie with a gimmick.” And that’s sort of a shame.

There are some awfully nice frames to look at, with some lovely scenery and some simple compositions that are pretty in a “rustic 19th century homes calendar” sort of way. But the movie doesn’t DO ANYTHING except move us toward the unveiling of The Twist. Buying this and putting it on your shelf having seen it once is an exercise best left to recent ex-smokers who need to spend their cigarette money on something before they find themselves down at the Plaid Pantry lingering over a carton of Dorals, wondering how they got there.

Seriously… The Twist is the sine qua non of this movie, and that’s a bad thing.

Comments are closed.

© Michael Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.