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The Village

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

*Also starring: Sigourney Weaver, Adrien Brody, Bryce Howard, Judy Greer, Michael Pitt, Celia Weston, Liz Stauber, Joanna Reiner, Fran Kranz, Cherry Jones, Brendan Gleeson

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

After his previous big successes (THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE and SIGNS), M. Night Shyamalan shows in THE VILLAGE that he has clearly lost his touch. Slow, silly and stupid, this pretentious picture almost matches DOGVILLE in its ridiculous pomposity. Don't worry about being scared, since the cheesy monsters appear imported from an old Ed Wood movie. And the movie's big "twist" is an easily guessed, huge insult to the viewer's intelligence. Only one small surprise at the end has any payoff, but it is definitely not worth wasting almost two hours of your time to discover it. You'll probably be just as bored and disengaged as our packed audience was. You're more likely to hear groaning and snoring than shrieks of fright while watching this tedious film, which grinds out its clunky lines with painful slowness.

The story, set in the late 1800s, concerns an isolated village. The villagers are trapped by "those we don't speak of," who are attracted by "the bad color," which is red. Wearing "the safe color," which is sort of a golden orange, the villagers go about their daily life, trying their best not to worry about the monsters that live in Covington Woods, which completely surrounds their enclave of houses. A clear line of demarcation separates the village from the deep forest all around it. With torches and watch towers, the villagers somehow manage to keep those unnamed villains away.

Meanwhile back in town, elders share deep thoughts which make little sense but sound really profound. August Nicholson (Brendan Gleeson), one of the elders, for example, tells Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), the bravest lad around, "You may run from sorrow, but sorrow will find you. It can smell you."

As the movie plods along, you'll be hoping that some really mean monsters will appear to eat the wimpy ones on the screen and then will go on to devour the townsfolk as well. But, no such luck. Instead, the movie grinds toward its obvious conclusion. Good luck on staying awake while sitting through this colossal bore.

THE VILLAGE runs a very long 1:50. It is rated PG-13 for "a scene of violence and frightening situations" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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