The Village

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Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Released: July 2004
Starring:  Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Bryce Dallas Howard, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson

The Village is my favourite M. Night Shyamalan film ever. I must have watched it at an impressionable time, because I still catch myself daydreaming about it.

It’s about a 19th century village surrounded by woods. It is said that there are dangerous creatures – The Ones We Do Not Speak Of – in the woods who will attack if anyone goes into their territory. The elders of the village are in charge of keeping the rest of the community safe, ensuring nobody wanders into the woods.

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However, when Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes ill, Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) volunteers to brave the woods in order to retrieve medicine from the towns beyond. Plot twist: Ivy is blind (that is definitely not the only plot twist).

Mrs. Clack: How could you have sent her. She is blind.
Ivy’s Father: She is more capable than most in this village. And she is led by love. The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.

Despite being a thriller, The Village is such an honest, romantic and innocent film that delves into the fundamental human connection between lovers Ivy and Lucius. It strips life right back and reveals what is important to people, and how far we would go to save the ones we love.

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The script writing is divine. I’d like to have my house covered in quotes from these characters. I think Shyamalan’s writing overshadows his talent for directing.

Ivy: Sometimes we don’t do things we want to do so that others won’t know we want to do them.

What makes this film spectacular is the music. It really sets it apart from other thrillers. Hilary Hahn is a fantastic violinist and without her solos The Village wouldn’t have that tender and hopeful feel to it. It’s so emotive that it gives me shivers just listening to it on its own:

I would recommend this film to everyone. You don’t have to like thrillers to appreciate the beauty of this movie because the storyline is so pure and touching.

The most beautiful scene is the one below. Ivy proves Lucius’s loyalty and love during a raid on the village by Those Who We Do Not Speak Of. She stands with an out-stretched arm on the porch, knowing Lucius will not let her fall to the monsters who are on the hunt through their village. He saves her, and the use of slow motion and the frantic violins brings tears to my eyes!

At first I didn’t think Bryce Dallas Howard was a convincing blind person. However, after multiple watches, I realised that she can see faint colour and shadows. Which makes more sense.

Ivy: I do long to do boy things. Like that game the boys play at the stump. They put their backs to the woods and see how long they can wait before getting scared. It’s so exciting. I understand you hold the record? It will never be broken they say.
Lucius: It’s just childish games.
It’s a must-watch. If you get bored through the first half, which I hear some people do, please do persist because it’s well worth it.
Jodie’s rating: 8/10
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About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working as a writer in UK. Follow me on Twitter @NZFilmFreak and like my Facebook page NZ Film Freak. Follow my travels around the world www.jodiehart.co.nz
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5 Responses to The Village

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