I think M. Night Shyamalan is slipping. The problem is that his signature "twist endings" become harder and harder to pull off the more movies he makes. With The Village, Shyamalan seems to have forgotten about making a good movie and just focused on trying to make a surprising ending. What we're left with is a script that presents a number of interesting characters with interesting characteristics about which much is said and never resolved. The central idea is cool, but not cool enough to make it a great--or even particularly good--movie. The acting was pretty hit or miss for me. Joaquin Phoenix was alright and Adrien Brody was pretty good (although several of my theater-type friends found his performance too "actorish"), but William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver were, as usual, terribly flat. Bryce Dallas Howard was probably the best of the cast, but even she was hindered by the incredibly wooden dialogue. Which brings it all back around to the script. By the end of the film, you understand why things are they way they are, but the fact that you don't know for the first three-quarters of the movie makes it just annoying. I kind of hope that Shyamalan can break out of his format and prove that he's not just a one-trick pony, because I'm starting to get bored.
Viewed: 7/30/2004 | Released: 7/25/2004 | Score: C