Accompanied by James Newton Howard’s droning score and Roger Deakins’ faded photography, the dirgy melodrama trundles along to its inevitable twist – this is an M. Night Scamalan production after all.
Except it’s not a twist. It’s something that one assumes is the case all along, and suggests that Shyamalamalan hasn’t actually heard of the Amish (the irony is that they’d be his ideal audience, having never watched a film before).
Of course, the real twist is that M. isn’t the genius everyone assumed after the success of The Sixth Sense, but a great big sham(alan). He went from maven to moron in just three or four films; a new record, previously held by Quentin Tarantino.
So with an anti-climax to rival Planet of the Apes, what are we left with? An embarrassingly good cast (Brendon Gleeson, Joaquim Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver) making fools of themselves, incongruous close-ups of chairs, and pseudo olde-worlde dialogue like “those we don’t speak of” (it’s “of whom we do not speak”, you home-schooled illiterates) – though the line “we have the magic rocks; they will keep us safe” is my new favourite.
Released in 2004, The Village is a risible excuse for a film, with the most dreary characters since the beige community from Star Trek: Insurrection and the most disastrous attempt at a twist until… well, until Shamalan’s next film.