Without giving away too much, ‘Village’ excels | PostIndependent.com

Without giving away too much, ‘Village’ excels

Summit Correspondent

Plenty of film critics have trashed “The Village,” saying M. Night Shyamalan built a weak foundation of plot and premise.

The assessment held true for Shyamalan’s previous film, “Signs,” but it does not stand up in “The Village.”

Dan warned you against reading my review, but I took pains not to give away much. After a long fight with him, I took even more pains to rework a few sentences while maintaining my assessments. So I think it’s safe to open your ears and eyes now, though if you’re like Dan ” adamant about not reading anything that might give you a clue ” you might want to turn the page now.

“The Village” goes deeper than its creepy trailer. It blends sociology into the outsiders-attack-peaceful-humans thriller.

Rather than rely on gore and aggression, Shyamalan crowds “The Village” with dark implications and contrasts them with bright portrayals of love.

The underlying theme of “The Village” involves the preservation of innocence and its cost. Villagers keep watch and act in certain ways to prevent evil outside of their village from entering, but in doing so, they have created their own fear-based society.

It begs the question: Must people live with fear to maintain innocence, and if so, is that true innocence?

Shyamalan returns to his favorite technique, the use of the color red, to symbolize his deeper message. Only this time, it does not give away secrets to reveal that red symbolizes passion and aggression ” two qualities generally repressed in the simplistic village.

The villagers immediately bury anything red. By fearing the color, they squelch its associative feelings. But the strength of the color and that which it symbolizes cannot be repressed indefinitely, and eventually the village idiot winds up with the “bad color.”

Along with the color red, Shyamalan uses language as a symbol.

The blend of passive sentences and the avoidance of all word contractions build tension in the characters (and in the audience ” I thought the passive voice might make Dan run screaming, seeing it is his pet peeve as a copy editor).

The choice of words constricts the villagers; it is as if shortcuts in language, such as using “can’t” instead of “cannot,” might compel them to blur boundaries and step into the forbidden woods, where Those We Do Not Speak Of lurk. Speaking in an active voice, where subjects act rather than being acted upon, might elevate them from victims to strong individuals.

The movie insists those who have seen it become Those Who Do Not Speak Of It until others have seen it; then it calls for vigorous discussion afterward.

“The Village” acts more like a work of literature ” with deep symbolism and themes ” than a horror flick. It is a movie to deepen into upon subsequent viewings.

Kimberly Nicoletti learned to listen to Dan’s suggestions more than two years ago when he regularly copyedited her stories. After some resistance, she decided to (mostly) listen to him once again. She can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

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