The Village (2004) starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Brendan Gleeson, Cherry Jones directed by M. Night Shyamalan Movie Review

The Village (2004)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Bryce Dallas Howard as Ivy Walker in The Village (2004)

The Village of Shame

For me "The Village" is a one watch wonder because its effectiveness comes from a twist and once you know that twist the movie is not so good. But whilst M. Night Shyamalan did this with "The Sixth Sense" he made that a thriller which you wanted to watch again and understand what you missed where as "The Village" doesn't need to be watched again. And for me that is a shame because the first time I saw "The Village" I was impressed but subsequent viewings have left me bored.

In an isolated village in the middle of a forest lives a small population who have a pact with the creatures living in the surrounding forest. The pact means harmony and that no one will want to go through the forbidden forests to see what is outside. That is until one day Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix - Gladiator) declares his desire to leave to bring back medicine from other villages, it is the start of a chain of events which sees Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard - Terminator Salvation), the blind daughter of Elder Edward Walker (William Hurt) being allowed to leave in order to save the live of her loved one.

Joaquin Phoenix as Lucius Hunt in The Village (2004)

So as already mentioned "The Village" is a movie which works on a twist that is not a surprise because writer and director M. Night Shyamalan had already shown his skill of delivering spectacular twists. But whilst "The Village" is now almost a decade old I won't explain what happens because for those watching for the first time the twist makes it a movie which blows you away. But then that is the trouble because it is really just the twist which makes the movie and in the end a lot of what we watch prior to the revelation is actually unimportant. It means that when you watch it for a second or third time it is less satisfying and even a bit disappointing.

So what happens before the big twist? Well to be honest not a great deal. We find ourselves in this small village in the midst of the forest where candle light is used and there is peaceful living in this close knit community. The only trouble is from the creatures whose name shall not be mentioned who live in the forest, the villagers are scared of them and an ancient pact means that these villagers do not enter the woods, completely cut off from everyone else. Whilst we have this we also have the set up of relationships most notably that between Lucius and Ivy who have this deep connection much to the annoyance of the village's simpleton Noah. It is this relationship and the difficulty with Noah who also likes Ivy being the catalyst for Ivy entering the forbidden forests. But as I said whilst all of this builds up a picture of an isolated community with scary creatures it's not actually that interesting when you watch "The Village" more than once.

And it is a shame as "The Village" looks good, the village set is brilliant and the costumes look authentic! And add to that the acting with a lot of good performances from both young and old alike especially from Bryce Dallas Howard as Ivy, whose look and the way she moves makes her fascinating to observe. I may sound like a broken record but it is a shame "The Village" ends up a one watch wonder because the acting and the look deserves more than one watch.

What this all boils down to is that "The Village" when watched only the once is a great movie, the twist is magnificent and it works. But it is a one watch wonder because when you watch it again that element of wow has gone and you are left with little else to entertain.