With the artistic, commercial and critical success of his two latest films, it is about time to soberly unearth the very real qualities of M. Night Shyamalan’s disproportionally maligned middle period.
Our in-depth look at M. Night Shyamalan’s early films continues with Unbreakable: perhaps the only mainstream Hollywood formalist film, a mass-market movie approached with an unrelenting European art film sensibility.
As so often in films, Louder Than Bombs is not a dissertation, but a meditation on its themes and motifs. Seen in isolation, words and deeds may seem unexceptional – it is as a whole that Joachim Trier film takes flight.
“Homesick primarily plays on the unspoken. Dialogues are marked by pauses and silent tensions between characters. Most films increase their pace towards a climax, but in Sewitsky the pauses just grow longer and more pregnant.”
Before The Visit came M. Night Shyamalan’s early masterpiece The Village. Mismarketed and misunderstood as a horror movie, it has gained a following as a mood piece of pastoral beauty, intense emotion and stylised lyricism.
After a general evaluation of this M. Night Shyamalan tour de force, the large cast of characters and their relationships are examined, with a special emphasis on subtext and how that is expressed through mise-en-scène.
A return to this severely under-appreciated film, for its discussion of storytelling, interpretation, film criticism, artificiality, stylisation, interconnectedness – and whether stories can become real.
Whispered echoes, nightmare logic, high melodrama, relentlessly ingenious staging – this visual analysis of M. Night Shyamalan’s pastoral masterpiece preserves the film’s own gestures, often rearranged in surprising combinations.
We look at three outstanding scenes in this better-than-you-think M. Night Shyamalan film, along with its pervasive motif of figures in a landscape, visual rhymes and many occasions of elegant staging.
Signs offers rich allegorical subtexts of dreams, magic and the aliens as metaphors for the characters’ inner demons. We also chart references to The Birds, and analyse the masterful cellar sequence and the film’s ending.
The apparent simplicity of Split conceals a surprising amount of ideas, refinement and subtlety. This is a moment-by-moment analysis of the brilliant abduction scene, plus a hard look at isolation, corridors, animals and flowers.