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.
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.
A Shyamalan enthusiast is struggling mightily to come to terms with the conundrum of The Happening, a split identity film that swings wildly between excellence, rampant quirkiness and unchecked hysteria.
M. Night Shyamalan’s enigmatic superhero thriller is a film where everything seems to be connected to everything else. We look at various motifs and colour codings that move in intricate and sometimes very strange patterns.
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.
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.
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.
«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.»
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.
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.
The cat-and-mouse sessions between psychiatrist and patient form a thrilling acting laboratory, where M. Night Shyamalan’s fundamentally static set-ups are done with rigour and discreet invention. Bonus: film references.