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The Village (Widescreen Vista Series)
The Village
Widescreen Vista Series
Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Bryce Dallas Howard, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2005     1hr 48min

M. Night Shyamalan (SIGNS, UNBREAKABLE, THE SIXTH SENSE), the director who brought you the world's greatest thrillers on DVD, now creates his most thought-provoking triumph yet ... breaking international records and dazzli...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Bryce Dallas Howard, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Touchstone
Format: DVD - Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/11/2005
Original Release Date: 07/30/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 07/30/2004
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 19
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, French
Subtitles: French, Spanish
See Also:

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Member Movie Reviews

Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL
Reviewed on 4/2/2014...
Spooky and good story. It was a little slow, hang with it.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Amber M. from MORROW, GA
Reviewed on 11/5/2013...
I for one thought this movie was one of this director's best. The characters were believable and very sympathetic, which is a credit to the actors and the writer(s). The plot moved along well, and I definitely did not see that twist coming. I don't think the movie actually horrified me, but it certainly kept me in suspense and had me on the edge of my seat. Great movie that I think gets a lot of hate for no reason.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL
Reviewed on 1/27/2012...
Pretensious bs best describes this film. It's like a rejected episode of the Twilight Zone. The so-called twist ending is really funny for all the wrong reasons. Throws any sembalance of reality out the window and you might be able to enjoy this mess.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jerome G. from LA CRESCENTA, CA
Reviewed on 10/18/2011...
This is probably my favorite M. Night film. The twist ending I won't give away , but it blew my mind a bit. Joaquin Phoenix ( before he went crazy) is very good and so is William Hurt. I hope M. Night hasn't lost his touch. His most recent films were nowhere near this caliber. Once you see this one, you'll want to own it. Not as scary as 'Signs' but still very well done.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Fool me four times? Not bad, M. Night Shyamalan
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There is so much bad word of mouth out there about "The Village" that I had to go see it by myself because nobody wanted to see it with me. I avoided all the publicity about M. Night Shyamalan's fourth film so that I could make up my own mind. Besides, if the whole point is to see whether he can fool us again, why would you want to know anything on the chance that it would be too much? If the film gets spoiled by a review, then that is hardly giving the film a chance. Even when Penn & Teller show you how they do their trick, they get to do the trick first.

The Village is located in a valley surrounding by Covington Woods. The year is 1897 according to the tombstone we see at the start of the film. As we are introduced to life in the community we learn about the strange rules under which its inhabitants live. If you did not read the rules on the poster for "The Village," they are enacted during the first part of the film. Red is a bad color that cannot be seen because it attracts them, while mustard yellow is a color of safety. No one can enter the woods because that is where those of whom no one speaks will get you. If the warning bell is sounded, then head for the cellars in your houses immediately because they are coming.

A council of elders run the village, and their leader is clearly Edward Walker (William Hurt). They set the tone for the village, but in the wake of the death of a young child because of sickness, young Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) wants to leave the village, travel through the forbidden woods, and bring back medicine from one of the towns on the other side. Lucius is uncommonly brave. The young boys test their courage by standing on a stump on the border between the village and the woods, and Lucius is the record holder. But his courage could doom the Village by breaking the truce that has held between the two sides for many years.

Most of that you can pick up from the trailers for "The Village." Joaquin Phoenix as Lucius is clearly the hero of the film and you know know that there is no reason to set up these rules if they are not going to get violated as a major plot development in the film. Beyond that it is difficult to say anything that would not interfer with your chance to enjoy the film on its own terms. However, there are two things I can say.

First, given that he has backed himself in a corner it terms of always having to come up with some big secret twist for all of his films, Shyamalan does try to come up with something to meet the raised expectations. You can certainly decide afterwards that the secret was not big enough or good enough, but unless the film has been spoiled for you I cannot believe you are going to see everything that is coming. As we know from "Signs" and the rest of his films if there is one thing Shyamalan can do it is that everything fits together in the end.

Second, as I started to get into this film I decided that the character I really liked was Ivy Walker, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. That is the one name that appears in the opening credits that I did not recognize (remember, I avoided all the publicity) and so when it turned out that Bryce was playing Ivy, and that the actress is the daughter of Ron Howard I was surprised (no wonder she looked familiar without my recognizing her). This is a breakthrough performance, which may well be the only thing that everybody who sees "The Village" is going to agree on.

Early on in this film I decided what I wanted this film to be, not expecting that it would actually end up being that, so when it did I was both surprised and gratified. Since I never put much significance into the meaning of Shyamalan's movie twists, focusing instead on whether or not I could be fooled, "The Village" certainly meets the criteria. He got me. Again.
The Village
John W. Huber | Doylestown, PA | 08/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I liked it.

The more I thought about the film & discussed it @ 2am afterwards, and the days that followed (actors, scenes & story) the more I liked it. Initially, I wanted to be scared more, ...alone in the woods? At night? Breaking twigs? FEAR itself.

The cool thing about this film is that I remained scared even after a fear-defeating moment. (This is probably the most important aspect of the film and what makes it a winner in my book!)

The monsters, or bad-guys, are amazing!

M. Night seems to pick genre's well:
"The Sixth Sense" was about ghosts - if you don't like or believe or are scared of them the movie won't have the same effect (discounting the whole "trick" ending that everyone seemed to love). The same goes for "Unbreakable" relating to comic books/superheroes. And the aliens in "Signs".

If you aren't frightened by the concept then the movie losses something. If the woods at night doesn't scare you, you won't enjoy the "punch".

The audience had mixed feelings, (with one group of young teenage boys loudly voicing their disdain: "Boo! That sucked" etc., but they most likely expected a thriller.), but I will be front line center for M. Night's next film."
"Let Her Go...Ivy Runs Toward Hope..."
R. M. Fisher | New Zealand = Middle Earth! | 09/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I think two factors are behind the bulk of negative reviews for "The Village": one, it's fairly obvious that M. Night Shymalan has gone into the well a few too many times in regard to his Big Twist plot scenario, and two, the film was wrongly advertised as a horror movie.

Perhaps my knowledge of these two facts was what let me enjoy the movie on a level that other people haven't; watching it as a dark fairy tale, a critique on today's contemporary situation, a beautiful love story, and a chilling suspense mystery. With gorgeous visuals, fantastic use of colour and a haunting violinist score, "The Village" is certainly a feast for the senses, whatever you might think of the actual story.

In an idyllic, peaceful clearing is a hamlet where children play together, adults work together, and which is benevolently ruled over by a group of Elders. Amongst them is Edward Walker, the village patriarch and school-teacher, widowed Alice Hunt, and bereaved father August Nicolson, who has just lost his son to illness.

The second generation is represented mainly through Edward's two daughters, the giddy Kitty, and the blind, spiritual Ivy, and Alice's son Lucius - a near-mute introvert who never speaks more than five words strung together unless he's carefully written out what he wants to say on a piece of paper. As well as this, there's Noah Percy, a mentally challenged young man who adores Ivy, and is consequently hurt and confused by her growing feelings for Lucius.

The village is surrounded by Covington Woods, and here is where the real chills are to be found. Inside these woods dwell what the villagers call "Those We Don't Speak Of", strange and menacing monsters that stand between the village and the outside towns. Not that this is a bad thing, as we are told that the towns are "wicked places, full of wicked people". Despite this, it is important that the villagers uphold the uneasy truce between the woods and their community. A series of defences are in place to keep the creatures at bay: watchtowers, warning bells, offerings, cloaks of "the safe colour" and a restriction against anything that is red - this apparently attracts them. And no one is *ever* to go into the woods.

But of course, we all know that anything forbidden is instantly fascinating, and that teenagers are almost genetically engineered to test the boundaries put in place around them. Therefore, whilst the other boys are playing "chicken" games at the edge of the woods, Lucius is exploring his own theory concerning the creatures: he is greatly affected by the death August's son, and believes that if the traveller had noble intentions (such as fetching medicines from the towns), the creatures would let him pass unharmed.

But as he puts this to the test, the threat from the creatures grow - skinned animals and red marks appear on the doors. Coincidence? No way. Rules are continually broken, and lines continually crossed throughout the story - even the angelic Ivy breaks her "no hitting" rule. Finally Lucius (and the rest of the youths) seem frightened enough to no longer attempt passage through the woods, until an accident occurs that forces a drastic decision to be made. Now Ivy must go through the terrible woods, in order to save the life of her beloved...

I know that the illogical plot-holes are so gaping that you could drive a truck through them, and I know that there are some serious problems with the final resolution, but there comes a point when you make a decision - to either go with it, or scoff at it. Most people it seems have taken the second option, and unfortunately they miss out on a lot of what the director is trying to tell us about fear, authority, rules, innocence and control - all of which have particular resonance in today's world. Whether you liked it or not, please ask yourself this: where does the real danger lie - in the woods, in the towns, or in the village itself? Are some of the choices made justified? Is retaining innocence worth the terror that goes with it?

As well as this, there are a lot of things to enjoy; the afore mentioned atmosphere, and the genuine scares that Shymalan throws in (at one particularly harrowing moment three girls behind me in the theatre screamed - and I mean really *screamed*). Most touching for me however, was the love story between Ivy and Lucius - every time she puts her hand out, he's there to take it, and their discussion on the porch is beautifully performed and shot: the silent Lucius suddenly blurts out what's on his mind, whilst the talkative Ivy is struck dumb.

There are some things however, that stopped me from giving it five stars, the biggest one being the sudden veer away from Lucius's plot development. Shymalan builds an interesting and endearing character, and then he abruptly drops from the action, never to return. This obviously had to happen in order to get Ivy into the woods, but we never *return* to his story. Ivy learnt some truths on her journey that she'll undoubtably share with him, but we never see how he'll react to them. For that matter, we never actually learn if Ivy was actually *successful* in her mission - does he survive or not?

All in all, I enjoyed "The Village", and I really hope you take the time to look deeper into what it's trying to say. Everything, from the colours invoked (red, the colour of violence to yellow, the colour of cowardice) to the poetic flow of the language - which is perhaps *meant* to be a little stiff, is there for a reason. Some great performances from the actors involved, and meticulous direction and control from Shymalan - I'm definitely getting this on DVD.