what can i say about m. night shyamalan? those of you who know me well know that i absolutely love his films. i think he's brilliant. inspired. genius. unbreakable has got to be the best movie ever, i'm sure of it... unless it's the village or signs.
every time another of his movies comes out, i become very nervous, because i want so badly for it to be as good as all the others, and i know he's probably the most pressured director in hollywood because everyone expects his films to be nothing short of fantastic, and over and over i want him to prove his fans right and his critics wrong. i'm sure it's not even close to the stress he feels before a film is released, but his movies are very important to me and i want him to do well.
lady in the water certainly did not let me down.
hooray! he rocks.
you know what? i don't care what people say about m. night shyamalan! he's awesome! i hear people saying that he's losing his touch and that he's running out of ideas, or more recently in a review i just read on lady in the water, that he's a petty egocentric narcissist whose on-screen characters are thinly-veiled blows at harsh critics (more about that later), but let me tell you something about the movie i just watched:
the last several moments of the film are very quiet. as the credits started rolling, the entire audience let out a collective breath that nobody realized they were holding! this wasn't the typical rise in noise at the end of a movie. you could have heard a pin drop in there. you could have heard an ant farting. but of course he wouldn't have, because he was so wrapped up in the REALLY GOOD FILM that had everyone's RAPTUROUS ATTENTION!!!
i'm not a filmmaker myself, but if i was, i daresay that the moment when no person in the theater dares to breathe because the awesomeness of my work is so overwhelming would be one of those things that i would live for, you know? i mean, how many films do that? come on.
and now i will talk about what the critic said. there's still no spoilers, but if you want to know absolutely nothing about this film, like i did, you should stop reading here.
let's face it, movie critics as a group have not been kind to mr. shyamalan. this film happens to have a movie critic as one of it's many characters. connection? maybe. maybe not. i personally think that by making this character something of an overly-critical arrogant jerk, shyamalan was telling all of us to lighten up. going to a movie can sometimes just be going to a movie. maybe you don't always have to try and figure out the plot. maybe some characters will surprise you. maybe you should just leave your expectations at the door and see where the film takes you.
... which is exactly why i didn't want to watch any previews or read anything about this movie before i watched it. i'm glad i did that.
and the fact that he gave the critic character the line, "there is no originality left in this world. that's a fact that makes me very sad," is profound. not that it's coming from the mouth of a movie critic, but that the line was written by m. night shyamalan. no originality indeed.
and you know what? so what if shyamalan was portraying critics in a bad light on purpose? who cares if an artist addresses his critics and the issues of his life through his work? the beatles did it, why not m. night shyamalan? good for him. smug, overconfident movie critics, thinking they should be untouchable. ha.
shyamalan of course always has his inevitable cameo, but in this film his role is much more important than in his others, in which you might, say, catch his reflection in the medicine cabinet door or something. of course now the critics say that he can't help but put himself right into the middle of all the important action and that he's not much of an actor. whatever. true, the fact that he showed up on the screen distracted me a little from the plot, but he did a good job in his role, and he freakin' wrote the character, so who's to say he didn't understand it well enough to play the part?
i really loved this film. one thing i loved was the range of bizarre characters that shyamalan wrote to fill the apartment complex where the story is based. the asian mother who didn't speak english. the hispanic daughters who only spoke spanish. the man who solved crossword puzzles while his kid ate cereal and chatted to him about captain crunch. i love characters that seem real, that aren't outrageously glamorous, people that you can imagine actually had a life before the movie started and that have relatives off-screen and apartments of their own and things they do while the other characters are doing something important to the plot. none of this rosencrantz and guildenstern sitting offstage, wandering around with nothing to do because no one wrote lines for them to say. shyamalan always seems to create characters that might actually be alive somewhere. a character that has asthma. or that stutters. or is uneducated. or shy. or that does laundry, for crying out loud.
i think that might be what's so great about his movies. they involve realistic, everyday people. this story could happen to you.