The Village

March 5, 2005 - A 2004 film from M. Night Shyamalan, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrian Brody, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver. As he did in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, Shyamalan makes a cameo.

From the opening sequence, we understand that The Village is set in the late 19th century. The first sign that things are not quite right is when a woman sweeping off a porch sees a red flower. She quickly plucks it and buries it in the ground.

Soon, we learn that red is "the bad color" because it attracts "those we do not name" who, in the past, have been known to terrorize the village and kill things. Those we do not name live in Covington Wood, and the people of the village are warned not to go there.

Howard plays Ivy Walker, the blind daughter of a village elder, played by William Hurt. Phoenix is Lucius Hunt, son of another village elder, played by Sigourney Weaver. Ivy and Lucius like each other, but neither one will admit it. Finally, after Lucius protects the family from those we do not name, Ivy declares her love, then Lucius gets mad because he's the man and he wanted to say it first. Then they kiss and decide to get married.

Brody plays the village idiot. Ivy likes him and plays games with him. He loves her. When the idiot hears about Ivy's plans to marry Lucius, he stabs Lucius. His parents are pissed, so they lock him up in the time out room.

Lucius is alive, but just barely. Earlier, Lucius kept asking the elders for permission to go over the river and through the woods to "the towns," where bad things happen, so he can get medicine. The elders say no. But, when blind, distraught Ivy asks to go over the river and through the woods to get medicine for Lucius, her father defies the elders and says OK. He takes her to "the shed we do not enter" and lets Ivy in on a little secret, then tells her to "follow the sound of the stream until she comes to the hidden path" and that will take her to the towns.

The rest of the movie is basically Ivy in the woods, coming face to face with one of "those we do not name," using her wits to kill it, then getting the medicine for Lucius. As Ivy wanders through the woods, we find out why the elders came to the village in the first place and why they decide to stay.

Overall review: ** The first half of the movie drags, but it picks up when Lucius is stabbed. Howard is good, but I felt the other actors were wasted on archaic dialogue. Not Shyamalan's best work.