27 July 2006

Movie Review: Lady in the Water

M. Night Shyamalan's films have never failed to impress me. Even those which I find least pleasing, i.e. Unbreakable and Signs, are pretty decent as compared with other Hollywood junk. Lady in the Water is no exception, despite a huge shift in the setting of the story.

The plot moves slowly at the initial stage, but accelerates at a comfortable rate to some rather tense moments at the end. The storyline is more confusing, as there are more characters and more "roles" to fulfill (what I mean by "roles" will become clear once you've watched the movie). Shyamalan's characteristic twists are quite plentiful, but there is no single one that really smacks hard in the viewer's face.

Some of the twists may seem meaningless at first glance, only to reveal its concealed hint when one carefully reviews the movie after watching. This means that there is very much post-analysis that can be done, thus increasing the "value" of this movie. However, to those whose brains are tuned more for Hollywood-styled shallow plots, these turns in the storyline will be irritating, which probably explains the largely negative reviews I've heard so far. These critics aren't completely off either: a few of the twists could've been better worked on, since these few give a feeling that it is carelessly written or thrown in last minute (either that, or I've yet to figure out the significance of the twist).

The music's rather brilliant, though it lacks a certain lustre when compared to The Village's striking violin pieces. As for, for a lack of a better word, creature design, I thought more effort could've been put in. The creatures are similar to those in The Village, which I thought could be improved on. Nonetheless, it is the liberty of the director to make the creatures appear how they should.

One problem some people may have with the story is that it seems so fake or so meaningless for certain "necessary" things, like the task of organising a farewell ceremony. The only answer I have to that is that this is just a bedtime story; certain things are just the way they are.

Now, it has been long since I've watched such a great movie... In fact, I don't remember watching another one this year that can comfortably satisfy me. So, Lady in the Water is a high recommendation from me. And a 100% more so if you like twists.

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