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The Village
DVD disk
01.11.2005 By: Indiana Sev
The Village order
Director:
M. Night Shyamalan

Actors:
Joaquin Phoenix
William Hurt
Bryce Dallas Howard

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The people of a very tight-knit, 19th century community live in a small village that is surrounded by woods. They lead very simple, moral and happy lives…as long as they stay away from those crazy woods, that is. The story goes that if one dares breach said woods, one will get chomped on and swallowed by the mysterious creatures that nobody dares speak of. One will also expect a twist in the end of this tale because one is watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie and one…ah, just read the review.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

I felt a true closeness to this movie. Like the people in this village, my parents referred to me and my siblings as “those we do not speak of” and whenever I misbehaved, as Adrien Brody’s mentally handicapped character often does in this movie, I was placed in a quiet room; the only difference being Brody’s character wasn’t beaten with corn for hours afterwards. As much as I enjoyed a couple of M’s previous films, in almost all their cases the rewatch value in them has been pretty much nonexistent for me. As I mentioned before, once you know the twist to his movies, enjoy them or not, the movie is usually not as fun to watch the second time around, not to me anyway. Add to that the fact that I felt the twist in this case didn’t hold up to about the 15 + questions I had concerning its possibility, or rather the many incidents that happened in coalition with it. THE VILLAGE’s story, on the whole, was a big disappointment when all was said and done.

Still, I won’t deny the fact that N’s, pardon, M’s writing, visionary style and picturesque shots nevertheless give you a few reasons to give it a good viewing, if just once. The pretty Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of the great Richie Cunningham), also gives a performance worthy of some of her father’s best work on that beloved seventies sitcom (although the first time I saw this movie it took me a good half hour ‘til I figured out she was blind). Day, pardon, Night also serves up a minimum of two very touching, romantic moments between Howard and Joaquin Phoenix that gives the movie that little bit of heart it needed. But sadly, after the last twenty minutes tick by, you might very likely feel as cheated as I did when you start back-tracking and putting together all the wacky happenings that took place in the kooky village. In the end, like any other William Hurt movie in existence, I can’t totally pan this movie, because hell, Bill Hurt is one charming son-of-a-bitch. I suggest you rent SMOKE and if you have a bit of loose change left afterwards, give THE VILLAGE a chance as well…

THE EXTRAS

Deconstructing The Village (24 minutes)

This feature puts you right into production, as you’ll witness the cast go through a 19th century boot camp of sorts to learn how to fend for themselves, just like the villagers in the movie have to do on a day-to-day basis; they also focus on the development of the creatures, how shooting was delayed for a while due to a blizzard that hit their shooting location in Pennsylvania and cast and crew interviews. There are also pieces on the editing, sound and casting of the film. Lots to see here and many of them are on-location shots. This is better than most making-of featurettes.

Deleted Scenes

Here, you’re offered up with 5 deleted scenes, which amounts to ten minutes time, with a video introduction by M before each scene, and after it. A nice mix here of some lighter moments and a couple of dramatic sequences that you might wish would have made the final cut. Bryce Dallas Howard’s “declaration of love” moment in the woods, called Pipes, is particularly worth a look.

Bryce’s Diary (4 minutes)

Bryce reads some of the notes she made in her diary during her experience making the film. It is all in voice-over and plays over some shots of the fields and the overall environment of the village. This is a very personal journal of hers and it doesn’t feel quite right hearing it.

M. Night’s Home Movie (3 minutes)

M likes to include a different home movie he made onto each DVD of one of his movies. Cool idea. It’s worth watching if only to see M in his teens. Oh, and it’s better than BATMAN & ROBIN.

Production Photo Gallery

Sneak Peeks

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Rent this movie so you and your little date can have a few laughs at the absurdity of its developments and then cuddle up together and make-out as though your munchkin’s Ma and Pa are never coming home. Then you can snack on some oreos and maybe make-out some more. But the DVD Clinic can’t, in good conscience, recommend this movie for purchase.
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