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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lady in the Water

Written and Directed
by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard,
Bob Balaban, and M. Night Shyamalan




Well, the M. Night Shyamalan backlash is now in full swing. It gained footing with The Village and now seems to be out of control. Can I tell you all something? Lady in the Water is not a bad movie. The plebs have really missed the boat here. Shyamalan's biggest mistake with this one, I think, is overestimating the audience's intelligence. I forget which big movie mogul of the past said something to the effect that one moviegoer might be a moron, but collectively they are a genius...well things have changed I'm afraid. Yeah, you got Mil all pissed off on this one. Have I insulted the average movie watcher enough yet? Oh, how about this...get off your friggin' cell phone and open up that noisy box of candy BEFORE the movie starts, and get your damned foot off the back of my chair, jackhole! You are NOT in your damned house!

There...breathe...breathe.

All right, where does one begin? The story of Lady in the Water centers around an apartment manager named Cleveland Heep (Giamatti) who discovers a strange woman (Bryce Howard) in the pool, turns out she's a sea nymph from "The Blue World" and she's come to make contact with someone in the apartment complex before she leaves to go home. Now there are some baddies that do not want her to succeed so she ends up needing help from the folks in the complex. Now this story, on its surface, may or may not be enough to sustain a two hour movie, but luckily that's not really what the movie is about. Here's your first clue: the Sea Nymph's name is "Story." Now when you hear something like that, you gotta start looking under the hood for what's really going on. It's all about text and subtext, connotation and denotation. The best stories are all ice bergs with most of the "business" hidden under the surface. That's what is going on here. I don't just want to explain everything, that's not what movie reviews are for. I just want to say, look deeper.

A recurring theme through Shyamalan's work is "finding one's place in the world" I think all of his films have carried an element of that, and some have focused on it. This one is no exception, but it's played out in the form of a bedtime story. In this case it becomes, how does the storyteller use the characters to help the 'story'. The movie is ALL ABOUT STORIES, and the importance of stories and myths to us humans. Shyamalan even plays a large role in the film, which apparently has pissed off the knuckledraggers because they can't get past the fact that he is the filmmaker. All right, maybe he's not the best actor in the world, but he's not terrible, and the role he's cast himself in plays right into the movie's theme. Look, I'm just asking you to put some thought into this one...please? Is that too much to ask?

Feel free to give some feedback on this one, huh? I'm out.....

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