You know how you sometimes avoid movies because you hate a certain actor regardless of how many people tell you it’s a good movie. I’m like that with directors. Directors, unlike many actors, have a particular style that is either a draw or a repellant. With his last few outings, M. Night Shyamalan has flaunted his repellent.
You can see it in the tagline to the movie: “We’ve Sensed It. We’ve Seen The Signs. Now… It’s Happening.” The marketing department needs to get bent.
Don’t consider myself a MNS-hater, but I do find that the man uses a lot of the same plot devices to tell his stories. I give him credit for the creative and fantastical qualities of his films, but his later movies follow the same structure and use the same plot devices. Movie making is all not about gimmicks and sleight of hand.
I do not doubt that the man has a fantastic eye when it comes to movie making, but “the message” he likes to slip into his movies (much like the self-aggrandizing in “Lady In The Water”) is more than a little off-putting. Think for a moment about “Signs” – If you haven’t seen it by now, forget you, because this is a spoiler – There are aliens taking over a planet that has a 70% surface composition of an element that is fatal to them. Really?
And yet, I still paid to see “The Village,’ which makes me the real stupid one. And again, I walked away from a man who was clearly out to abuse me in ways only he found life-affirming. I haven’t been back.
He considers himself the draw and on that merit alone the movie should be loved. I prefer story, good acting, and an ending that makes sense. Lot of other directors work outside studio norms and still manage to not produce duds. It’s this teen-aged style rebellion that most directors grow out of two films in that gets under my skin.
It’s the same reason I hate Tarantino and to a greater extent Kubrick. You get a little too full and yourself and think you’re the cleverest person in the room, and suddenly, people don’t “get” you. It isn’t we don’t “get” you. We simply don’t “like” you. Big difference.
He reminds me a little of Tarsem (Singh) of The Cell fame. Listen to the Director’s commentary and you discover a man who is appalled that people don’t understand what glorious creature he’s trying to give birth do. Genius At Work – Be In Awe Or Step Aside. (listen, you can almost hear the angelic choir) It’s no accident it took many years between films, and it had nothing to do with the gestation period. He basically couldn’t find anyone to work with him. His next film, “The Fall” looks an awful lot like “The Cell”, and chances are I’ll find a way to see it without actually having to pay for it. I don’t mind a trainwreck so long as my pocketbook remains unscathed.
So no, there will be no “Happening” for me. I will not pay to sit through 91 of a ethics lecture only to discover that the Cliff’s Notes were far more entertaining and took up far less of my life.