Plot: The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt and Joaquin Phoenix
"The world moves for love.
It kneels before it in awe."
It's hard to come up with the examples of movies as badly hurt by wrong marketing strategy as "The Village". Advertised as scary horror film, with spooky posters and suspenseful trailers, the movie opened back in 2004 to luck luster reviews. Why? Because everyone expected to be scared, they expected a horror movie. The disappointment and shock must have blinded them, because what we got instead is still a wonderful film. Only it's not a horror - it's a beautiful love story.
The movie is set in the titular village, where a group of people follow a set of rules because of their fear of the creatures that live in the woods that surround them. They have to give the sacrifice of dead animals, they mustn't wear red color or use it anywhere in the village. There are guards on the towers, ready to warn the villagers if the creatures decide to approach. Although the people who live there focus on fear, which as it turns out later on in the movie was the thing that inspire them to settle in the village in the first place, for most of the time they just try to go on. There is a number of families there, on the surface being perfect. But underneath there are hidden desires and shocking secrets.
There are two protagonists in the movie - Lucius Hunt, part written specifically for Joaquin Phoenix who creates very strong performance of a man, who senses that something is wrong, who wants to find out what hides in the woods himself. Lucius is silent for most of the time, he is peaceful, caring and fiercely brave. He is in love with blind and cheerful Ivy Walker, quite possibly the most joyful person in the village. They are completely different - Ivy is always chattering, running around, offering support to everyone with her kind words, Lucius on the other hand works alone, and instead of words uses his strength to help the others.
The bond Lucius and Ivy share is the most beautiful part of the movie - the dialogues are incredibly moving, the execution of the story is subtle, yet very emotional. In one scene Ivy is standing in the open door, with her hand outstretched, waiting for Lucius as the evil creatures approach closer and closer. Just before it reaches her, Lucius grabs her hand and then - he doesn' t let go. That happens a lot of times in the movie - Ivy wanders around, almost in panic, but just before she succumbs to it, Lucius appears, calm and brave and takes her hand. It's such a simple motive but it instantly establishes that those two belong together. They both "see" the world in a different way than others - Lucius has curiosity and courage nobody else in the village has and he is not afraid to cross the line to forbidden woods. Ivy claims that in her darkness she sees the colors certain people have, like an aura. She is also completely at peace with her disability much like Lucius is at peace with being an outsider.
The cast is very impresive - we get to see Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Pitt, Judy Greer in a very amusing role of Kitty - Ivy's silly sister, Brendan Gleeson and brilliant performance from William Hurt, who plays Ivy's father and the most crucial character in entire village.The music as always in Shyamalan's films is composed by James Newton Howard and it is, right after Howard's performance - the best thing about it. It's so tender and charming, with only few moments of dread - just like the film. The main theme "Ivy's song" is one of the best pieces the composer made to date.