Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Happening

The Happening - 06
Originally uploaded by MyCine
M. Knight Shyamalan is one of my favorite directors because no matter what he does he is one of the few filmmakers that can still surprise me, and make me react to his films and not because of his films. Despite the critical blasting it received, I loved Lady in the Water; I thought it was fanciful & brilliant and the scene where Cleveland talks about how he lost his family nearly makes me cry.

I’m not going to go too far in depth here as to the story of The Happening because I respect Shyamalan’s right to try to surprise his audience – that’s how his films work. However, while I liked The Happening I have issues with it because it is a message movie, and it does not try to hide it. That being said, The Happening is one of the only message movies that I may own someday.

The Happening is Shyamalan’s first R rated film. It feels and is told very differently than any of his other films; death abounds and you see it happen. The entire premise of the film is based around people committing suicide in mass quantities, at the same time, without explanation. A sizable body count and amount of gore is expected.

What shocks me greatly, and makes me respect Shyamalan more is that after being introduced into the concept of the film, after the first jarring suicide I knew what was coming and yet it was still tense and terrifying. You knew when a character was going to commit suicide, and how they were going to do it, and the 5 seconds that led up to that suicide were scarier because of it – the fright was not diminished. Yet, there was not an overdone amount of gore like so many filmmakers would do in today’s film market.

The thing that actually shocked me in a not so good way was the acting in the movie. I love Mark Wahlberg, Zoey Deschanel & John Leguazimo; but together they did not work. Wahlberg & Deschanel had no chemistry, and the pair had no chemistry with Leguazimo who played Wahlberg’s best friend. The actors seemed very stilted, and well…directed…not very natural at all.

Even through what I didn’t like about the movie, I do have to say I think the goods out weigh the bad and this is a heck of a movie to go see.

Writer & Director: M. Knight Shyamalan
Elliot: Mark Wahlberg
Alma: Zoey Deschanel
Julian: John Leguazimo
Jess: Ashlyn Sanchez
Mrs. Jones: Betty Buckley

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