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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lady in the Water - Plot down the drain

Dumfounded...

M. Night Shyamalan is a writer/director I admire. My whole family looks forward to his new movies, although we wait a few days to avoid the crowds. So it was only now that I ventured out with my wife and two of my kids to see the movie Lady In The Water, which looked like a horror/mystery/ story with a twist, perhaps like The Village. Perhaps it would be a Sci-Fi overlay for a deeper, powerful subplot, like Signs. He had produced the instant classics Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

I was worried when the movie started with stick-figure drawings while a narrator explained the movie before it began. It is NEVER a good sign when a movie begins with a long narration or explanation, although some movies like Star Wars managed to come out all right anyway. But as I said, not a good sign...

Nevertheless, the immediate appearance of Paul Giamatti was a good omen, an actor I really love. He was amazing in Sideways! It was obvious that he would carry this movie. He now has a bad back. Not that there weren't other good acting jobs in this film, for there was a lot of real talent in this cast. Let's just say that Lady isn't exactly plot-driven. The plot is dragged along behind like a lame foot.

There is a treasure trove of oddball characters in this movie, a movie so lost that it needs a map and a GPS locator. There were many places where I believe we were perhaps expected to either clap or cry, but I was stifling laughter. It was like in the circus when a bunch of clown cars crash and the clowns all stagger out. It is weird and whimsical and funny but, yes, incredibly and majestically off-center. This is M. Night's "Plan 9 From Outer Space".

I suppose M. Night needs someone who can put a hand on his shoulder, look him in the eye, and say "No. Please, no!" But maybe I am wrong, maybe he wanted to make a movie so remarkably absurd that it was in some way allegorical of life as he sees it? Or did he find himself laughing so hard his sides would split thinking of all the people coming to be scared or mystified only to wind up stupified? If so, I got the joke I think - I whispered to my wife that I didn't know that he directed comedies (!) shortly before the climactic scene.

Lady really says nothing about nothing in a madcap and goofy way, so earnestly oddball that there will be critics who label it a masterpiece and a crowning achievement. They will be falling all over themselves to "get" the ungettable, which would be the point. There is no point.

4 comments:

Hawkeye® said...

Thanks for the "heads-up"... I'll save my money.

(:D) Regards...

Amanda Mae said...

Of course the point of the movie was a large stick that needed to be sharpend, and then used to poke Mr. M. Night Shyamalan untill the sence gets poked out of him.

...then an eagle swoops by and takes him away.....

highboy said...

I never dug his movies. SIGNS was cool until the climax was Phoenix beating up a green alien with a baseball bat.

Mark K. Sprengel said...

I Liked it because of Giamatti and some of the other performances. You make a good point about how it started, dang, take the mystery right out of it as soon as possible. I did like his filming though and how the eagle scene was filmed avoided a real possibility for incredible hokiness. The storyline and how it was plotted was rather - eh, whatever, in my opinion. I like most of his other stuff though.