Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix
M. Night Shyamalan
Most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of crop circles.
There are those who believe they are the work of extra-terrestrials,
beings from some other place attempting to make contact with
us. Others believe that crop circles are nothing more than
an elaborate hoax; there have been numerous television specials
showing us that with a board, some rope, and a few friends,
you can make a crop circle of your own. In Signs, director
M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable)
gives us his take on which of the theories is true, though
I won't say which one.
I'll attempt to give you the basic story without ruining
the movies' plot. Mel Gibson plays Graham Hess, a former reverend
who loses his faith when his wife dies. He lives on his farm
with his son, Morgan (Rory Culkin), daughter Bo (Abigail Breslin)
and brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix). He awakens one morning
to the sounds of his children screaming and yelling, and rushes
out to his cornfield to see what is wrong. There he discovers
that his field has become another in a string of crop circles
that have been popping up all over the world within the last
72 hours. I really don't want to tell you any more than that,
and if you have seen M. Night Shyamalan's other movies you
know why. It's best to go into this movie knowing as little
as possible about the plot.
Much like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable,
Signs takes a while to get moving. Some people complain
about the plodding pace, others (myself included) enjoy a
movie that has a slow, steady buildup. Unlike M. Night Shyamalans'
previous films however, you don't have to wait until the end
to find out the big secret, it's revealed about 30 minutes
into the movie. That doesn't mean you will not be surprised
any more, quite the opposite; knowing what is happening actually
seemed to add to the tension, not diminish it.
If you were a fan of M. Night Shyamalan's previous movies,
you will absolutely love Signs. Even if you didn't
enjoy (or didn't see) those other films, you owe it to yourself
to see Signs, as it is one of the better films released
this year. In a season of mediocre sequels, lame comedies
and been there, done that action films, Signs is a
reminder that there are still a few filmmakers who can produce
original, well written, directed and acted movies.
- - Darken Rahl