M. Night Shyamalan’s movies all seem to have similar structures. All of his films are character-driven dramas that have sort of “twist” surprise endings. In his latest movie, the superbly crafted Signs Shyamalan continues the winning formula and effectively scares the crap out of you several times.
The story line of Signs doesn’t revolve around the mysterious crop circles at all, it has a minimal plot that brings up a greater question of faith. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) is a preacher who has lost his faith due to a terrible accident. A Pennsylvania farmer, he lives with his brother Merril (Joaquin Phoenix) and his two children Morgan (Rory Culkin) and Bo (Abigail Breslin). After Graham wakes up to find a crop circle in his backyard, he spends the rest of the movie on a Scaryville thrillride of suspense.If there is one thing that this movie does it is keep you on the edge of your seat. Throughout the movie there just seems to be an air of doom. However, some scenes seem to be lighter in nature, and there are a few pretty funny parts in the movie. The characters are well developed, like in other Shyamalan films. The movie looks great, the cinematography was done by Tak Fujimoto, the man behind the camera in The Sixth Sense and Silence of the Lambs to name a few. Shyamalan’s direction is top notch, he doesn’t use many crazy shots such as the weaving in between seats in Unbreakable but the movie just looks right.
The acting is good, even by the Culkin kid. He’s related to Macaulay Culkin, the kid who screamed in those movies, in case you were wondering. For some reason, little Bo got on my nerves a bit. Every line she had was cutesy-wootsy. “Dawdy, I’m scawerd, can I have wayter?” A blah. But I can’t blame a tiny girl for her line delivery, can I? Minor complaint, if that.
The script seems to be pretty solid; there are some pretty clever things like the use of a shiny kitchen knife to see under a door and a baby monitor as an “alien monitor.” Not showing the things that made the crop circles is something that Shyamalan tries to stick to, and when they are finally show it is in a a creative way. The fear of the unknown keeps the audience on the edge of their seat throughout.
The only real downfall of the movie is that the ending is just too cushy. You could go as far as to call it stupid even. Shyamalan seems to have this talent of coming up with complex problems that have a simple answer. The whole movie just seems illogical at the end. “Oh it’s all right, everything is pretty much OK! Yahoo!”
Despite a piece-of-shit ending, the film is good solid fun. Not a great movie, but a pretty good one. Shyamalan’s fans should be pleased with his latest effort.