Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lady in the Water

I'm a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan's earlier thrillers (Unbreakable being my favorite). Even though he had a falling out with long time collaborators Touchstone Pictures, he managed to get this film made at Warner Bros. and I think that the switch did him some good, but his steady decline is still pretty evident. There's no surprising zinger in the final moments of this movie, it's suspenseful all the way through and the twists are spread out evenly. The performances are great across the board and there's a lot of quirky characters to be found within (like the guy who only works out the right side of his body and the old dude who's always in his bathroom taking a shit), but my main complaint is that none of them are developed in any sort of way, just in passing as the main character, Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), chats them up as he performs his daily superintendent duties at The Cove apartment complex. The thing is, this film actually feels like a bedtime story, just like it was advertised. It's like someone is relaying the story to you, leaving out little details that they remember later on. It's really involving because of this and I really got into it. What absolutely kills this movie for me is that Shyamalan cast himself in the major part of a writer who is going to save the world. This is pure ego on display and his terrible acting brings down everything around it. Still, ignore all the people who are bitching about this flick. Go see it and make up your own mind.

2 out of 5

*written 7/23/06

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