Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lady in the Water

"The Lady in the Water" (M. Night Shyamalan, 2006) Didn't go see this, and didn't want to after the critics called it a stinkeroo. Too bad. This is M. Night Shyamalan abandoning the "Big Surprise at the End" scenario, and going into full "Narnia" myth mode. But "Narnia" for non-believers...and the marginalized. A great cast (Paul Giamatti...but also Jeffrey Wright...and Mary Beth Hurt...and Bill Irwin!), with Shyamalan veering between loopy comedy and "heart on his sleeve" earnestness, it's his loosest job of directing and feels like he's tapping a bit more deeply into his culture and myth-making. It has the feel of a Native American tale of redemption. It's not for everybody and he made mistakes casting himself in it, and making a less-than-likable character a critic (though I think a valid point is made there). But one can see folks going to see an "M. Night Shyamalan movie" and being surprised and disappointed when confronted with this. Personally, I think its a big advance. It's certainly not the failure that the Conventional Wisdom claims it is.

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