There are those who believe and those who do not, what are you?
My thoughts on M. Night Shyamalan's SIGNS
Rated: PG (Canada), PG-13 (U.S.)
Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Kulkin, Abigail Breslin,
Jones and M Night Shayamalan
"Daddy there's a monster beside my bed, can I have a glass of
When Graham (Mel Gibson) and Merill Hess (Joaquin Phoenix) discover 50 ft
circle and square shapes carved in their crops, the two try and find out
truth behind what is going on. However, what Graham learns soon is that
battle he will soon be facing is not that of extra terrestrial beings but
that within his own self.
In facing a universal theme of life on other planets, Shyamalan's handling
is different from your ordinary type of supernatural movie. This is
the underlying theme of this movie is not aliens, but in fact, it is
Faith in something larger, faith of miracles, faith that nothing in this
life is coincidental and everything happens for a reason. The theme of
movie is not survival of outer forces rather than survival of internal and
seemingly more powerful than what is even happening outside.
There is not a single movie that is out there which scares the viewer on a
level of things they are NOT seeing rather than what they do see. It does
not deserve to be classified in any category because this film is in a
league of its own. The base of supernatural and extra terrestrial beings
this case forms the base for human self exploration and finding who they
In all sequences, Shyamalan concentrates on character development and even
from the first scene, we seemingly have a look into the world of a man,
is emotionally wounded, and yet silent and powerful. Shyamalan has gone
Mel Gibson to play the title role, which some fans of M. Night would have
rather gone with Bruce Willis who has played the quiter type role in Sixth
Sense and even starred in Shyamalan's "Unbreakable". However, from the
first frame, you can see that Gibson becomes the role and lives through
role. In terms of his performance, the transformation he goes through the
entire frame of the movie really is a true testament to the powerful skill
that this actor embodies. In many scenes, his eyes do the talking, and it
takes a powerful director to really capitalize on what Gibson does in this
type of role.
Joaquin Phoenix, playing Graham's brother Merill, is a powerful support in
the movie. His character gains a lot of sympathy. Even as he is trying to
find his place in the world, his support for his family is unwavering,
making this role one of the most sympathetic and yet powerful roles the
talented actor has ever faced.
Once again, Shyamalan gets unbelievably powerful performances from his
artistes in this movie. Rory Culkin, playing Graham's son in the movie, as
well as Abigial Breslin, give such emotion filled performances that it
really surprises us that Shyamalan can extract performances of this
Even Cherry Jones, who plays the local police officer, puts in a realistic
and heartfelt performance as the local police officer in Graham's
Finally, Shyamalan himself makes a mark in the film. His role is an
essential one and yet does not require many scenes. Shyamalan pulls them
with full ease and power.
If you try and compare "Signs" to any previous movies you may be able to
find some ground from this movie in Shyamalan's first movie, "The Sixth
Sense". However, in terms of comparisons, this is where they end.
knows how to create and move in terms of environment, which is very
important for all his movies. Shyamalan's direction is powerful and really
gets under the skin of the characters.
Being a thriller, Shyamalan has used an older technique, where he uses
comedy to offset a particular mood, even in the gravest of scenes.
pulls this off extremely well, even as the screenplay pulls into
moments. It takes a brilliant filmmaker to do something like this even
the mood of the scene is totally contrasting to that of what the audience
Its something refreshing to see a brand new director like Shyamalan using
the rules of filmmaking that have been forgotten by many of the newer
filmmakers these days into making something so powerful and so
different for the summer. While many new filmmakers base their movies on
subjects that really don't take any risks, Shyamalan has made a seemingly
new genre, one of self exploration and discovery while in the face of fear
or adversity. There is no other film like this one, as it takes two genres
and really powers itself into making a seemingly hard hitting combination.
Even the title of the film has a meaning, as the signs are everywhere.
are subtle and hidden messages everywhere, from the scene where Merill is
the Army office and the Recruiter is speaking, or the flashback sequences
which Mel Gibson has of a particular incident in his life.
This film is unlike any other film to have ever come out in the genre of
supernatural thriller or drama. Its something that lets you leave the
thinking truly that in this life there are no coincidences and things
for a reason. As Gibson said in the film, there are two kinds of people.
There are those who believe that everything happens for a reason and that
are not alone; and there are those who believe that we live in
solitude. There are people with faith and without it. He now has to figure
out which group he belongs to, and so he does in the chilling climax.
The film is one of the most powerful pieces of cinema I have witnessed and
simply put is a much watch.
Rating: 10 out of 10
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