Monday, August 07, 2006

Lady in the Water - is the jury in yet?

I had the opportunity of watching the movie under two different circumstances. The first time, it was with a more eager group of Shyamalan fans that perhaps weren't looking for a really scary movie. The second time was with a group that clearly expected to be scared and weren’t. As a result of this difference primarily, I think I enjoyed it the first time a lot more...

My perspective is a lot more balanced though as a result.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed watching it. It didn't take itself too seriously and was an interesting plot with very colorful characters to flesh it out. The acting was generally good and (as much as some seem to think otherwise) there were few, if any, loose ends.

There was one potential loose end that I didn’t end up putting together until the second viewing. It stuck out like a sore thumb until I was able to explain it. The point where the usually silent Mr. Leeds asks the question of Cleveland: “Does man deserve to be saved.”

Cleveland answers immediately in the affirmative, but is obviously confused. Is he, however, confused by Mr. Leeds’ question or by his own quick answer? It was probably the answer because that was supposed to be a clue to his identity in the story. His part (I’ll refrain from naming it) was supposed to be “full of hope.” The reason his affirmative answer should stick out to us is because by this time we know about his tragic past, and expect him to be despairing about the state of man.

Will anyone who's seen it be angry with me when I say that the best part in the whole movie was also the most morbid? (Mr. Farber's last part in the movie) I laughed plenty loud... I just found it to be such a perfect blend of self-conscious comic relief and also a vicious jab at anyone who thinks they know what should happen in any given story. To top it all off, I the outcome of that part actually surprise many people.

What was wrong:

To be quite honest, I think the worst acting came from the director--he didn't script his own lines very well, so his first major acting part in his own films ended up being somewhat flat. The sibling infighting wasn't very clever and sounded at some parts quite overdone.

Mr. Farber was somewhat more likable than he should have been considering his quick exit. I mean, while he was thoroughly cynical and arrogant as can be, he still admitted to enjoying the company of another resident and tried to help (albeit in ignorance and arrogance) Cleveland find what he needed. For the amount of screen time he got, that's pretty significant. But I shouldn't take this too far or I'll end up defending someone based on their extremely limited merits. Does anyone really deserve to survive any movie?

There is one other major complaint that I heard from a friend: He was upset that a seemingly good idea ended up being so poorly fleshed out. For example, he would have preferred that the myriad of trivial things in the movie had more significance and unity as in a classic McDonald or Lewis story. Not a bad thing to want I'm sure. But again, this movie doesn't take itself that seriously and at the same time comes in somewhat above par for the typical "bedtime story" of our day. Not long, but still was able to develop the interesting quirks of a large number of characters (he also complained about general poor scripting).

Any thoughts from the floor?

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Blogger Mike said...

I was one of those who expected a somewhat suspensful movie based on the advertisements that I had seen. I think there were some loose ends left to the imagination to wonder about. I am still not entirely sure exactly what she accomplished by being there either.

7:32 PM, August 07, 2006  
Blogger Gloria said...

Argh!! I want to see that movie!!

9:01 PM, August 07, 2006  
Blogger Jesse said...

Not to promote my blog on your blog or anything, but you just inspired me to write a "review" of sorts about this movie, too.

Ok, that was pretty much promoting my blog on yours.

I'm such a spammer.

8:54 AM, August 08, 2006  
Anonymous Robert said...

Thanks for the spoiler-free review, Mark! I saw a trailer for Unbreakable again the other day, and I was reminded that those who make the previews are never the director and that they typically have an opposite impact from the film. I'll wait to Netfix Lady but still hopeful and enthusiastic.

9:29 AM, August 09, 2006  
Blogger tasha said...

I haven't yet had the opportunity to watch it, so I have no opinion. I'll let you know when I do.

11:12 AM, August 15, 2006  

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