Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #246 Signs

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Movie #246 Signs

(2002, US, d. M. Night Shyamalan)

Signs is one of the better alien movies around, and not because it’s scary, but because it’s very, very human. It tells the story of Graham Hess (played by Mel Gibson), a preacher who has lost his faith after losing his wife in a car accident. One day, he begins to discover strange crop circles among the corn growths on his property. As the signs begin to appear all over the world, it’s obvious something more sinister is in the works. Most people agree Signs is a very tense film, but because Shyamalan has (until that point, at leas) proven himself to be a master suspense storyteller, he knows the story is about tension. Instead, he focuses on the Hess family, each reacting to the loss of their mother differently. Shyamalan never fully explains certain alien phenomena or even shows them, simply because he knows the story is about the family. But in doing so, he creates an incredibly tense atmosphere. He has the audience listening to absolute silence, trying to make out something distinguishable. He has us on the edge of our seat observing absolutely nothing at all. Roger Ebert, in his review of the film, said it best: “M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs” is the work of a born filmmaker, able to summon apprehension out of thin air. When it is over, we think not how little has been decided, but how much has been experienced. Here is a movie in which the plot is the rhythm section, not the melody. A movie that stays free of labored explanations and a forced climax, and is about fear in the wind, in the trees, in a dog’s bark, in a little girl’s reluctance to drink the water. In signs.”

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