Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Lady in the Water Review: 5/10
Shyamalan takes a stab at making a fairy tale film, and while he doesn't completely blow it, he never quite hits the mark either. Giamatti and Howard put in great performances, there is a continual sense of wonder and mystery amidst the mundane surroundings and denizens of "The Cove" but the film doesn't flow with the same ease as Shyamalan's other works. It's definitely not the complete piece of trash many critics labeled it. I think with a greater sense of surreality the film would have worked better. Shyamalan's ultra-realistic cinematic style was ill suited to the fairy tale. Whereas in his previous films his characters reacted in the way people would assume one would when presented with fantastic events. Here, the characters' unconditional acceptance of the wondrous events taking place is difficult to accept given the very real-world setting they perform their lives in. The creation by the writer of Anglo-sounding words such as 'narf' and 'scrunt' in an ostensibly Korean legend seemed boldly anachronistic to me, and stole more of the film's already shaky verisimilitude. Ultimately, the film requires the same sort of childlike faith Clevelan Heep has to watch without rolling ones eyes. Otherwise you'll just be shaking your head and saying, "nobody would do that in real life." And you'd be right. But "Lady in the Water" isn't real life. It's a bedtime story. Keep that in mind and you'll do just fine.