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Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Village


****

Set in a village of settlers, the film sees Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard), the blind daughter of a village Elder (William Hurt), set off into woods supposedly filled with deadly, almost demonic, monsters, as she heads for a town where she can get medicine for fiancee Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix), after stab wounds he recieves get infected. However, her journey has some shocking revelations about the truth of her "village".

Throughout, this is a tense and gripping piece of cinema. The film's titular village live in fear of the red cloaked creatures/monsters which supposedly live in the woods, and one of the most tense scenes sees one come into the village. Through careful cinematography, with sharp editing, strongly focused areas and a tense score on the violin, tension is really built up within the heart of the viewer, a kind of creeping dread one could call it; and the fact that a scene such as this is so dimly lit means you don't know where the monster will come from, which only serves to make it more tense. Clever cinematography, dim lighting and a tense score on the violin are used throughout in order to make this film consistently eerie and dark, so much so one does occasionally question the 12 rating.

The film also boasts an excellent cast, whom all give very strong performances. Bryce Dallas Howard gives a superb performance as Ivy. It is always hard for an actress with 20:20 vision to play a blind character, but Howard steps up to the role, neither over exaggerating, nor understating the character's blindness. As for the character's emotions, Howard unleashes on screen a powerful and passionate performance making wholly convincing raw emotion, and one is really taken in by her. Joaquin Phoenix makes Lucius very heartfelt, and has great on screen chemistry with Howard, making a powerful on screen relationship.
However, the most powerful performance comes from Adrien Brody, as Ivy's (well) retarded, best friend Noah. Brody puts great energy into creating the childlike character, making the child in a man's body so scarily convincing and heartfelt. His performance creats comedy when Noah plays, pathos when Noah is scared and/or upset, and shock is when evil and jealousy take over the character's heart.

As strong a film as this is due to the above mentioned elements, this film is ultimately a representation of the human heart and how man follows his heart's desire. The Elders who formed the village are a powerful representation of how man's desire to live a simple, generally carefree life, free of evil, can be focused on a bit too much; Ivy represents somebody driven forwards, motivated by love, and how this drive would help her break free of the boundaries within her life; Noah is an example of somebody who can't control his emotions at all, and commits evil as a result; to name some. It is this which makes The Village such a humane film, which shows just how deep the human heart and human psychology goes.


2004.
12.
Stars:
Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Brendan Gleeson, Sigourney Weaver, Cherry Jones, Celia Weston, Frank Collison, Jayne Atkinson, Jesse Eisenberg, Judy Greer, Fran Kranz, Liz Stauber, Michael Pitt, Charlie Hofheimer.

Oscar nomination: Best Original Score (James Newton Howard).

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