Saturday, February 05, 2005
Ideas Bouncng Around In "The Village"
We watched "The Village" by Shyamalan from Netflix. (By the way, I love Netflix; I spend much less time selecting the movies that my family watches. I used to take trip to the video store and spend significant time deciding what meets our standards and what does not.) Usually we don't do horror. The Village is very scary but like his other films is more on the suspense and twisty plot side rather than the occult and slasher side of things.
Warning: Spoiler Alert!
Stop reading if you don't want any hint of spoilers.
The ideas behind the film are quite intriguing. The village elders have resolved to leave contact from the outside world. They explain it that there are evil people in the towns not so far away AND "those who they don't speak of" are a real threat. Most of the film I was trying to decide what kind of utopian community this would be. Is it Amish, but in the future? Are they Momons? The way religion was discussed I decided it was not any of these. A fantastic mechanism for the movie was also the language used. The way the characters spoke, it made me think of those statements made by the unfortunate parents of Elizabeth Smart.
The message of the film was something like this, just because a fear is based on illusion does not mean its wrong. Society may explain a fear in one way, but that may mostly be an illusion. The illusion serves a function though to protect and bond. I had a relative who used to scare her children by telling them the "boogie man" would get them. She used this device to keep her children from wondering off into the dark from her country home. Of course Shyamalan does not attempt to fully answer the questions, just raise them but I get the idea that he thinks we should not hastily dismiss society fears on a subject just because we would call it a myth. I believe some people would see the Christian idea of hell as a myth which can function to keep people in line, keep them from acting on their evil impulses and give the ultimate threat. "Even if you think you can get away with it, God will not be fooled", is the ultimate power message. If I thought heaven and hell were a mere useful myth, I would not bother with faith as an institution. The God who brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt and paid for my sins on the cross is not the God who is empowered merely by the illusion of power but actually has it.
The "village idiot" becomes a main character. He becomes the one who causes evil. I'm not sure if there is some deeper meaning intended there. I hope there is not a negative message regarding the mentally handicapped. I don't think so but I am not sure what the message is actually supposed to be. The fellow who is the village idiot appears to by mentally retarded in his speech, his emotional response to others and his interests. His actions are extremely sophisticated. Sophisticated in calculating his actions and the cherades he plays.
Look for a future post relating to "The Village" as it relates to withdrawing from society.