- M. Night Shyamalan
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, September 25, 2002
The movie starts with a bang. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) is a widower who used to be a reverend but lost his faith when his wife was accidentally killed. He has two kids (Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin) and a brother (Joaquin Phoenix) who lives with them. One sunny morning they wake up to find that strange figures have been made in their crops. Thus starts the movie and Iím not saying one more word.
Signs is, so far, the most accomplished movie of the year. While I was watching it I couldnít stop thinking that M. Night Shyamalan must be a genius. I went into the movie expecting a scary experience about aliens and nothing more. But nothing would have prepared me for what I actually got. I think this is just about the best amalgam of comedy, drama and suspense I have seen in my entire life. Iím not kidding. The movie has a macabre and dark sense of humor that had me in stitches. It also has scenes towards the end that had me crying. And it was the scariest experience in a theater Iíve had in a long time.
But wait a minute! The movie is also way more profound than it appears in the surface. Itís amazing how Shyamalan takes such old and silly subjects as ghosts, super-heroes and aliens and gives them a thoughtful and real spin. I love his last three movies, but I definitely think Signs is his best. And one of the reasons for that is that besides entertaining he also has something to say. The way he tackles the theme of faith is different yet absolutely poignant.
Both The Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000) had plot twists at the end. Signs does not boast one per se, but opts for a different kind of finale. Itís also about a revelation, but I sensed it was more about a moment of realization than about something that changes the whole perspective of what weíve seen. I say, it is brilliant.
Kudos should also go to the people responsible for the marketing campaign of the movie. They revealed only the necessary and still managed to tease audiences.
James Newton Howard provides a Herrmann-esque score that is a revelation. Totally appropriate and expertly handled.
And last but not least the performances, which are all top-notch. Mel Gibson delivers a more restrained performance than usual in what is one of his best works yet. You can sense his pain and can see through his eyes. Itís the work of a great actor. And Joaquin Phoenix is outstanding as always. This guy is just immensely talented. Let the good roles keep coming for him!
At the end it all comes down to M. Night Shyamalan, director/writer/producer and even actor of Signs. Thanks man, thanks.
ďThereís a monster outside my room, can I have a glass of water?Ē
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