Wednesday, July 26, 2006

 

Overindulgent Lady

I knew Lady in the Water, the latest effort from director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village) was off to a bad start when a short animated pre-title sequence (using stick figures to explain the backstory of this fable) was utterly confusing. Once the live action begins, it doesn't get much better. This is Shyamalan's most indulgent film to date, underscored by the extended role he himself plays as a writer who is told that his work will change the world! (Shyamalan has, a la Hitchcock, always cast himself in cameo roles in his films. Never has he had so much screen time.) Perhaps he should have called this film The Lady in the Water, the Wolves in the Grass and the Monkeys in the Trees, as these creatures are talked about endlessly throughout the film, with no satisfying payoff. The characters here just seem to be going through the paces as well, and the film itself isn't sure if it wants to be self-referential comedy (like Scream) or a serious parable on the nature of man and the universe. The result is kinda a mess.

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