Monday, July 19, 2010

The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan, 2008)

M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t made a decent film in awhile, and it looks like it will be a while longer. His latest film foray finds Mark Wahlberg (Max Payne, The Lovely Bones) and Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man, 500 Days of Summer) teaming up against a natural disaster that is systematically wiping out the country’s population.

When masses of people start committing suicide, those unaffected must try to figure out the cause, and how to stop it. This film was written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, and as a result, it seems a bit stale. The only ideas in this film came from M. Night, and this film desperately needed some new ideas. There are some interesting sequences, like the handgun sequence, but it is taken too far which lessens its meaning.

Mark Wahlberg plays Elliot Moore, a high school science teacher. He is clearly too much of a ‘strong-type’ to fit within the confines of this role. Zooey Deschanel plays Elliot’s wife, Alma. Both Wahlberg and Deschanel turn in good performances, but these performances do not fit with the movie, the actors and director appear to be out of sync with one another.

The plot is not at all believable, and it is obvious that M. Night is trying too hard to get his beliefs across that the movie suffers. This film has a lot of room for improvement. One area M. Night Shyamalan needs no improvement in is advertising his films. His trailers generally manage to inspire people to watch his movies; he just needs to learn how to follow through. A self-proclaimed master of twists, M. Night Shyamalan’s twist in this film is this: there is absolutely nothing happening.

Rating: 4/10

© Nate Phillipps 2008

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