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From M. Night Shyamalan, the writer/director of THE SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE, comes the story of the Hess family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, who wake up one morning to find a 500-foot crop circle in their backyard. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) and his family are told extraterrestrials are responsible for the sign in their field. They watch, with growing dread, the news of crop circles being found all over the world. SIGNS is the emotional story of one family on one farm as they encounter the terrifying last moments of life as the world is being invaded. "It's easy for a filmmaker to blow up the world -- but what Shyamalan does is much riskier. He tries to blow our minds. I was engaged by every inch of SIGNS." - Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.
This B movie with noble aspirations is the work of a gifted filmmaker whose storytelling falls short of his considerable stylistic flair. While addressing crises of faith in the framework of an alien-invasion thriller, M. Night Shyamalan (in his follow-up to The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) favors atmospheric tension over explanatory plotting. He injects subtle humor into expertly spooky scenes, but the story suffers from too many lapses in logic. The film's faults are greatly compensated by the performance of Mel Gibson as a widower whose own crisis of faith coincides with the appearance of mysterious crop circles in his Pennsylvania cornfield... and hundreds of UFOs around the globe. With his brother (Joaquin Phoenix) and two young children (Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin), the lapsed minister perceives this phenomenal occurrence as a series of signs and portents, while Shyamalan pursues a spookfest with War of the Worlds overtones. It's effective to a point, but vaguely hollow at its core. --Jeff ShannonSee all Product Description
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Hollywood's mentality has long been the bigger the explosion the bigger the return, and in an age of special effects and showing off what they can do on the computer (take note, George Lucas), Shyamalan bypassed all that and harkened back to a time when the most important thing was the story. Shyamalan constructed the film around the history and idiosyncracies of the family using everyday things such as half-filled glasses, a baby monitor, and other like things. When Spielberg directed Jaws, he learned that by not showing the shark that much made the film much more effective (admittedly, this realisation came to be because JAWS was such a production disastor). In a time when we have the specials effects to envision anything you could possibly dream, this film aptly illustrates that just because you have the technology it doesn't mean you have to use it to tell a good story. The old adage of "less is more" fits wonderfully here. Another wonderful example that incorporates technology without sacrificing the story or characters is Minority Report.
What is so remarkable about Signs' plot? It's the fact that the characters exist in their own right and never feel like just plot devices or mouthpieces. Mel Gibson plays an apostate preacher who suddenly has to handle the fact that crop circles are appearing in his corn field.Read more ›
Merrill originally moved in with his older brother and his niece and nephew to help Graham recover from the death of his beloved wife, Colleen, six months ago when Ray Reddy, a veterinarian, fell asleep at the wheel at night and accidentally crashed Colleen into a nearby tree. Merrill also came to help be something of a second parent to the two children. Life out in the Pennsylvania countryside for the Hesses is relatively normal, until their dogs, Houdini and Isabelle---along with many others animals in the area---begin acting strange, violent. But the strangest of all the occurrences is the mysterious crop circles miraculously forming in their cornfields.
As Graham struggles to make his own relationship with Morgan stronger, as it has been failing ever since Colleen's tragic death, the skeptical part of the world struggles to come to terms with the fact that aliens are coming to this planet... and fast. While Morgan truly believes that the extraterrestrial are coming, convincing both Merrill and Bo with Bo's old baby monitory in which they pick of alien signals, and using a textbook written all about other life-forms, Graham desperately clings to the belief that this is just an extremely elaborate global hoax.Read more ›
The film asks the the timeless and difficult question that philosophers and theologians have asked for centuries. Is the world is just a hodgepodge of chance and coincidence, and therefore, meaningless, or is the universe guided by some metaphysical force, implying a purpose to everything that happens. Are we on our own, at the mercy of a cruel and unjust universe, or is there someone looking out for our welfare?
The director uses the alien theme to create a suspeneseful scenario ala Hitchcock, but infuses it with a profound, underlying structure ala Ingmar Bergman. He also throws in mystical elements such as the healing and life giving power of water ala director Tom Tykwer (of "The Princess and the Warrior" fame). The many layers produce a complex and thought-provoking film that should not be missed.
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An excellent flick which maintained my interest right to the end. Mel Gibson needs acting lessons.Published 12 months ago by Leonard Tedds
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