The Village emphasizes atmosphere over narrative, making it all the more unfortunate that talk regarding it always centres around the twist ending, or its "ineffectiveness" as a thriller. When it's clearly not a film that sets out to create thrills as its main goal, but to use its setting—a creation held together through fear by those who were afraid—as backdrop of a blind and sacrificial struggle towards/for love.
I presume many people go into a Shyamalan film with a pre-conceived idea that he is a hack, and that the film will be awful. Shame really, because The Village is a beautiful, masterful film, and his best work in my opinion.
M. Night Shyamalan is the preeminent melancholy auteur of our times. The public continues to fix all their attention on "Village's" divisive ending, overlooking the fact that the film is one of the most moving and emotionally powerful works of the new millennium. This is the rare Hollywood movie in which love is depicted as a pure, elemental force - a single hand reaching out into the void, sustained only by faith.
When I first viewed this movie I absolutely hated it, I saw nothing good in it and I hated the twist. A friend pushed me to rewatch it and I have to say I was completely wrong. This is an incredible film, I found myself smiling many times at the sweetness, and feeling the tension between Hurt and Weaver. The switch of protagonist is shocking and works incredibly well. Look at it as a love story in a scary world.
Watching it again after so many years—and during a time when the very name M. Night Shyamalan elicits suspicion (snickers?)—I'm happy to report that THE VILLAGE is an equisitely crafted film about an elemental and pure love. Shyamalan may have fallen from grace, but it's not for lack of trying. As a métier and dramaturgist, he's in the full form here. Unequivocally romantic, THE VILLAGE may just be his best work.