Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Richard Lopez comments below on Signs. he's more knowledgeable about movies, more thougtfully prepared to discuss them. still, I have a keyboard and fingers, and an urge to process publicly. I don't really disagree with his view of the movie, except that I liked the thing a lot. saying that uncovers the limitations of my movie aesthetic. I almost never accept a movie's serious face value. I dislike the practiced resolutions of fiction in general and specific. I'm really taken by the interplay of the 4 main characters in Signs. the boy is mopey, the girl eccentric, the brother goofy, and all 3 are charming. the father, the minister who has lost his faith--Mel Gibson, that is (and it won't be easy to ignore Mel the anti-semitic drunk, just as I'll never watch Seinfeld again without thinking of Kramer drowning in flop sweat)--maintains a dry humour, especially with his kids. Shyamalian plays them together superbly. I'll go to the mat on that point. at several places the plot seems rushed, which it probably is. Shyamalian spent quite a bit of time letting the family develope before our eyes, thus he had to shorthand the story. I'll accept that. I find the implicative rush of plot the downfall of movies and novels. the pale, frail imitation of life that plot entails so often distracts from the characters and the words they speak. and the gravy train lessons that one must take from the plot's purposeful striding is often malarkey. when you watch a movie again, or reread a novel, you no longer have the surprise of plot to pull you. the way the characters present themselves, and how the narration stands on the structure: these are what attracts the imagination. so I'm fine with the holes in plot and the nervy necessity of a fine resolution in Signs. my interest is elsewhere.