He has regained some favor with the public and critics thanks to a succession of notable films (some excellent) on a smaller scale but the same fantastic illusion as always. However, there was a point where M. Night Shyamalan was talked about almost in derisive terms, even before his failed blockbusters. His tendency to surprise endings or the twists already had more significance than the movies themselves.
And some of those twists have been deadly ridiculed. Whether they have reasoned motives or not, they have dragged out films that, precisely thanks to these revelations, end up magnifying the story that ends up being told, making them more than worth reviewing and finding deep questions about the human experience. I could be talking about ‘The Sixth Sense’, but I’d rather talk about ‘The Forest’.
There will be no peace in the town
Available via Disney+, this may be the film that began to completely fracture the relationship between Shyamalan and the general public (you can imagine why, given the preamble above). The director poses a tale of folk horror with some gothic and interesting details social and even political issues that continue to resonate todayeven if it seems incredible.
The film introduces us to the life of a rural community in the United States that follows a series of strict rules in order to survive. There in the forest that surrounds them are a series of strange and monstrous beings that threaten them periodically. However, the young adults of the village, played by Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard, have a desire for exploration and discovery that will clash with the ideology of the town and put their lives at risk.
Going into what makes ‘The Forest’ great is complicated without going fully into the great final revelation that, more than a twist, confirms the things that did not fit in this town. There is, of course, aspects more in plain sight that are worth praising. The careful lyricism with which Shyamalan develops rural life, the setting with mists and tension, the wonderful aesthetics that accentuates the photography of Roger Deakins, the careful group of characters.
‘The forest’: tale of the past
‘The forest’ is a terrifying story, but not by the monsters that are in plain sight. Through that touch of a dark tale and a story of a village shared around a bonfire, Shyamalan makes a fascinating study of the human tendency towards seclusion and conservatism, the recovery of an idealized past in moments of deep uncertainty or social panic. . Also the ease of creating monstrous enemies from abroad.
A story strongly influenced by the political environment in the America of George W. Bush and the jump to the war in Iraq, which continues to have its tentacles at the present time. Both politically and culturally. Movies like ‘Don’t worry my dear’ flirt with similar ideas in their analogies, showing how Shyamalan is still ahead of his time. A factor to be added to the incredible care he takes when it comes to narrating and the devastating story he develops.
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