Wednesday, 23 March 2011

How the mighty fall - and achieving perfection

A couple of days ago I watched M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening for the first time. In a sense it was a reasonably good film. I can say this because I said I'd watch the first 10 minutes then go to bed, and stayed up for the whole thing. However it was extremely flawed, not just in the hokey main premise, but in the creaking ending that could have been seen coming a mile away. How far this is from Night's (as I like to think of him) masterpiece. What I hadn't realized until I looked him up on IMDB was that he was also responsible for the truly awful Last Airbender - this is a man on a serious downhill curve.

But surely he can do better again. I challenge anyone who has seen The Sixth Sense to argue that this isn't a brilliant movie. (If you haven't seen it, get hold of it this week. But don't let anyone tell you what happens first.) This has one of the most cleverly crafted structures, building to a stunning reveal I've ever seen in a film. However, I do think there was one thing he should have done differently to achieve perfection. (If you haven't seen the movie, you can tune out now, because this will be meaningless, but shouldn't give away the plot.)

There was one scene that I watched thinking 'Why are they doing that? These people wouldn't do that!' What happened made sense in terms of the underlying plot, but was wrong in terms of the immediate storyline. Malcolm Crowe, played by Bruce Willis, and the boy, take a bus to visit some house or other. 'You'd never see a professional man in the US catching a bus,' I thought while watching it. To make it work, old Nightie should have put them in a taxi, not a bus. But hey, it's easy to be critical after the event.

So, how about coming up with something equal clever, M? You know you've got it in you. Here's a little reminder of how to do it:

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