SIGNS     - A    Narada    Film Review

   MEL GIBSON as  
   Graham Hess, and  
   RORY CULKIN as
   his son, Morgan. 
  
   An actual  
   cornfield.  
     
   JOAQUIN PHOENIX as   
   Merrill Hess, and   
   MEL GIBSON.
SIGNS - M Night Shyamalan - Producer, Director, Screenwriter, Actor

  Reviewed 26 Aug 2002       As Producer, Director and 'Screenplaywrite', M Night Shyamalan, who obviously likes that overlong, artsy-phartsy name, has fallen into one of Hollywood's most facile ego-traps; the "Little God Syndrome".   Like many before him, he truly believes he can be all things to all people.   (See also failure-in-kind George Lucas, who produced, directed and did the screenplay for Star Wars - Episode II.)   But if this wasn't enough, Shyamalan has, incredibly, decided he would also act in SIGNS.    Hitchkock got away with it, because he was nearly invisible; Quentin Tarantino failed miserably because he wasn't - there's a lesson there somewhere, you dimwits.
       It has been said, "The ONLY cause of disappointment is unrealistic expectations."    And there were huge sectors of the moviegoing population that were expecting an exciting, thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, and there were an even greater number expecting, nay, demanding Shyamalan come to the rescue at the last minute with one of his hallmark surprise twist endings.   Fools.   It didn't even START to happen - instead we got a watered down, non-sequitur redo of War Of The Worlds, and an aggravatingly tenuous 'spiritual motivation' story of a fallen preacher who might, just might, maybe, regain his faith by the end of the movie....
       Acting was excellent (even Mel Gibson's was above average), but the stars were Abigail Breslin playing the part of Bo, the cutest kid in the world, and a highly underrated Cherry Jones as the cop with the human touch.    Joaquin Phoenix as Merrill Hess shines with low-key excellence.
        Enduring Line Or Phrase:   "Is 'douche-bag' a curse?"

Reviewed by Narada for Bangkok Eyes - 26 Aug 2002 2002, Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com

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