Now I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding this guy but hey, isn’t a little controversy once in a while a good thing? That’s right, I’m talking about Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan or M. Night Shyamalan as he is known professionally. Love him or hate him, one thing you must admit is that you’ve probably seen or at least heard of one of his movies. I mean, “The Sixth Sense” was nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. As of late, Mr. Shyamalan’s success has been less than stellar. None of the movies he’s been associated with since “Sixth” have even come close to reaching the mainstream success it did. Does that mean M. Night’s day is done? Is he forever banished to the land of suck? NO! M. Night’s movies do not suck. Here's why.
M. Night Shyamalan has an amazing way of immersing us into the world of his movies. While watching, you feel less like you’re on the outside looking in, and more like you’re a silent member of the cast, standing just out of frame. One of the ways I think he accomplishes this is by his use of color.
In his classic The Sixth Sense, he intentionally inserts bright red objects to symbolize that something ominous is about to happen.
In “Unbreakable” it was neon green and purple...
And in “The Village," colors again play a major role, with red attracting the monsters, and yellow keeping them away...
He Writes His Own Stuff And Sticks To His Guns
In 2006, in spite of Disney (the studio for which he had made his biggest previous films) rejecting his script over content issues, M. Night commented that they "no longer valued individualism... no longer valued fighters." He released “Lady in the Water” on July 21st with Warner Brothers Studio. All predictions indicated to M. Night that this movie was going to bomb; in fact, The New York Post wrote that the film was "dead in the water", criticizing Shyamalan as a "crackpot with messianic delusions." But he went ahead and did it anyway, following through on a promise he made to his children, that he would make their favorite bedtime story into a movie to share with other children. And for thumbing his nose at the industry and doing something to make his kids happy, he doesn’t suck.
Despite what you think about his skill as a director or an actor, you have to admit that his script writing skills are second to none. Despite whether or not the films received critical success, they were all superbly written. Aside from the “twists” he’s become famous for, M. Night has a way of creating characters that you can identify with. Whether it’s the security guard who knows deep down that he was meant for something more, the Father who loses his faith in the face of a horrible accident or the town leader who must reveal a hidden secret in order to save the man his daughter loves, something about his characters make us take a look inside ourselves and ask, what would I do in that situation, would I do the “right” thing?
Love him or hate him, M. Night gets the best of the best to work with. From Hollywood royalty such as Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson to Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo, it seems that Mr. Shyamalan has an uncanny way of assembling amazing people to work on his movies, even pushing actors out of their comfort zones ala Adrien Brody in “The Village," who plays a mentally handicapped man, or Bruce Willis stepping out of his tough guy persona to play a sensitive therapist in “The Sixth Sense." (Not to mention the fact that Bryce Dallas Howard is drop dead gorgeous and kind of looks like Christina Hendricks!)
So like I said earlier, whether you love him or hate him, most people have an opinion. Which, in a society where apathy seems to be spreading faster than Bird Flu, gives him a plus one in my Column. After a few not-so-successful trips to the box office, I have no doubts that “Devil” (the newest treat from Mr. Shyamalan) will be a hit. The story revolves around a group of people trapped in an elevator who realize that the Devil is among them. “Devil” is shaping up to be a who’s who guessing game filled with intrigue. Just watch out for the guy in the horns with the pitchfork and pointy tail. (SPOILER ALERT!)
Think you know who the Devil is? Put your clairvoyance to work and vote for your choice in the Poll on the Facebook page.