The Bag Means Your Mind

A delightful mix of insightful comments and ignorant assumptions about screenwriting... and such.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Tell Graham"

The movie Signs is anything but subtle. From frame one Shyamalan busts out the ol' Theme Hammer (tm) and bashes the viewer into a fine paste. Now if you are like me, not only do you not mind this drubbing, you welcome it with open arms. It occurred to me that Shyamalan is largely preaching to the choir in this movie. It either speaks to you and you repeatedly throw your hands up and offer a hearty "hallelujah" or you don't buy into it at all and wonder why all these people are so happily bludgeoned by an Indian from Philadelphia.

It's a valid question. I can only say that when a film does something very right, you tend to be forgiving. Signs pushes my buttons in all the right ways. I am Shyamalan's bitch for 106 minutes. And that's how I want to be with every movie I see. I want someone to rope me in with a story and make me clamor to see the next scene. It's why I love movies and why people like those "book" things I hear so much about.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Oh, and spoilers ahead, so beware. Nestled in all the blatant symbolism and heavy-handed dialog is a subtle line. "Tell Graham..." I love this line because it suggests a lot. It moves from Graham's wife merely having a psychic experience close to the grave to perhaps maybe Graham getting a message directly from God. I find the notion intriguing.

Turns out I'd much rather contemplate "Tell Graham" or the possibility that there are no coincidences than why a race of aliens would come to a planet comprised mostly of stuff that will kill them, or why they need crop circles to communicate, or why they can come a zillion miles through space and get locked in a simple pantry, or any number of logical problems that cause people to construct elaborate M. Night voodoo dolls.

But that's just me.

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