Signs by M. Night Shyamalan, one of my favorite films. It's beautifully done - the characters are full of depth and fly off the screen as more than two-dimensional placeholders for aliens and big budget special effects.
This film has heart - a deeply spiritual picture that makes us choose between coincidence and miracles, the terrific acting by Gibson, Phoenix and company only add to it.
For the record, I don't understand people who don't enjoy Signs (or Shyamalan's work in general). He is one of the greatest directors we have right now - and he's got a long, bright future ahead of him. His upcoming release, Lady In The Water, will be his seventh film, and I honestly can't wait to see what comes from his mind next.
In an industry that's currently bogged down with overdone blockbusters and unnecessary remakes, Shyamalan is bringing creative, original films into theaters - and I couldn't ask for more. His Hitchcock-inspired style never disappoints.
I think there needs to be a "Cinematic Great Awakening." This movement would include establishing a new standard for which movies are judged and critiqued on, because I personally believe most people who say films are good or bad base these ratings solely on their own biased opinions. Films should be more that just bright, flashing lights that keep your eyes occupied for a couple hours - you should put your whole heart into the film, let it engulf you and move you.
Next time you watch a film - focus on the narrative, cast aside the big budget special effects and the over-the-top fight choreography. Pay attention to how the characters develop and how your heart is effected by the story. Do I like Star Wars because of lightsabers and spaceships and aliens? No. I love the mythological morality tale that is at its core - the struggle of good and evil, the love of a father to a son. That is what film is about.
Do I like King Kong because of amazing CGI and fight scenes between giant apes and dinosaurs? Well, yes - but those scenes are nothing compared to the intimate moments between Ann and Kong - where the heart truly lies.
The heart of Signs can be found in one of my favorite scenes - Graham (Gibson) and Merrill (Phoenix) are sitting on the couch watching the lights in the sky:
Graham: People break down into two groups when they experience something lucky. Group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them.
Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I'm sure the people in Group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation is fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people.
But there's a whole lot of people in group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope.
So what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?
Merrill: I'm a miracle man.
Graham: There is no one looking out for us. We are all alone.