August 2, 2004
An Open Epistle to One Night Shyamalan: 'Tis true, thine Village is but a mess, and rightly so


Ah, neighbor! Fear not that I shall spoil the contents of this tale, this Village, by Mr. M. Night Shyamalan, who is of the East Indian Colony descent. To spoil this particular collection of moving images would be to sully and tarnish what may, in other circumstances, be considered the very first adult-oriented dramatic work by Mr. Night (but, wait, shall I refer to him as Mr. Night? Or Mr. Shyamalan? Do tell....where has my Manual of Victorian Protocols and Civilised Behaviors gone?).

Alas, it's already been predestined that this work has been sullied and tarnished by prior hands...the hands, in fact, of The Village's very creator. For what was, during the course of its first two acts—and, dare I say, well into its third—a fairly well-tailored, though not strikingly philosophical, manifestation of an adult morality tale conveying the struggles of a responsible people moving towards the 20th century, rapidly descended into ill-suited pablum of the worst bearing. It's the twist, you see, that did this so. The twist. A common gimmick, a device of unscrupulous origins, better served by carnival barkers and those who peddle ill-advised medicinal herbs and the like (and others of such questionable ilk and lower standing).

A truly gifted story-teller should, nay, would know when not to wield such gimmickry. I put forth these opinions not because I believe that this or any other thing was so because I thought so, but only because I did think so and I want to be quite candid about all I thought and did. These were my thoughts about The Village. I thought I often observed besides how right our story's guide was in what he had said (and what he had drawn for us onscreen), and that the uncertainties and fears on my part, that he would behave as he had in the past, and undermine my newly-restored faith in his skills as a narrator, would cheapen this current work so...

And then, his twist. His cursed twist, brought forth unto his audience like a wanton harlot, ravaged by storytellers of lesser merits, and thrown to the pack of judicious scoundrels who perhaps feared having to sit through two hours (by my pocket watch) of well-considered ideological narrative.

I've imparted to his nature this bit of ill-gotten reliance on commonplace conventionality, and I thus entreat him to explain his motives. And I may render a new line of consideration, as well: Where were the Negroes amongst the townspeople of this Covington Village? Pray tell, why would this assembled gathering of families and individuals take flight from the ravages of urban life, with its concomitant looting and violence and savage rapes and murders aplenty, and not one of those hailing from this Philadelphia region of the Pennsylvanian state would not be of the peach-hued variety?

(In my many travels, I have heard the rhymes of that city's great Roots band, and they are not of the peach-hued variety.)

Who, then, goes into the woods and hides from "hordes of destruction" but those with fear and prejudice coarsing through their hearts? Why, White Supremacists, they might be called, and rightly so! And should the dusky-hued venture into such a town, would they not find themselves dangling from trees, cheeks bulging forth like overripened fruit? Strange fruit, indeed.

I ask of you, in the absence of modern lighting, do not flaming crosses illuminate a town such as this?

Mr. Shyamalan, you have some explaining to do. I should hope to receive your rejoinder, post marked with the utmost haste, delivered upon my doorstep and stamped with your signet within the fortnight.

If not, I can only conclude one thing: not only do twists you bring about, but you be twisted yourself.

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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