Lady in the Water
dir. by M. Night Shyamalan
Script: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bob Balaban, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cindy Cheung, Freddy Rodríguez, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Giamatti, Sarita Choudhury
Rated : 5 Stars
Ever since The Sixth Sense Shyamalan has been known as the “twist guy” for his film endings; I don’t think that is a fair description. And while you can say that Unbreakable, Signs and The Village all had twists to their endings, the twists weren’t all that important. The films were stories about people, truth, and finding out who you are. The Lady in the water continues in this vein, but at the same time it is a very different type of film. As Shyamalan has said, it is a bedtime story. A fairy tale, for children. So it is, of course, going to be more simplistic and yet at the same time it is more complicated than that.
Cleveland Heep is the superintendent at an apartment complex. But lately he has been having problems with the swimming pool. It seems that someone has been swimming after hours. And one night, after hearing splashes, he heads out to investigate. He slips, and falls into the pool, only to wake later in his home, with a strange young woman sitting near by. She pulled him out of the water, and although grateful, Heep doesnâ€™t think it is proper that she spend too long with him. However as the night passes he comes to realize that she isnâ€™t your average woman, she is a narf, a water nymph-like creature.
In this bedtime story narfs act as guides to people. But for thousands of years they have been unable to be heard. This narf, Story, is trying to contact a writer, with an important message. And so Heep decides to help her. In the process involving many of the complexâ€™s residents. But also learning about the scrunts, creatures who will do anything to stop the narf.
Iâ€™m still not quite sure what I think about this film. I found the beginning a little slow, but that might have been my annoyance at the audience I was with as they seemed to think they were at a comedy and wanted to laugh at everything. Once the film got going however they shut up, and although there was more laughter, it was at appropriate scenes, not simply because they were bored.
There is a nice blend of humour, drama and the odd scare. The constant references to war in the background were maybe a little over the top, but they served a purpose in highlighting the mission and importance of the narf, so I suppose they were necessary. I really enjoyed the character of the film critic, and the little twists and turns that the film and characters took. Plus the scrunt was great. Maybe the special effects werenâ€™t all that special, but the creature design itself was great. And overall the scrunt succeeded in being a menacing, dangerous creature.
He’s hearing the voice of God through a crossword puzzle!
Surprisingly funny in parts I think Iâ€™ll have to go see it again, because its nature makes this film a little hard to â€œgetâ€ right from the outset. Whimsical and odd, Iâ€™d have to recommend it. I’m not sure about Shyamalan’s names though, narf is little Pinky and the Brain for me. Scrunt is okay, not great though. Although I did like Tartutic.