Written and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
B

Running Time: 1:46

Rated PG-13
for some frightening moments.

Starring
Mel Gibson
as Father Graham Hess

Joaquin Phoenix
as Merrill Hess

Rory Culkin
as Morgan Hess

Abigail Breslin
as Bo Hess

Cherry Jones
as Officer Caroline Paski

Patricia Kalember
as Colleen Hess

The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense

Vin Diesel - XXX
Vin Diesel - XXX

THE OPENING

Entertaining until the end, Signs was a very solid, well-made movie, but the ending left me wanting something else.

THE STORY

Crop circles are forming all over the world, including one on the farm of Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Is it just a worldwide prank, or is there something out there causing this? Graham's wife died some time earlier, a tragic accident that made the former Reverend turn his back on God. He now lives with his two small children, and his younger brother. When these crop circles appear, he spends a lot of time wondering about the choices he has made and what he really believes in.

THE REVIEW

Much like his two previous big budget films, Shyamalan has written and directed a very detailed picture. Every shot is deliberate and with purpose. The story moves very slowly, giving you small details as it goes along, before hitting you with a big ending. In The Sixth Sense the ending was a huge surprise and made the rest of the movie that much better. In Unbreakable the ending was more of a realization than a slam-bang I have to go back and see the movie again kind of ending. And Signs played more like the latter than the former. It kept you on the edge of your seat, wondering where it was headed and every additional detail was placed in the back of your head, waiting to see how it all fit together. But the ending was rather anticlimactic, in my opinion. The movie kept building and building, but when it came time for a payoff, I felt rather disappointed. I'm not sure what I was expecting or hoping for, but this wasn't it.

The performances, again much like in his previous two films, were well done and very understated. Everyone had a calm demeanor and every action they took, every word they spoke was deliberate and intentional. I didn't find the movie particularly scary, as some reviewers had stated it would be before the release. Other than one scene with a dog suddenly barking, the rest of the movie wasn't scary, but it did keep my attention throughout. The look and feel of the film was exceptional and the directing was as well. The story, as it turned out to be, was different than what you might expect, but for what it was, was pretty good. Just the way it played out could have been better.

THE BOTTOM LINE

So overall, Signs was a good movie, but not a great one. It was certainly well made, but the ending of the movie kind of took the steam out of the rest of the film.


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reviewed 08/07/02

© 2002 Wolfpack Productions

Wolfpack Productions