Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Village - [an escape from modern society or from ourselves?]

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I find the concept of the movie – The Village by M. Night Shyamalan quite interesting, though I confess that I am not a fan of his work. What I liked was the subject matter that he dealt with in this particular movie.  The acting and overall script were mediocre, but what was truly fascinating was the concept he brought out. Warning, for those who haven’t seen this movie as yet beware, for I am going to reveal the essence of the story here.
The basic idea is that with all the hatred, rising crime rates and personal risks of living in modern society or specifically in modern America, a group of people decide to create a new “Utopian” society built on peace and brotherhood.  They decide to buy a fairly large parcel of land and create a reserve, with a security team placed on the outside perimeter to prevent any outsiders or modern day influences from getting in.  They then establish a society that is reminiscent of 18th century America or the type created by the early pilgrims who first visited the continent shortly after Columbus.  They then go about daily life and have their children, who have no clue about their parents past or the modern world.  Also, the children are told a number of fabricated stories by their parents and village elders about their villages founding and history.  Plus, as an added measure, the elders tell them that beyond the borders of their village live a number of evil tribes who pose a severe threat to them.  But years ago, a treaty was agreed and signed between the elders and the evil tribes’ people.  Part of that treaty stipulated that the tribes’ people would not be allowed to enter the village.  The tribes of course are fake and only created to prevent any of the younger generation of people from venturing beyond their village and entering the outside world.  Nice little trick right? 
The villagers continue to live in peace and supposed harmony till finally the two main characters, Elizabeth Walker and Lucius Hunt, decide to wed.  A jealous lover then attempts to kill Lucius and nearly succeeds.  The village elders are shocked.  How could their humble and well thought society have a crime occur?  Didn’t they teach everyone, especially the young, about peace and brotherhood? Fast forward, they agree to let Elizabeth go out beyond the village and get help.  She does make it to the periphery wall of the reserve and meets one of the security men, who gives her the medication she needs to treat Lucius.  The guard of course is stunned and can’t believe that Elizabeth lives in the reserve. Why? Because even he was not told by his seniors that what he is patrolling is not an animal reserve but a human reserve.  Anyway, Elizabeth makes it back and all ends well more or less.  But in case you’re wondering why the elders let her go in the first place was because Elizabeth is blind and since she can’t see the outside world, she would merely assume that when she did encounter other people, she’d think they were people from another village.  The village elders don’t send anyone else along with her; else the truth would be discovered.  How brotherly and kind of them don’t you think?  Sorry, but that act clearly defeats their entire mission, however, noble it may it be. It clearly shows selfishness and illustrates how a dictatorship and a suppressive attitude can sprout even in an “Utopian” society. 
The point I’m trying to make and hopefully, which you can see, is that what the village elders tried to do was create a peaceful external environment.  What they failed to look at or truly imbibe was a strong sense of brotherhood and system to deal with the negative innate emotions and feelings that are present within human beings.  No matter how much one may try to change the outside world, nothing will ever change unless the fundamental inner human attitude is changed first.  Though they had religion and values, one could clearly see the lack of interest and true love that was missing from their lives.  It almost seemed like the elders themselves were losing interest in this make believe world they had created.  Though they tried to escape the sins of modern society, they didn’t see that they carried those same sins within themselves still.  That was what caused the breakdown of what could have been an Utopia in its truest sense.  Next Take please!


  1. Surely ROhan...'ignorance is bliss' is considered foolish for a reason, right:D?

  2. hmmm very interesting take rohan! now am curious to watch this movie! but i like the way u concluded we may want to believe that everything is hunky dory but our sins follow and when we blame our circumstances or other people we must realise it is us who is the cause of all our suffering!

  3. Hey Rohan....nice writing!! no surprise that this has come from you :-) I remember you reviewing some movies with me :-) - Gautam (member of the underground!!)