August 01, 2004

The Spoiler Filled Discussion Of The Village

You were warned in the headline, and you'll be warned again here for the last time, this is going to be Spoiler City in this post. If you are planning on seeing this movie and want to go in without knowing everything about it, skip to my spoiler free post just below. Beyond here there be dragons...who spoil movie plots.

I guess it also goes without saying that the comments section will be open to spoiler discussion too. Well, I suppose it goes WITH saying since I just said it.

Now that all those spoiler-free pansies are out of the way, I have some thoughts on the thematic elements of the film that are bothersome. Well, I'd be remiss to tell you, and would likely catch a wicked beating if I didn't, that the initial ideas in this theory occurred to my girlfriend Sarah and that we then hammered it out a little more completely in the car ride home from the movie.

This movies seems to be something of an allegory for America's current global situation. As the Village America represents certain cultural, sociological, and ideological systems. These systems are largely at odds with a certain portion of the outer world, represented by the Towns in the film. The Village has real enemies in the world which represent a threat to the Village's way of life, but in combating these enemies, the leaders of the Village create a different enemy, the Creatures to keep the borders of the Village unbroken. Towns in the movie represent the rest of the world as well as a different ideological take on life, other oppositional religions (Islam) and disagreeable nations (the UN, perhaps) which can't be confronted in any physical way, but the creatures, like certain Middle Eastern leaders, represent an ugly force in the world which the Village Elders are able to convince their people present a real, precient, and physical danger. We see several deaths in the film and none of them are due in any way to actual encroachment by the Towns. Instead, all of the deaths happen because in protecting their way of life the elders have closed the Village off from any potential assistance, like medicine, which the outer-world affords. The real life-threatening danger in the movie is the fear created to preserve the society instead of forces from outside. The threat within is equally as dangerous as the threat from without, if not moreso.

My biggest problem with this movie, though there are many, is that when Ivy makes her journey into the "real" world, we see two people; Kevin and his boss. Kevin is white, young and compassionate. His boss, on the other hand, represents everything bad about the outside world: Knowledge from the paper he's reading, a detatchment from the needs of The Village, a desire to bind The Village to the rules of the outer-world, and, most disturbingly, brown people. This also, is the requisite Shyamalan cameo. While I feel the movie does posit the idea that the intra-danger is the most presently dangerous, the film personifies the extra-danger in minorities and ultimately reinforces the fear that the Village elders created.

There is more here, especially relating to Ivy and Noah, but I'm going to stop myself before this post balloons out of control. If a lively discussion erupts in the comments, I'm sure you'll all be treated to more of ever-so-thrilling analysis.

Please, comment away!


Anne said...

So, are the red cloaks similar to the threat of red alert status, and the yellow cloaks mean the threat is managable and whatnot?

My friend Monthenor was ranting about The Village with his Bad Movie Cousin. I haven't seen it, so everything I know comes from either their conversation or the horrible misleading ads.

MosBen said...

Red is always for Commies. Always.