I like M. Night Shyamalan's work but I've not seen a great deal and this was an early one, when he was still in his flow. It also has some of my favourite ingredients - Aliens, Mystery and I love a good Mel Gibson film. I had heard mixed reviews, and audiences are definitely spit. I must say that I am definitely one for the positive on this one.
Firstly there are some excellent performances from Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix as the brothers protecting their household. A competent performance from Rory Culkin showing early promise for future roles.
The story plays with ideas of faith and belief in both obvious and subtle ways giving this film many layers from which to extract meaning ...and of course entertainment. Signs manages to be a good popcorn munching suspense/sci-fi and while simultaneously musing over the power of faith and indeed a belief in the signs (sorry) that life/fate provides. Whether you believe in this is from a higher power or pure coincidence is what may have split the viewers on this one.
I feel the film work better in its moments of mystery and suspense, with creeping shadows and ominous noises, than it does in its final show down with Alien invaders. The former is definitely Shyamalan's comfort zone, though he does do well with adapting his style to a variety of genres.
A nice cameo from the man himself too, showing that he can actually act as well as direct.
Overall I found this an engaging an thought provoking movie and it has spurned me to seek out more of what he has to offer.
Suspense, but no violence or gore.
This is a thrilling treat of a movie.
A wink to the monster flicks of the 50s and yet so much better.
Finely tuned script, solid cinematography, and perfectly paced tension - this kept M. Night Shyamalan on the map after The Sixth Sense, tho honestly his acting here slowed the movie down for such a pivotal character, but that's a small thing compared to this finely tuned mystery.
Thrilling, hilarious incidental humor, great acting, some heartfelt goodness about family support when you aren't sure who you can trust, and a nod to those who have lost their faith and their hope, that maybe its time to dig deeper and rethink it again.
I loved this movie, and bought it soon after seeing it.
4.5 tin hats out of 5
(just go see the movie - worthy.)