Well, I should probably start out by saying, if you were one of the people that hated The Village this is certainly not going to be your cup of tea.
I think what I always enjoy about M. Night is that he does take risks. And heck, I am not always a fan of his. I really did not like [b]Signs[/b]. I think the common man's mistake is that people feel his [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=497669#"]films[/url] are simply about a "twist". I dismiss these points of view. More often than not, I find them in error.
M. Night is a progressive writer who clearly enjoys film. Which after seeing the [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=497669#"]movie[/url], and listening to a lengthy interview with him on [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=497669#"]satellite radio[/url], I think I know what went wrong with [b]Lady In The Water.[/b]
Like a cake that was taken out of the oven to early, or chicken that wasn't left on the grill long enough, the story/script/plot was just not ready. In the interview that I heard, he stated that they had started production well before the script was finished. Which to me indicates, that the captain wasn't quite sure where he was steering the ship. Sometimes this works and you end up at a tropical island. Other times, you sail for hours (weeks) and perhaps find a hunk of land that's not fit for man or beast. I think he tried to play his cards with this one but got beat by the dealer.
I believe what worked for him in his other films was his nice use of subtext, which was absent from this film. It's not for lack of trying. I felt the [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/showthread.php?t=497669#"]acting[/url] was good. If you don't have respect for [b]Paul Giamatti[/b] now you should after watching this. He carries the film. The guy is a brilliant actor, and this movie might be worth watching simply to watch him make something of the kind of goofy plot he is forced to carry. He does pull it off, but perhaps it's too much for one mans shoulders. [b]Bryce Howard [/b]is an ok actress but really doesn't bring much life to such a pivotal role. I feel however that her character was kind of underwritten. The rest of the cast consists of the residence of the apartment building, and they are far more entertaining than the movie plot, which is kind of strange.
This is one of those films where they basically STATE the plot and SUBTEXT...which robs the film of any inner beauty.
Visually the film is fairly par. Nowhere near as good as The Village was. I also felt the imagery was pretty much identical to the 'bad guys' characters in the Village.
I didn't hate the film, but I wasn't swept away like I was with some of his earlier work.
I can't recommend it. I am sadly giving it a [b]C-. [/b](and that is for his ambition and ideals, which I admire). I can't give it a :rotten: but I won't go :fresh: either. If you are fan, you will see it anyway.