Perry de Havilland has pointed out previously that film critics seem to regard it as safer to sneer at films than to praise them.
Praise a film (at least praise a serious but non knee-jerk leftist film) and you run the risk of being considered weak minded. Sneer at the film – and you are a sophisticated person who is not taken in by commercial tricks.
The film critic of the Daily Telegraph is one of the sneering school of critics (that a Conservative newspaper allows its cultural coverage to be dominated by the standard knee-jerk crowd is, sadly, normal). In his review of The Village he duly sneered at the film – and, for good measure, sneered at The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable as well.
Well this got my attention (which, I suppose, is the point of a review) as I liked both of these films. Many people got to see the Sixth Sense – but, and in my opinion unfortunately, most people followed the far stronger and more unified critical attacks on Unbreakable and did not see the film.
Recently Unbreakable has been shown on British television and many people have said to me that they thought it was a good film. “Did you go and see Unbreakable when it was on at the cinema?” – “No, because the critics said…”
It seems to me that what the critics really hated about Unbreakable was that it was not ‘tongue in cheek’ or a ‘good romp for the kids’ but also did not make any ‘serious’ (i.e. leftist) political points. Unbreakable was essentially a non political but serious film which examined the question of what if a man really did have ‘special powers’, why would he deny them – and what would make him not deny them.
Of course one could say “Of course old Paul Marks liked the film – the hero is a bald security guard” as I am a bald security guard. However, the film stands up in the view of most people who have seen it (and most of these people are not bald security guards).
As for The Village itself:
Well yes, I liked the film (so thank you to Daily Telegraph reviewer for sneering at it – otherwise I would not have gone to see it). There are a couple of twists in the film (one fairly mild another more radical), but the film is well made, does make sense (and the more you think about the film, the more sense it makes that certain things happen the way they do) and was a good film to watch.
If you go to see the film (because of what I write here) and do not like it – well I am sorry to have badly advised you. However, at least I am giving my honest opinion – not just sneering to seem hip.