Signs by Night – Commentary

By Paul Martin August 4th, 2002, in Editorials

“Signs” is one of my favorite movies this year. M. Night Shyamalan has made a thriller about alien invasion, and managed to make it feel like a real feeling film. It was a well thought out, well made, alien invasion movie. To start though, I’m going to talk a bit about M. Night’s previous films, starting with his first theatrical release, “Praying With Anger.”

Praying With Anger (1992) – I haven’t seen this movie. On it is described by “chuck-120” as “a film about an Indian-American who returns to his homeland to go to college. It very accurately depicts the social conventions of the time. It is a movie about inner courage and self-discovery that will leave you with a good feeling when it is over.” So, I’ll just move on.

Wide Awake (1998) – I saw part of this one, about a fifth grader goes on a search for God after his grandfather dies. Along the way he gets into tons of trouble at Waldron Academy an all boys school. He is aided on his search by a sports loving nun. This film was forcibly re-cut before it’s theatrical release by Harvey Weinstein, head of Miramax. This was an unfortunate turn, because the film ended up flopping and M. Night’s film career and artistic vision seemed lost. It was a bad move by Miramax, based on his next film.

The Sixth Sense (1999) – More than just a shock ending, this is a very spiritually uplifting movie about a boy who sees the sould of those who have one final task before they can move on to the afterlife. This is a great story, with a great script, and the acting and directing are top-notch. Even knowing the ending, it’s a great film to watch again and again because of it’s message. It tells us that it’s okay to let go of things, because it’ll be alright in the end.

Unbreakable (2000) – Following up the Sixth Sense is a comic book movie. This is one of the best comic book movies ever to grace the screen because of it’s smarts. Comic Book Writer Mark Millar wrote this about Unbreakable:

“Grant Morrison and I went to see it yesterday and we spent two hours talking about it outside the cinema. He called me this morning and we spent another two hours talking about it on the phone. I can’t possibly recommend the clever, intelligent build-up enough and I’m astonished that they managed to pull this off on what looks like zero budget. This is the best superhero/ sci-fi film I’ve ever seen and it could have been shot for Channel 4 or BBC1. There wasn’t ONE special effect.”

This film doesn’t have a shock ending on the level of the Sixth Sense. What it does have, though, is a thought-provoking ending, that could be taken any number of ways. There are clues all throughout that tell you the truth about it, but really leave it up to you to decide.

This brings us to the latest installment:

Signs (2002) – This film is another inspired, driven film. It’s about an ex-pastor who’s lost his faith, and suddenly crop circles appear in his cornfield. If you have not seen Signs yet, you may want to stop reading this editorial now, the next part is SPOILER oriented, because it’s the only way to really talk about the meaning of the movie.

Still here? Okay. The message of this movie is that nothing is coincidental, that everything happens for a reason, and is under control of a higher power, i.e. God. The ending isn’t a “shock” ending like the Sixth Sense, but the movie ends with some very intense moments and on a note that plainly says that nothing happens by chance. It asks the question, are you the kind of person that believes that a stroke of good forture is a pretty lucky thing, or are you the kind of person that looks at the same thing, and calls it a miracle.

I loved the movie, and would like to see it again. It had some genuine laughs and some genuine fears. To most Christians, based on the reactions of those that I went with (about ten of us), it’s a very good movie and we found a lot to love about it. One of my friends said that this is the kind of movie he likes. A lot of thought, studying, and time, went into thinking it out and writing it, and the intelligence is plotted out in the many different characters and situations displayed on the screen.

I’ll probably re-write this after I see Signs again, because my thoughts aren’t as clear right now as I’d like them to be.

Well, that’s all for this weeks Luminous Writings! Til next week, I am Specter. *vanishes*

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