What’s Happened To M. Night Shyamalan?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 5th, 2013 at 6:57 am,

m night shyamalan after earth career Whats Happened To M. Night Shyamalan?

[Now that M. Night Shyamalan is making headlines again for After Earth, we thought it would be an opportune time to revisit this article – most of which was originally written back when The Last Airbender had opened in theaters – Ed.]

You might feel pity for M. Night Shyamalan, now that a string of poorly-received films has left his artistic reputation in shambles (with critics and many general moviegoers, anyway). Case in point: Sony went out of its way to avoid mentioning his involvement – as the co-screenwriter and director – in the marketing campaign for After Earth; though, that didn’t help to prevent Will & Jaden Smith’s sci-fi survival parable from experiencing a smaller-than-expected opening weekend at the box office.

What factors are to blame for the sharp (and painful) turn around in Shyamalan’s artistic standing, over the past decade? We’ll begin to answer that question by going back further in time, to examine the film that he’s (still) best associated with today – the 1999 ghost drama The Sixth Sense.

The Sixth Sense

sixth sense osment willis Whats Happened To M. Night Shyamalan?

Haley Joel Osment and Bruce Willis in ‘The Sixth Sense’

The Sixth Sense is all but the definition of a sleeper hit. It featured Bruce Willis in a non-action role alongside then-unknown child actor Haley Joel Osment and indie actresses Toni Collette and Olivia Williams. Shyamalan had previously written and directed two little-seen films – Praying With Anger and Wide Awake – and had yet to prove that he could deliver a hit at the box office.

How then did The Sixth Sense manage to gross $26.7 million in its first weekend of release? Well, looking back at the film’s original trailer, it was exceptionally well-constructed and made the film appear to be a terse and spooky thriller that is heavy on atmosphere (and well-executed scares):

Besides being well-received critically, The Sixth Sense became a pop sensation that claimed the U.S. box office crown for five consecutive weeks, grossed almost $673 million worldwide, and earned Shyamalan Oscar nods for his writing and directing. However, I remember that there were two things that moviegoers just could not stop discussing: Osment’s performance and – of course – that legendary “twist ending.”

Sixth Sense established some important things about Shyamalan the storyteller, in particular:

  1. He enjoys playing with – then defying – what he believes to be the audience’s expectations.
  2. The stories he tells are very much allegorical in nature, above all else.

Cut to the present, and Sixth Sense holds up as a creepy – if, admittedly, kind of ponderous at times – story about people coming to terms with their painful pasts (e.g. “ghosts”) through open communication with one another.

Unfortunately, because the big twist is so well-known nowadays – or, at the least, most first-time viewers know there’s a surprise ending going in – the film struggles to have as much impact as it did upon its original release.


Sam Jackson in Unbreakable Whats Happened To M. Night Shyamalan?

Samuel L. Jackson in ‘Unbreakable’

Shyamalan really began to establish his reputation as a secretive filmmaker with his followup to The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable.  The teaser for the film (which you can watch below) was moody and mysterious – with just some expository dialogue that hinted what the flick was about – and, naturally, moviegoers with the memory of The Sixth Sense fresh on their minds, were intrigued.

Unbreakable was not the same level of hit – critically or financially – as The Sixth Sense; nonetheless, it secured Shyamalan’s place as someone interested in crafting thoughtful, character-oriented allegories through the lens of genre movies. The film has since gained a (semi-)cult following, in part because it is a “superhero movie” that delves deep into the philosophical implications of an inhumanly-powered being (re: destiny, responsibility, etc.) – albeit, fully-grounded in a real-world setting.

There were certain problems that popped up in Unbreakable that began to hint at Shyamalan’s limitations as a filmmaker. Shymalan’s approach remained as personal and deeply-felt as ever, yet his movies were already starting to walk that fine line between compelling storytelling and the cinematic equivalent of a soapbox sermon (which is rarely, if ever, a good thing).

Furthermore, there’s long been disagreement over whether the twist ending is a compelling development – or just an all-too familiar spin on the classic hero/villain dichotomy (one that’s meant to be more profound than it actually is). That debate, of course, is still ongoing today but, moving on…

Continue to the first “Signs” of trouble…

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  1. I actually really liked Signs a lot, and seriously appreciated Lady in the Water, although it won’t make my top 10. I didn’t know the Last Airbender was made off of a TV series (never saw the cartoon) and I thought it was predictable, poorly acted, and the story poorly developed. I was appalled at the martial arts, though, because it seemed contrived and amateurish when there’s so much cool stuff out there. Choreography was lame in the water bending sequences and movement wasn’t fluid or smooth, which made it look like real bad, home made Tai Chi. I really wanted to like the movie because the story had such potential. If only…

  2. This is my second attempt at commenting, hope it posts this time. I guess I really want to add my two bits!! Anyway, I like all MNS films I’ve seen so far, even though I agree with the comments about Lady in the Water and The Last Air Bender. They weren’t the best made movies, but I liked them anyway. I actually really loved Signs even though it seemed stupid for aliens who were damaged by water to come to a planet covered in it!!! Haven’t seen Unbreakable and The Happening yet. Despite the poor reviews, I plan to have a look-see.

    I guess one could like a movie even if it was poorly done, right? I guess I liked the potential of Air Bender, not really the actual movie. The concept seemed great, though poorly executed. My problem with The Last Air Bender was mainly the martial arts choreography. Jerky movements and cheesy moves made it look like really bad, home made Tai Chi. Moves that should have been cool ended up looking comical. That, coupled with dialogue that seemed to haphazardly fall out the Avatar’s mouth made the movie just barely watchable. Like the scene at the first Earth Bender village where the Avatar revealed himself and roused the Earth Benders to fight. I stared at the screen with my mouth open!! I couldn’t believe that such carelessness could reach the big screen.

    The story had such potential. It just felt like something was missing…like good acting and choreography and dialogue and…

    Oh well. Just for the sake of completing the story I would like to see the next two air-bender movies but with some more effort put into them.

    • shellbell i totally agree.. im just here to give my two cents about the last air bender.. the previews looked cool.. a 3 d movie with soem cool action would make for a nice view.. totally disapointing.. hardly any cool 3d effects but the acting was so cheesy and empty! like i could have done a better job.. sokka’s character is sooo bad. But i wanna see the other two movies go on and the characters grow up and hopefully some more mature acting takes hold and completes the movie and gives it some sustanance alongside its action

      • I know I’m a bit late, and I agree with what you said, but you must watch the last air bender serious to really understand how horrible M. Night really did.

    • nobody cares wat u think

  3. Sandy that first paragraph was hilarious. He really messed up avatar and now i think he should retire and never direct and act again. Just quit and get a regular 9-5 job. If they still make unbreakable 2 get another director. Wes Craven or somebody. If they dont reboot avatar they should definitely get another director or 2 more like they did in the harry potter and twilight movies.If there is another airbender movie, hopefully shajfjfgjgjofgjklan dont come no where near it.

  4. I say mystery science theater should commentate some of his movies like the last airbender, the village, lady in the water, and oh yeah the happening.

    • Umm you mean Mike Nelson’s “Riff Tracks?!” I think I might be persuaded to get his movies with “Riff Tracks” sold with them.

    • Please tell me you were drunk or high when you wrote “commentate”.

  5. You’re easy to please, Sandy. He lost me at ‘The Village’. I walked out of there feeling angry and betrayed. I wanted a monster (hopefully a Werewolf) like they alluded to and got nothing.

    If I hadn’t gotten ‘Signs’ as a gift I would have rented it like I did all the rest of his movies since.

    “Within the depths of that artist’s soul lay a far more sinister figure, a diabolical Hyde to his kindly Dr. Jekyll, capable of crafting such deplorable cinematic schlock that it would leave the world trembling in its wake.”
    -LOL! Are you going for the Pulitzer? NICE!

  6. The 6th sense was not an original idea. A show on Nickelodeon had that same idea and plot on “Are you Afraid of the Dark”

    • As did the movie “Jacobs Ladder”.

  7. I’ll be honest here in my opinion. I honestly felt that although you had some points about his style and character as a filmmaker, being driven by his own ego; I think you were a bit hard on the guy. When Shyamalan first started off, I thought this guy was different for one. I also thought his style was kind of interesting with his slow, dark, erie moods. I thought it actually made film more interesting to watch. Lets admit, hollywood has really gone down the drain in the last 15 years. I mean, really gone down the drain. It’s down right horrible in every way. So this guy comes along and gives us The Sixth Sense and I was like, “wow…could this be the next Spielberg? Hope hope…” But I thought things took a turn for the worse with, “The Village.” I think this is where he really lost it. By it, I mean his flare for imagination and mood. I hope he finds his way back to overnight success for the longterm. Because I honestly thought his 1st 2-3 films were very entertaining, and I thought his imagination was great! I enjoy the mysterious sci-fi adventures. Because little to almost no one in hollywood these days can do it anymore! With hollywood in shambles, and no material left to write about, I thought your review was a bit too harsh. The reason I say that is, aren’t we all hoping for more entertaining films? Whats the point if we just knock him to the floor and say, onto the next guy I guess. Right? Because I’m always on the lookout for the next Spielberg. Who isn’t. I think we should all hope that he comes out with a blockbuster such as the next Close Encounters. I honestly thought he was going to end up doing another Close Encounters. But it looks like JJ Abrams will be pulling that off with “Super 8.” And I certainly can’t wait for that!!! That looks awsome. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, I highly recommend it…!

    • Then apparently you didn’t see the interview where he boasted that ‘any time there is a film attached with my name it automatically sparks major interest’

      Eat your words, buddy…eat your words.

  8. I can tell you guys that after having just watched “Inception” the phrase:

    “Written, Directed and Produced by”

    now firmly belongs to Christopher Nolan.

    Bummer about M. Night – maybe a victim of high expectations… and a massive ego.


    • Vic,

      PLease say you’ve got an INCEPTION review coming today. I’m dying to hear about the film.

      BTW – If anyone else (besides me) wasn’t aware of this, apparently INCEPTION in iMax will NOT be on most iMax screens, at least not in the Dallas area, thanks to that the latest in that stupid Vampire love story crap. I wasn’t anti-Twilight till I found out it was holding out iMax screens from INCEPTION. I now have to drive an extra 30 miles if I want to see it in iMax at an AMC, the only theatre chain that serves real food and not just popcorn or hotdogs. I usually will take a long lucnh and grab a pizza while seeing a new realese so something like the CENMARK iMax in the Dallas area is not an option.

      • BlueCollarCritic,

        My Inception review will be out on Friday.

        It was excellent. :)


  9. I would just like to say that I love his movies. The Happening was a little disappointing, but the rest I enjoyed and I loved Signs and Unbreakable – They definitely make my top 10. I can’t wait for Unbreakable 2 – AWESOME!!!

  10. The Last Airbender was actually a really really good movie.

    • Based on what?
      The dialogue was terrible, the acting was terrible, the plot (as he presented it) was incomprehensible.
      The only point at which I disagree with the author here is in his saying that “The Last Airbender” wasn’t quite as bad as “The Happening”. It was much worse.
      And you’re talking to a long-time fan of the series.

  11. This director is like the bad guy in a slasher film. No matter how many times you hit him, he just doesn’t die! He goes down and you think it’s over but, somehow inexplicably and defying all logic, he rises to hunt you down-AGAIN. The only choice is to go over to the bastard and shoot him mercilessly and repeatedly until there is no way humanly possible that he could survive. Let’s hope Airbender will be the movie that does this for his career. RIP and good riddance career of Shamealame.

  12. MY thoughts

    I think M.Night Shyamalan did this whole moive the wrong way, what he should have done was separate book 1 into 2 parts,actually he should have separated each boook into 2 parts…so in all u would have a total od 6 action pack scenes…and then u won’t have a fast pace movie like what he did and each scence would be better than the next…the actors performance and the graphics are something by themselves and can be fixed…
    atleast this is what is would have done if i was in his shoe’s

    they are many angry ppl around the world concerning this film and if i was M.Night i won’t be walking the streets any time soon

  13. Umm… Does anyone else think Stewart Little was his best work?

  14. I’ve actually enjoyed most of his movies. I wasn’t impressed with “The Happening” or “The Village”, but I liked the others (especially “Unbreakable” and “Lady In The Water”). I like the slow moving air to them. It gives me more time to think and take in what I’m seeing. I also really like the story plots he comes up with. They aren’t entirely original, but they are definitely different and sort of weird (which is what I like about them).
    I don’t really think he’ll just fade away. As far as overall popularity goes, he seems like a hit and miss kind of person to me. I suspect he’ll make more great movies…but I also imagine he’ll be making movies that just don’t cut it for a lot of people.

    • Winter – I agree with you. On the whole, I enjoy his movies. Overall, they are well-crafted stories with nice artistic direction. I even liked “The Happening” and “Lady in the Water,” even if they weren’t his best efforts. However, “The Last Airbender” was a substandard movie. The effects and cinematography were good. The acting was terrible, except for Patel and the fire nation characters. Aang wasn’t bad, just not good. The direction was horrible in the beginning scenes, like the scene in the earthbending tribe. I wonder if he altered the movie to force 3D effects into it? He could borrow ideas from the way the characters in the show.

      Hopefully the next two movies will be better.

  15. As We see the career of M. Night evolve thru the years. I thought about him to be quite different from other hollywood directors. If you see the youtube videos about the news conference in mexico. A reporter ask him about his filmmaking career in a rude way as some others thought. He defended himself by stating that all of his movies are famous in europe. the village is famous in france while lady in the water in spain. He even say that he never turn down projects that he did’nt believe in making. Also he gave up most of his salary to buy his rights of his movies so hollywood would not exploit them. He is a true independent director not many men would follow his path.

    • That’s not true, we don’t like Lady in the Water in Spain. Shyamalan makes up this stuff and I don’t know where he gets it from.

      In Spain, we like stuff like A-team and Chuck Norris, we like action movies with ewxplosions and car chases! You just would’ve to see what airs on TV here and what films stay longer in theatres…

      Shyamalan was cruel to that young Mexican reporter, she wasn’t rude, she was just asking a question and he told her to kill herself! WTF?

    • Oh my goodness! You do realize you got that all wrong, right? He wasn’t suggesting that the reporter kill herself. He was saying that IF he thought the same way she thought about making movies he would take his own life. The reporter has no idea what it is to be an artist in any sense. She seems to think that the only motivation is money or popularity. He is expressing his distaste for such a viewpoint. Creative people detest those that practice in the same medium whose motivations are solely ego or money driven. Their work has no authenticity and they often pander to the least common denominator and never challenge the viewing public instead, seeking to sensationalize in the lowest form. I see M. Night Shyamalan as someone who is true to his artistic vision first. People won’t always get that and it won’t always spell “box office hit”. I agree with him, I would detest myself for having such a viewpoint. Though, if I had it I probably wouldn’t have the sense to care.

      • “Their work has no authenticity and they often pander to the least common denominator and never challenge the viewing public instead, seeking to sensationalize in the lowest form.”

        You just described M. Night Shyamalan, poopsie : )

  16. But Airbender DID look like a movie by Uwe Boll!

  17. I think the Shyamalan hate is overdone as is the idea that his career is over, or even that he has gone off course. Let’s look at the numbers :

    Sixth Sense – budget 40MM, Gross revenue 673MM
    Unbreakable – budget 75MM, Gross revenue 250 MM
    Signs – budget 72MM, Gross revenue 408MM
    The Village – budget 60MM, Gross revenue 257MM
    The Happening – budget 48MM, gross revenue 163MM
    The lady in the water – Ok, I’ll give you that one, but actually it still basically broke even.

    TLA is now up to 260M USD and still going strong. None of the numbers above include DVD sales or merchandising so even these are understated.

    Given this, it seems that rumours of Shyamalan’s career being over are greatly exaggerated! It seems that critical appreciation of a move doesn;t really have a lot to do with what the audience wants, since they keep going out and watching his movies.

    I think the people who talk about hate and butchery and all these sorts of things really have issues and need to calm down. It is only a movie at the end of the day – and you don’t have to watch it if you don;t want to.

    The Shyamalan hate is misguided and wrong – he is doing well and has a good solid record. The haters really need to grow up.

    • Hey, you could paint a turd gold and someone would buy it.
      I don’t mind that he’s successful, but in any other line of work if you keep venting your spleen every time you go out on the job you’ll soon find yourself out of work. By your repeated inferences to the bottom line, I can only assume that the (ongoing) trend of movies growing dumber and more critically unsound is of no consequence to you. That’s like saying that students should be allowed to change the curriculum because their teachers’ work is too demanding.
      By your standard, if M. Night Shymalan were to shoot a two-hour feature of himself and various studio executives taking a collective crap on the moviegoing public, and by virtue of said moviegoing public going out and paying to see it [for the twist ending, surely ;)], then you would consider it a GOOD THING; merely because the public chose to see it thus making it financially successful. Which, by extension, means you’re not concerned about quality; merely numbers.
      Anyone who will compromise himself for the sake of financial compensation is certainly not a success, by any ARTISTIC standard. And that, first and foremost, is what M. Night Shymalan is dying for us to believe: that he is an ARTIST. And I understand the drive for success; for who is willing to starve for their art? A MAN WITH VISION. And Shymalan lost that vision after he drank from the cup of success.
      He adopted a bottom-line mentality after ‘The Sixth Sense’ (certainly not helped by that movie’s phenomenal success, driving movie studios to anoint him as a minor deity); and despite any interesting story ideas or plot developments presented in his movies (from ‘Sixth Sense’ onward), they are always just pastiches of cliches and ideas that were executed much better elsewhere. Every successive move reeks more and more of LAZINESS).
      This “bottom-line mentality” allows compromised artists to further loosen their standards, which will further push quality lower and lower; until there is nothing of intelligence or real insight (which almost always CANNOT BE JUDGED IN FINANCIAL TERMS) left in their creative output.
      This mentality ultimately enables the public to have no standards, which is reflected in generations of film with little to no merit. And personally, I’d rather stay home and masturbate for free than have the privelege of driving and paying $10-$15 dollars to watch M. Night Shymalan do it for 2.5 hours.
      All this to say that M. Night Shymalan venting his spleen on his audience is UNJUSTIFIABLE. Maybe St. Thomas was correct when he wrote that money is the root of all evil.

      Good luck, and good night

      • NOTE: I left the first ‘a’ out of ‘Shyamalan’. Other than that, I rule.

  18. I was extremely upset at The Last Airbender. Mainly because, in my excitement for the movie, I bought the “Art of Avatar: The Last Airbender” (Cartoon series art mind you. And M. Night wrote the flippin introduction! And he claimed that he “loves the series”, and “plans of working closely with the writers of the cartoon”…

    He said things that made me excited to see a potentially darker twist on my favorite cartoon. And then he just decided to smash my hope into a million pieces, and then piss on those pieces. All while yelling “look I’m a water bender!”

  19. The article is well thought-out and well written…

    I’ll be blunt – I’ve seen half of Shyamalan’s movies, and the only one I experienced the slightest enjoyment with was Unbreakable – and at that time I had high hopes that MNS would learn from the mistakes he made there and really come back with a ringer…

    Instead I saw the advert for Signs, and wrote him off. The gf wanted to try Lady, so I did choke down the whole movie, but most of the time my eyes were actually on screen, I was fantasizing about strangling MNS for creating such a sack of drivel.

    I’d really like to see him use some of that potential he seems to have, and make something impressive. I’m of the opinion that it is not a matter of he cannot do it, but that he *will* not. After all, by the gross (read: disgusting) sales figures apparently the masses want to continue to be spoonfed his s**tty excuses for motion pictures.

    So, a call to action for the moviegoing public: Simply don’t go see the next Shyamalan release in theatres! If the studio doesn’t cash in big, they won’t encourage MNS to keep producing garbage, and he’ll have to actually adapt.

  20. I think there are two types of movie fans. The critics who over analyze the movie, and dissect every last bit of the movie until there nothing left but garbage. And people like me, who enjoy M. Night because he’s different, not the same old hollywood mumbo jumbo thats just so predictable. I like to watch all different types of movies – for example, the Last Air Bender will never win an oscar, but its still an entertaining movie.

    A movie should be judged on its entertainment value. All the other stuff is just for the critics, who make a living pretending to be “experts.”

    • Gee, bobthebuilder, then I guess there are a LOT more “critics” than I thought there were based on the hundreds of comments on the Last Airbender review.


    • Well said bothebuilder.

  21. M night. Ruined one of my favorite animated series, I can’t believe the creators of a nickelodeon cartoon took more time and dedication to make sur the martial arts were ral and looked good, if you haven’t seen the show check it out it’s called avatar: the last airbender, the creators had a real martial artist working for them, it actually looks really good and one of the reasons I like the show so much. I can’t even begin with why I was disappointed with m nights movie version, he doesn’t respect the source matrial at all, and it doesn’t seem he is really the fan of the show as he says, or maybe he changed the characters so they’d look more like his own family so they can have their little fantasys

  22. I really think everyone has the wrong expectations of MNS films. He’s completely separate from what the viewing public and CRITICS especially have been molded by the entertainment industry to expect. People have come to expect fast moving plots, relentless action, huge special effects, dynamic story lines, and realistic acting. MNS moves away from all of this making him my favorite director. He is a true iconic writer, director and producer because he doesn’t allow Hollywood or popular opinion to take away his artistic direction. Critics only detest him because of his well placed mockery of the movie critic in Lady In the Water. Well, that may not be the only reason, but I have always detested most critics and appreciated the moment when the beast eats him up in that film.

    Come down from your crystal tower, Sandy!

    Thanks, folks.

    • Balanced and well written article, even if I don’t concur with the conclusions.

      I agree with you Andrew! I enjoyed ALL MNS’s movies. They are certainly not perfect, but each one has enough ethical/moral backbone to stand up well to most of the junk churned out by Hollywood. And every single one of them has it’s visually stunning moments. Shayalaman is a craftsman with the camera, framing iconic scenes where other directors are far less imaginative. His plots do include some rather clumsy parts, with somewhat heavy-handed exposition, but overall I have never gotten bored and always found the characters satisfying and engaging. Some movies that were lauded by critics (Tinker Tailor, Inception, Batman Rises) didn’t come anywhere near the enjoyment I got from all the Shayalaman movies listed in the article.

  23. I really coould sense some hostility agains m.night shyamalan. Yes the guys has lost it with the Lady in the Water and the following movies are also very weak, but how can anyone take credit from him for making amazing movies befire. I mean sixth sense, Unbreakable, Signs and Village are wonderful films. I undestand that some aspects or scenes might have little flaws but but this does not overrule the greatness of those movies. My personal favourate is Unbreakable, moody brilliantly pace storytelling of extraordinary character story and bruce willis is just magnificant. What I think is that Shyamalan is a victim of a marketing and ad campaign around him. For example verage moviegoers expect monsters from the trailers but all they get is brilliantly crafted drama with beautiful shots and thrilling moments (The Village) and they are so mad about that, beacause they feel they have been lied to. And that is undestandable. But I think those movies provided with the chills of their own. Plus every moviegoer in the world expected a new twist in shyamalans movies and they were frustated when it was not up to the expectations, that is another unfair approach to the directors work. I think what happened is that mr.Night when trough lot of pressure from critics and moviegoers and it seemed like almost everyone started to hate him. I think that is so undeserved. Yes I know he has lost it but all the great directors have had bad movies. I think what he is doing with the filming of summer flicks might be the right thing to get his mind off to get away from the pressure, and I am very hopeful that he will find his path again and be back

  24. Someone call Trump. You’re fired! Or how about American Idol. You’re going to Bollywood. Get this joke out of town. I worked with this ego -maniac as a Lighting Assistant. He treats everyone like Crap. There wasn’t one person who didn’t want to kick his ass. Good riddance!

  25. What happened to him was the same thing that happens to a lot of people in any high money profession, too much, too soon. The main difference between him and someone like Michael Bay is that Bay manages to turn a profit with his films, even though he makes the same testosterone filled, pyromaniac film with different elements 95% of the time. Night-man has fallen into, “I am deep and must play Jedi/LSD mind tricks on the audience,” mindset.

    • Totally Agree!

  26. I never realised how much Sam Jackson’s character in Unbreakable look like Moss from The I.T. Crowd.

  27. His only bad film to me was The Happening. I LOVED: Six Sense, Unbreakable & Signs. I LIKED: The Village, Lady in the Water & Air Bender.

  28. He should go back to Bollywood

  29. He was always a better director than he was a story teller. Quite masterful with set pieces and shot composition at one time (see David finding out how to use his powers/Elijah falling down the stairs in ‘Unbreakable’. Or the blind girl holding out her hand in ‘The Village’). Problem is, the moment those techniques become familiar you start to focus on other aspects like dialogue, like plot, like cohesion of narrative and unfortunately he has been brutally exposed, seemingly culminating in the utter embarrassment of ‘The Happening’.

    The part his ego has played in this though cannot be underestimated. There can be no other explanation for ‘The Happening’. Here apparently was a man so deluded, so blinded by the whole idea of his greatness he pretty much concluded every first take was perfect for the final cut. Hence booms falling into shot, directionless acting from all involved and ignorance of Ed Woodian parody towards scenes such as talking to a plant. The signs were of course there in ‘Lady of the Water’ (not a dreadful film. Paul Giamatti makes anything watchable). The know it all killing of the critic and the casting of himself as someone writing the most important thing ever written.

    Despite all this, it doesn’t offer revisionism of ‘Unbreakable’ (I still consider it to be a fine exercise in directing) nor ‘The Village’ (it was harshly addressed by the majority. The twist should’ve been at the beginning though for a more thought provoking, intelligent 9/11 parable) as anything other than movies I liked and still like very much.

    The rest of the films though, even ‘The Sixth Sense’, do not serve him well. So much for ‘Unbreakable 2′ then, huh…