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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Global Warning

Great directors will find ways to seamlessly incorporate a personal vision with their films that sets themselves apart from other filmmakers.

Well known directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino encapsulate their films with a specific style of message that rings true to their personal beliefs or influences. The times they succeed are when their message comes out in the intricacies of their stories in a way that does not inhibit entertainment value.

Ever since “The Sixth Sense”, writer and director M. Night Shyamalan has always carried a unique vision that transcends the normal movie going experience. In his latest film, “The Happening”, his vision has never been more present. This time, however, he may have forgotten to bring us along for the ride.

The story of “The Happening” chronicles an event that takes place in which select cities on the northeast coast are attacked by a mysterious toxin. What is at first believed to be a terrorist attack, the sudden change in winds causes mass numbers of people to hallucinate and violently commit suicide. But, instead of making it a modern day horror story, Shyamalan waters down our fears with a preachy environmental lesson.

Similar to last year’s blockbuster, “I Am Legend”, “The Happening” tells a story of how mankind causes its own global destruction. What “Legend” does differently is incorporate a story to this theme without relying on it. In “The Happening”, Shyamalan bombards his audience with political undertones about our lifestyles destroying the environment. Since he wrongfully chooses this tactic, audiences will already know the core message within the first few scenes of the film.

Since he’s too busy preaching his political beliefs, Shyamalan gives no room for appropriate depth of story or even character. Worst of all, Shyamalan focuses no attention on the characters he creates by failing to direct his incompetent cast. Mark Wahlberg’s star performance feels like it’s being used as a pawn to comment on what’s wrong with our society rather than create an intriguing main character.

If a film is going to be political, it’s the filmmaker’s job to give us his idea of a resolution for the problem. In the resolution of “The Happening”, Shyamalan tells us nothing more than we already know, and gives us an explanation of “there is no explanation.” In other words, why listen to this film’s message when you can just watch FOX News?

Letter Grade: D

Rated: R for violent and disturbing images.

Runtime: 91 min.

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

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