The Happening

A dead cop in The Happening (dir. M. Night Shyamalan, 2008).

Anne Boyer writes:
I have no idea why you thought this was a bad movie. Perhaps there are two movies with this name and Roger Ebert and I and a few others have seen one which is quite good, and you are seeing something else?

I had to get online to see why people hated the film so much. Apparently American consumers do not like things that move slowly and do not consider nature a threat. But why would you hate this film?

Certainly an improvement on other recent apocalyptic films, esp. Children of Men. The only weak part was Zooey D. making moon faces and insipid sounds at the camera, but even that worked thematically.

K. Silem Mohammad replies:
I love slowness (I'm one of those "slow poets"). And I'm extremely scared of nature.

I'm even willing to grant that the bad acting (on both Wahlberg and Deschanel's parts) fit the overall "aesthetic" of the film somehow, as did the Monty Pythonesque absurdity of some of the gore (the guy in the lion cage, the guy who lies down in front of the riding mower). I'm just not sure if it was intentional, or if it was, what exactly the intention was, or if it wasn't, why exactly it's as interesting as it admittedly sort of is.

My favorite moment:

WAHLBERG: Close the windows and doors!

Phone conversation ensues in which Boyer points out that the riding mower scene is a visual quote of Tienanmen Square, along with other astute observations. Conversation ends with Mohammad provisionally assenting to proposal that Shyamalan's film is a minor antihumanist milestone in mainstream cinema.

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