Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lady In The Water

True fairytales don't seem to be particularly high demand recently. It's either woefully shallow Disney-Pixar CGI, or some crap about a guy shooting a bunch of other guys over... I dunno... terrorism or something.

So when a truly magical film like this comes along, it's not wonder its box-office representation is not the best. And that's a shame, because when a truly magical film comes along, it should be mandatory viewing.

M Night Shyamalan's 'Lady In The Water' is a magical little story, the embodiment of the word 'fairytale' yet somehow pure Shyamalan. While there is no twist, there is an understanding that somehow everything is connected, that the story of the manager of a small apartment complex (Paul Giamatti) finding a water nymph in the complex swimming pool can somehow reflect the shortcomings of man, and the way a simple event can ripple outward to affect the world.

The film rests heavily on the shoulders of its cast, and the players provide the simple tale with deep affection and resonance. There are twists and turns - we'd expect nothing less from our director - but it's more about actions and their effects than any cheap reveals. Paul Giamatti is heartbreakingly believable as the manager-with-a-secret Cleveland Heep, and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village) as the aptly-named Story could be a nymph herself, her features are so beautifully expressive and ethereal. The supporting cast, as well, are stunning, and the dog-like 'scrunt' creatures are frighteningly realistic.

It's everything that should be expected of a fairytale. A few scares, an occasional laugh, a compelling mystery, and the feeling that you'e witnessed a transformation.

And as with all fairytales, the ending doesn't matter, just that the ride has been amazing.

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