For starters, to make sure we’re all clear on this, I’m not a HUGE M. Night Shyamalan fan. I think that The Sixth Sense was a cinematic breakthrough in the way people think of psychological thrillers, and Unbreakable is a great movie, but I could really care less about the rest. Yet, even though he has proven his directorial prowess time and time again (they’re not BAD movies, after all), all people expect from him is to be a one-trick pony.
This is a recent article about him from IMDb:
M. Night Shyamalan, the writer-director famous for ending his films with surprising twists has returned to the screen with The Happening. But those expecting to see his signature ending will likely be disappointed. As Elizabeth Weitzman writes in the New York Daily News, “The big twist is that… there’s no twist at all. None. Zip. Nada.” Several critics express disappointment that Shyamalan, after a series of blunders, has not made the kind of comeback they were hoping for. Claudia Puig in USA Today concludes her review by remarking, “Shyamalan’s work has been deteriorating since the stir he caused in 1999 with The Sixth Sense. … His last couple of movies — The Village and Lady in the Water — have been particular disappointments, and The Happening continues the trend.” Kyle Smith in the New York Post gives mostly two-word reviews for all of Shyamalan’s movies since The Sixth Sense: “Stupid ending, stupid ending, stupid ending and, in a change of pace with his last film, Lady in the Water, stupid all the way through.” Carina Chocano in the Los Angeles Times says that not all the blame should be laid at Shyamalan’s feet. Costar Mark Wahlberg, she writes, gives “one of the worst performances of his career.” But Manohla Dargis in the New York Times comments that the critics’ knives were sharpened for Shyamalan even before the movie was screened for them. As for herself, she considers the film, “a divertingly goofy thriller with an animistic bent, moments of shivery and twitchy suspense and a solid lead performance from Mark Wahlberg.” Likewise Glenn Whipp concludes in the Los Angeles Daily News that The Happening is “creepy, silly fun. And if it came from anyone else, it would be recognized as such. One thing is certain: The man hasn’t lost his ability to entertain.”
Why are all of these critics bitching that his other movies don’t have some kind of insane twist? WHO CARES. He was going to be damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. I’d bet that, if he had come out with another movie with the same kind of twist, the same style of storytelling, people would have found excuse to complain about that as well. Why don’t they just critique the movie for its own merit, without any regard for what came before it? Were they entertained? Or would they have been pissed if they’d paid $11 to see it in theaters? M. Night should be allowed to tell any story he wishes, including ones with a straight-forward plotline.
Mark Wahlberg is a good actor and Shyamalan is a good director. Don’t pay attention to the critics (I sure don’t!), and see the movie for yourself before you judge.