M. Night Shyamalan is one of those mainstay Hollywood directors who manages to create films that are so visionary and unique that he has a trademark style named after him. The Shyamalan-like film usually consists of one thing and one thing only, a level of tension and suspense that you won’t find anywhere else in the industry.
This man is a master at his craft, creating stories and worlds that are by far beyond imaginable for most other filmmakers. Signs was a film that had a lot of expectations put upon it, due to Shyamalan’s hot streak with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. In this period of his life, he created one of his most unique films to date.
How to Stream or Download Signs
You can stream it or you can download Signs from a digital store from your choice. Click on the Download button at the end of this review. If you like Mel Gibson, check out also other films he acted in, such as Lethal Weapon (1987), Braveheart (1995), or The Patriot (2000),
The Movie Review
Signs is a weird film, that much I can say without thinking twice. It’s a film that explores themes such as faith, familial bonds and extraterrestrials. Yep, in that particular order. The story focuses on an ex Episcopal priest named Graham Hess. Graham’s been having a lot of trouble with his faith and has resided to farming as his main work.
One day however, Graham’s life changes completely when he wakes up to discover a series of crop circles in his cornfield. Hess slowly realizes what the occurrences that are happening seem to be, and lands at the conclusion that these phenomena are a result of extraterrestrial life coming into direct contact with our world.
M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most talented film directors to ever grace Hollywood, that much is for sure. That particular aspect is never more relevant than it is in Signs, a film that takes a slow burn approach to its content and chooses to explore its themes with immense detail.
Every single aspect of this film was crafted with nothing but love and admiration for the art of cinema, and this story is an astounding result of that.
The film has extreme respect for previous films that inspired it, such as Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind and Ridley Scott’s Alien as it combines those films while adding in elements from Bergmann’s Winter Light.
The characters in the film are distinctly different from one another, which is only amplified due to the phenomenal performances that Shyamalan manages to pull out of them. In particular, the two standout performers here are Mel Gibson as Graham Hess and Joaquin Phoenix as Merrill Hess, Graham’s younger brother.
Mel Gibson truly showcases how the former Episcopal priest is trying his hardest to cope with losing his faith, while Joaquin Phoenix portrays the deeply flawed human role in the film. The two performers are joined by incredible actors such as Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin and Shyamalan himself!
The cinematography and production design are what truly take the cake here though. Tak Fujimoto is arguably one of the best contemporary cinematographers working in the industry at the moment. He’s also responsible for making Signs such an iconic film with such beautiful and horrifying visuals that you wouldn’t forget them.
Signs is in fact a pop culture icon, and Fujimoto’s vivid cinematography whether it be in the flash backs, the present day or a nightmarish sequence is highly responsible for that placement.
Another aspect that truly amplified this experience for viewers such as myself was the incredible, haunting, sorrowful and gut-wrenching soundtrack by James Newton Howard.
The man had a huge weight on his shoulders with the music for this particular film though, as it was by far one of the most unconventional films to ever exist. That is part of the overall appeal though, as it doesn’t just feel different, it feels real and it feels genuine.
Signs was a film that particularly changed my view of filmmaking. It showcased how important all key aspects of filmmaking are, and how if you combine them together, they can transcend the medium.
The one key aspect of this film that goes highly unnoticed is the depth these characters have, and the fantastic way the extraterrestrials are built up for the climax. It’s a film that puts all its cards into one basket, which is the ultimate finale and one of the most iconic endings in film history.