M Night Shyamalan directs this sci-fi thriller as a family discovers crop circles appearing on their field, seemingly out of the blue as they come to learn there may be a more sinister force behind them, the film stars Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin.
The Hess family is a nice, wholesome family who just happen to be in a spot of bother, they get on fine with each other for the most part but crop circles and mysterious goings on around their house throw things out of whack so to speak as Shyamalan does that thing he did with his older, better movie in hooking you with an interesting, mysterious premise and keeping your interest as you want to find out the why and how to what’s going on. The cast for the film is generally quite good and with two child actors in Rory Culkin as Morgan and Abigail Breslin as Bo, things are still pretty watchable, Mel Gibson as Graham is the inspirational father figure here, go figure… and he brings an element of spiritualism, also being a reverend.
The spiritual side to things does sort of feel a bit at odds with the sci-fi elements of the story though and I can understand why it may make for a jarring watch but I think it was a nice touch in seeing a father have faith and believe things can get better, living in hope despite the situation.
The drama elements do work though I found, as the family comes to terms with their situation and things get increasingly elaborate as they try to figure out what’s going on, I enjoyed being on for the ride with the characters in that regard, despite some pretty obvious links to what was causing the crop circles and occurrences outside of the world of the film itself. Still, seeing how the films plot handled the cause and brought it to the forefront was a good part of the film, relationships and family ties are also themes present here as Graham (Gibson) is adamant on keeping his family safe and together and through their ordeal, they do grow closer and bond, with some dramatic moments that work well with the good performances.
But what is an old Shyamalan film without a twist, as things take an interesting and controversial turn as far as big film twists go with a deus ex machina type plot device which has drawn a lot of criticism for the film in retrospect, but it is what it is. That being said the end didn’t really ruin Signs for me and I still think it’s a story with some interesting themes, ideas and a nice family dynamic to it, played out with a simple enough story.
. Has some good performances
. Interesting family dynamic, brings good dramatic moments
. Bit of a spin on the alien invasion focusing more on the human struggle, not technology or all out war