The tag line to this film talks about space aliens landing on earth trying to take over, and how the population reacts to the potential invasion. Ignore that. It is part of the story but it's just the backdrop for the REAL story – that everything happens for a reason. Rev Graham Hess' wife was killed in a car accident, causing him to lose his faith. The tragedy is told in flashbacks, slowly developing the characters as we learn how he and his grieving family have been falling apart. His brother Merrill, a former minor league ball player known for his power swing, has moved in with the family to try to help. One morning the Hess family awaken to discover giant crop circles in their Pennsylvania corn field. Rev Graham Hess believes it's teens causing havoc until the crop circles begin to appear worldwide. Merrill and the two children are convinced space aliens have arrived. The family begins to board-up windows as they, and the rest of the world, prepare for invasion – but you've yet to actually see anything. No big monster special effects here, just Hitchcock-like suspense such as sounds across the roof, the dog yelping in the night, and unknown someones running through the cornfield at night. Note all the weird things that are occurring throughout the film – the daughter has begun to leave glasses of water all over the house, and during his final conversation with his dying wife, Colleen, she commented, "Tell Merrill to swing away." Watch as all the disconnect comes together in the immensely satisfying end. Don't put this movie on and plan to multi-task while it's running. This is one of the films you have to pay attention to to catch it all. This stars Mel Gibson as Graham Hess, and Joaquin Phoenix as his brother, Merrill. I'll 'fess up right now, I'm not a fan of Mel Gibson and I don't see a film just because Joaquin Phoenix is in it, but the film's story was so engrossing for me that I forgot they were the actors involved. You'll also see the director, M. Night Shyamalan, in a small role as the guilt-ridden veterinarian responsible for the accidental tragedy. This is an excellent, character-driven suspense film and one of my favorites. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library
[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]
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