Andrew Boley’s review published on Letterboxd:
I don't really get the hate for this.
Being removed now from the entire M Night streak of twist endings puts this film in perspective. Because during his heyday most people, including myself, went into his movies just waiting for the twists. He was being solely critisized for how surprising or how spectacular the twists were.
With The Village I feel like everybody and their mothers went into it literally letting everything glaze over them until the end twist. And if they liked the twist they liked the film and if they didn't like the twist they hated the film. Everything that came before it, basically the entire movie, was pointless.
I think this is disappointing because The Village is an excellent film. From the beautiful cinemtography from mastermind Roger Deakins to the interestingly created world to the complex characters The Village is a full fledged, fully created film... with a twist.
The protagonist is blind. Which is a great and ballsy decision by M Night. And that attribute is not created in the script for any plot mechanics or pity reasons. Her blindness is what helps create tension for sure but there's more to her blindness than just those moments.
Joaquin Phoenix is fabulous in this film as well as Adrian Brody. These are all secluded, insulated characters and their actions reflect that. Like I said before, this film is fully realized, the characters are part of this world.
M Night is a subtle master of the long take, like his master Mr Steven Spielberg. There are multiple uses of the long take that are just amazing. They are complex without drawing attention to themselves, and they all serve a purpose.
Now about that twist. "I didn't like the twist!" What does that mean? The twist doesn't destroy your perception of the story like the twist from Sixth Sense. In Sixth Sense you can now go back and watch that film and you see all the little issues with it. Even though it works in a broad sense people go through and point out how it just doesn't make sense. With The Village, the twist is really just an exclamation point to the themes that M Night is getting at. Of being scared of the real world, of being insulated, of using fear to control people. The twist doesn't upend everything about the story, it just adds more context and more understanding of the adult character's actions. To not like the twist because it didn't blow your mind or because "it doesn't make sense" misses the point.
I miss this M Night. The guy made some great movies in his heyday. I think having kids has really zapped his creative energy. But The Village is probably my favorite M Night movie, and I'm saying that sincerely, not to troll people. I wish it had more of a following because I think it deserves it.