Shyamalan Struggling To Regain His Voice, And Failing

Once  not too long ago, Manoj Shayamalan was regarded as  the voice of  the  chill kingdom   in America. As an Indian I felt very  proud  of him when  The  Sixth Sense in 1999  was hailed as  a pioneering shiver  giver.A courageous  spinechiller which  spawned  many  rip-offs and imitations, some  of them  sadly emerging from Shyamalan’s own  tired repertoire.

Recent films  by Shyamalan have been disturbingly close  to  duds. One of  them The Visiteven had a climax apparently ripped off from Ram Gopal Varma’s Kaun.

 Though his  last  film  Split  had a certain amount  of thrill value inherent in  the actors multiple-disorder  act,  I am  afraid after watching Glass  Shyamalan’s  latest vapid homage to  supernaturalism,   I have to declare him to be the Ram  Gopal Varma  of  American cinema.

 Both Shyamalan and  Varma  continue to  obstinately churn  out films even though it’s way past the bedtime for their career.But who  will tell them that the best is over and  it’s time to hang up the boots?Shyamalan’s Glass  is  an appallingly shoddy work . The glimmer of hope I had gleaned from  the  shimmering  gore  in his last film Split is now  quite unambiguously  dimmed  . RIP.

 Glass  has three  discernibly  traumatized  heroes who believe they are  super-heroes. You know, like Superman, Batman , Avengers and what-have-you. No one  believes them.And  we can’t blame the  skeptics for doubting the protagonists’ super-hero powers, They  have quite clearly seen  better days.Just like the  director.

Three  tired delusional men played by actors trying desperately to breathe  life into their catatonic characters, and trying to  go by the director’s jaded convictions.A losing battle fought with vivacity, no doubt.

Watching the three  gifted actors grappling with  the slippery plot  I   felt I was  looking at three kids holding on to the side of a tricky ride  in an amusement park.A park that  is no longer amusing  to anyone . James McAvoy with his 23(or is it 24?) personalities  is particularly  annoying. He  plays  the  multiple disordered  character  with the lipsmackingrelish of a newcomer auditioning  for a role in a  new Ram Gopal Varma  flick.

Weirdly McAvoy is given a sympathetic  shoulder, played by the very young Anya Taylor-Joy with a tragic grandeur  that this film doesn’t deserve.She is  clearly besotted by  McAvoy’s multiple circus.And  perhaps  she is  more entertained  by it than we  could ever be.

Samuel  L Jackson and Bruce Willis are  the other two distraught wannabe superheroes. All three are  locked  up in a mental  institution which has only one doctor, played  by  SarahPaulson. Paulson, God bless her tenacity, tries  hard to look committed and  impassioned. But all I really saw  on her face was an anguished helpless.What the hell am I doing here?Paulson seemed  to screen as  the three weirdos  made good their escape , the audience awaited theirs.

 The  question that came to  my mind after  watching Glass was,  why do  filmmakers  insist on continuing with their careers long after their creativity has  dried up? The tireless DevAnand  continued  to  churn  out films long after his decline into  mediocrity. The ludicrous quality  of his  ‘films’  in the twilight  of  his life were  the  best kept secret  in Bollywood.

What  filmmakers  need is a reality check.Somone  or  some elements  willing to tell  them off  even at the  risk of losing their  prominence in  the  once-brilliant artiste’s life.  If  that knock on  the knuckle  is not provided we  will  continue to have Pahal Nihalani and PrakashJha producing Rangeela Raja and Fraud Saiyyan.

Critics are  also to blame for encouraging mediocrity in  erstwhile talented  filmmakers. Every time  Vishal Bhardwaj comes up with a  new abomination his faithful followers from the  critics’ clique  go Wah Wah, kya baat hai. When they actually mean, Oh Oh kya blothai!

 How will Shymalan ever know he is slipping  off  the wall when no one tells him?

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