Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Happening

I just watched M. Night Shyamalan's new movie last night, The Happening. Unlike other viewers, I really enjoyed the movie, but I was left without any closure or understanding of what the entire build-up in the plot really was.

The projected catalyst for the "happening" was pretty clear. Plants were reacting against humans and sending off some sort of virus that infected humans. Infected humans would then stop in place, mutter babble, sometimes walk backwards, and then kill themselves in a ruthless manner.

What I don't get is this: Why were some people harmed and not others?

For example, in the first and last scene, the camera focuses on a conversation between a person effected and uneffected. The woman on the bench understands what is going on while the friend next to her kills herself. The same thing happens in the park in France with the two men. Why don't they die as well?

My friend posed this idea: What if they do become infected, but they do shortly after they see their friend commit suicide? Does everyone eventually become infected?

Why was Mark Whalberg's character never infected? He saw a bunch of people around him receive the infection, but he always seemed to run from it? What did he possess that others didn't?

Was there an immunity that some had?

I read in other posts that some people believed that it had to do with global warming. Since humans were becoming threats to nature (which I think is a great idea and premise but not sure if it's 100% accurate), perhaps they could also sense true threats--those who harm the Earth--versus those who don't. It seems strange that they would be able to outrun the wind or the virus which is surrounding them. They were in the middle of nature. I don't understand why it attacked when it did and who it attacked. That was never cleared up.

I also read another post on how it was all about religion. God was this "act of nature" that Whalberg's character was referring to. God acts on whims and took those who were unworthy. In the end when they procreated, this showed that they should be saved. Those who were not going to create life were wastes on the planet. Then it starts up again. It's a weird argument. I don't buy it.

There are just so many loopholes in these arguments that I want one of them to fit into place. There seemed to be a lot of small details placed in the film which made me think that there was some greater idea in mind. Kind of like when you go back and watch it again, you put more things together because of the planted clues. I haven't figured much out yet though.

A lot of people didn't like the movie and criticized the work and the acting. I think Shyamalan is a very talented man. He has scared me many times with his movies. I think he's doing what he's meant to do. I also like Whalberg. This may not have been his best acting job, but never was the movie hindered because of his performance. I never stopped and thought, Man this guy is really off. He didn't ruin it for me. It wasn't a bad flick. I was just upset that he left us hanging with the explanation that we were waiting for the whole time.

Or is that the point? Should there be no real answer because nature is unexplained. As Whalberg's character said in the beginning, we can make up theories, but it's only a theory, never the truth. We can project and use data to back up our theories, but we'll never know. And just like a rash, it can come back and be something larger than it was before, but we'll never know. It could all just be an act of God, and God works in mysterious ways. Who knows why anything happens? Who knows why an epidemic like this could ever spread in one area?

Will we ever know? I don't know. I'm just hoping someone has a satisfying answer to cure my curiosity. Someone, help me out here!

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