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Criticism of ‘They knock at the door’, the great little mystery of Shyamalan

Few directors are able to deploy such simple language to tell a story as brilliantly as Shyamalan in ‘There is a knock on the door’.

    M. Night Shyamalan’s cinema, even (I think) in his less fortunate films, is an act of love. A beautiful act of love in the first place towards his characters, heroes in spite of him and villains also in spite of him. As much as he seems to observe them as Wen does, the little girl protagonist of ‘A knock at the door’, with her grasshoppers enclosed in a transparent glass jar (they see the world but do not know about the world, exactly the same as the inhabitants of the community of ‘The Forest’), the author of ‘The Sixth Sense’ is not a cold entomologist: he is someone who shares the confinement and drama of his trapped creatures. An act of love, secondly, towards the cinema. Few directors are now capable of displaying such apparently simple language to tell a story so brilliantly. Every camera movement, every framing, every decision by Shyamalan in what he teaches us and how, is for the benefit of what he wants to explain to us, all with amazing elegance and subtlety. In ‘Knock at the door’ he extracts gold from a minimal and closed space with a majesty that is not only a figure of style (which is also) but also anticipates everything that will happen later without us falling for it at first: the a nurse treating the wound of one of Wen’s parents in an image that is that of a mirror (oval, quoting Edgar Allan Poe, of course) and that same character reflected later in another in what will be an instant of himself in A near future.

    They knock on the door speaks of love more than sacrifice (for love) no matter how much this is the macguffin of the film and no matter how much Shyamalan pays homage, with fire, to ‘Sacrifice’, the testament of Andrei Tarkovski, who also spoke of the end of the world. About the love of some parents for his daughter and the love of four harbingers of a possible apocalypse for humanity itself. M. Night Shyamalan once again approaches the apocalyptic from the religious point of view (‘Signs’), although not in such an accurate way, but above all from that intangible and unbreakable thread that ties us even in the worst of storms, the one he wore hand in hand with the family of ‘The Incident’, perhaps the most misunderstood film by the director and which he has no qualms about taking as a reference to portray the monstrosity of chaos.

    When the right-thinking censorship of Hollywood in 1931 cut the monster from the final copy of Doctor Frankenstein throwing the girl into the river like a flower petal, he achieved one of the most beautiful ellipses in the history of cinema. Knocking on the door begins with the gigantic Dave Bautista next to the girl plucking a flower (an image that is the leitmotif of the final credits), both starting a harmless game that little by little is going to acquire a disturbing tone. not terrifying Like the creature in James Whale’s film (the white hoods they put on give them the appearance of this one), the foursome that break into the cabin are nothing more than a group of beings thrown into the world and mistaken for monsters.

    For Shyamalan, monstrosity (fear) is forgetting about love, feeling that it has been devoured by death, intolerance, the alien invasion, the assumption of superhuman powers, the end of the world or the passage of time. ‘They knock at the door’ loves its characters and their good and bad decisions. Only someone who loves their creatures dedicates some of the most precious offs in memory to them, especially in the fantastic. M. Night Shyamalan exudes love, cinematographic wisdom and that lost art of knowing how to tell scary stories. It is no coincidence that in that cabin there is a large library full of books (pay attention to the titles of those that can be seen best) and that those who face the apocalypse inside almost always appear with that literary background behind them, as if They were characters from those novels and stories that have come to life thanks to the art of narrative. Let’s never close the door on someone like that.

    For visitors to the worlds of the host Shyamalan

    The best: that with so little, Shyamalan achieves so much.

    The worst: the unnecessary explanatory biblical reference about the visitors.


    Address: M.Night Shyamalan Distribution: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Rupert Grint, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn Country: USA Year: 2023 Release date: 3–2-2023 Gender: thriller Script: M. Night Shyamalan, Steve Desmond, Michael Sherman. Novel: Paul Tremblay Duration: 100 min.

    Synopsis: During a vacation in a cabin in the woods far from it all, a girl and her parents are held hostage by four armed strangers who force the family to make an impossible decision to prevent the apocalypse.

    Source: Fotogramas

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