Bad reviews of Shyamlan's 'The Happening' due to racism?
Can it be a kind of racism that the Indian-born, Philadelphia-raised auteur is hammered for his apparent character (or funny name) rather more than, say, Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee, asks horror scholar Kim Newman in an article for British daily The Guardian Monday, June 16.
Within a couple of hours after publishing the article Newman received bulk mail on the Guardian's site denouncing his theory of racism. So, is there any substance in Newman's allegation? India-EU Film Initiative investigates.
Manoj Night Shyamalan's The Happening grossed an estimated three-day worldwide gross of $62 million- quite impressive if you look at the nasty reviews he received in the US.
The film, produced by India's UTV Motion Pictures and Fox Searchlight, beat the $150 million 'The Incredible Hulk', the number one film in North America, in foreign markets. But to put things in perspective, Hulk opened in 39 territories while Happening was showing in 88 markets, writes Arthur J Pais in New York for The Rediff.
According to Hollywood observers, Shyamalan has annoyed the big bosses in Hollywood. Even the film establishment, including some top film critics, are angry with him for his 'arrogance'. He has been called 'an egomaniacal spoilt brat who truly believes he is the next Spielberg'.
But there are many who believe the critics have been too harsh on Shyamlan's 'Happening'. Newman writes in the Guardian: The premise of M Night Shyamalan's latest paranormal thriller is no more bizarre than any other apocalypse fiction (Arthur Machen's The Terror is about butterflies for goodness' sake). If the film isn't viewed with hostility from the fade-in, it's an effective, mid-ranking genre picture. Mark Wahlberg isn't the strongest leading man, but the rest of the cast are fine, and its puzzled, panicky characters act in a more or less credible manner.