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Signs - Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, M Night Shyamalan

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

It's not like they didn't warn us.

Everything that farmer Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) assumed about the world is changed when he discovers a message - an intricate pattern of circles and lines - carved into his crops. As he investigates the unfolding mystery, what he finds will forever alter the lives of his brother, Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), and children Morgan (Rory Culkin) and Bo (Abigail Breslin).

Theatrical propaganda posters

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Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film thriller science fiction alien invasion corn field faith

Persons of interest

  • Mel Gibson .... Father Graham Hess
  • Joaquin Phoenix .... Merrill Hess
  • Rory Culkin .... Morgan Hess
  • Abigail Breslin .... Bo Hess
  • Cherry Jones .... Officer Caroline Paski
  • Patricia Kalember .... Colleen Hess
  • Jose L Rodriguez .... Radio Host
  • M Night Shyamalan .... Screenwriter
  • M Night Shyamalan .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


M Night Shyamalan has not only done it again, he's done it even better. The sixth sense was an astounding thriller that no-one could predict, not even the world's most experienced and jaded couch potato (ie me). It literally tore the walls off the house and left the roof hovering over your head. Then came Unbreakable, putting the windows back but not the walls. Now there's Signs, returning the walls but removing everything else, right down to the foundations. You can't see out, but you sure know that something's out there.

It's just plain awesome.

M Night draws a performance from Mel Gibson that is as subtle and deep as those that came from Bruce Willis in the first two films. If you have never understood the word "nuance", then watch this: it could be the best performance Mel will ever give. Despite rumours to the contrary, Mel wasn't cast solely because he has a "G" in his name to match the one in the title.

Joaquin Phoenix, who has long annoyed me (probably for no better reason than that he isn't River), actually produced a simpatico performance as the has-been baseball player. Merrill's unpreparedness for what happens during the film is drawn out perfectly, pushing Graham further and further into the forefront. Likewise, Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin make great satellites around their father's sun: entirely sure of themselves within their finite world but helpless outside of it. The inhaler thing [need to get out of the safe place forces confrontation with those outside - Director of Intelligence] is the only bump in the road but the fact that they didn't go and get it makes up for it.

By looking at what happens to small people during such a large event,Signs undercuts action films like The sum of all fears with freshly painted heroes and big budget special effects, replacing their over the top method of filmmaking with a claustrophobic, intensely scary and intimately personal fears. You don't daydream about being the hero, you hope to high Heaven that you will never need to be one. This could be your life.

I have no hesitation in telling you that Signs is one of the greatest films ever made, so see it.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS
  • Languages: English (5.1, DTS), Russian (THX)
  • Picture: Widescreen (1.85:1)
  • Special features:
    • Deleted scenes
    • Documentaries: Making "Signs"
    • Featurettes:
      • Night's First alien movie
      • Storyboards: Multi-angle features
  • Subtitles: Closed captions, Danish, Dutch, English, English captions, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

116 minutes (1:56 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 15 August 2002
DVD rental: 5 February 2003
VHS rental: 5 February 2003
DVD retail: 4 June 2003 - Collector's edition
VHS retail: 4 June 2003 - Collector's edition
DVD retail: 6 August 2003 - M Night Shyamalan box set

Cinema surveillance images

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