It Takes The Village: The Rim

I get inspired by the weirdest things.

Do you remember The Village? It’s the film in M. Night Shyamalan’s repertoire that made audiences realize he might not be artistically bulletproof. I found the premise to be intriguing, the characters well-rounded and the acting superior. And, when MNS is firing on all cylinders, he composes suspense like very few others can. But, in the case of The Village, the twist ending was a narrative a-bomb that seemed to overwhelm everything that came before. Overall, I think I liked it better than most.

There’s a character at the end that always stood out to me. Be warned, we’re entering spoiler territory.

The Village ©2004 by Touchstone Pictures

In the story, Ivy, the blind protagonist brilliantly played by Bryce-Dallas Howard, climbs a hedge and drops down the other side, onto a dirt road. We’re under the impression the time period is circa late 19th century, so we’re shocked when a jeep pulls up and a security guard gets out (kaboom – there it is). Ivy tells him she’s come for medicines that will help her one true love stay alive. The security guard tells her to wait there, goes and gets what she needs, and helps her back over the hedge. She goes home, Loverboy gets cured, everyone’s happy, and we end with a nice montage showing that order, and way of life, has been maintained.

In the midst of the montage we also see the security guard standing, looking at the hedge, with an expression that can only be described as ‘haunted.’ And I knew, he wasn’t happy. How could he be? He had just, for a brief moment, experienced something far removed from his reality, and which he surely knew would never happen again. For him, the story was over, but for a second he had touched the transcendent. Would it change him? Seriously? What had been done to him couldn’t be undone by a legion of therapists.

That security guard still sticks with me (maybe ‘haunts’ is a good word here, too), at least as much as anyone else in the movie. And I guess here is where my own imagination takes over. I want to know what happens to people when their idea of reality is challenged so utterly. It annoys me when I see movies where aliens are proved to exist, or magic, or ghosts … and everyone takes it in stride. Oh, how interesting. Show me a magic trick. Do you know any aliens? I’d love to meet one.

I’m sorry, but that’s just lazy storytelling. Finding a ghost in the attic, or E.T. under the stairs, doesn’t happen in real life (as far as I know), but there are other things. People discover God, or love, or their own mortality, and it’s just as shock-inducing. It doesn’t resemble a meadow that you just sashay through, picking daisies as you enjoy the stroll. It’s a tunnel… and when you come out the other side you’re not the same. If you try to be, if you try to maintain, you’re fooling yourself, and probably doing some internal damage to boot.

It’s fair to say The Rim was directly inspired from that five minutes of screen time in The Village. I wanted to create a character who comes face to face with something that blows her mind, something that she could never walk away from unchanged. I wanted to see if it would crush her, or perhaps make her stronger.

I will disclose: I like Sheriff Shirley Armand possibly more than any other character I’ve created. She had a tough road ahead of her, even before Jim Sturgiss wandered out of the Florida woods and back into her life. She had a choice to make, and chose well. I hope that comes across, if nothing else.

All image attributions as they appear on the page:
Image photographed by Gary Damaskos
Image from Far Cry 5 ©2018 Ubisoft