Reverend Graham Hess (Mel Gibson)
Mel Gibson gives a nicely modulated performance as the spiritually troubled protagonist of writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s alien-invasion film (which carries the onus of being a tipping-point project for both artists, now in creative declines approaching verticality). A widower, Hess runs a small farm in Pennsylvania and lives with his two kids and a younger brother. We learn that he is an ex-Episcopalian minister who gave up on God after his wife was killed in a car accident. All is well until a race of not-very-nice extraterrestrials decide to take our planet for their own. Hess and his family make a final stand in their white farmhouse and successfully repulse the extraterrestrial threat. Divining the hidden meaning in the climactic fight (which involves an existing medical condition, a piece of athletic equipment and a glass of water), Hess has his faith restored and trades in his overalls for his old clerical collar.
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