It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Mai Zetterling's "Night Games" is an absorbing, even brilliant film, but it fails to evoke much of an emotional response. It is a film made entirely in the mind, as if the heart were no concern, and it can be seen that way -- as a cold, aloof study of human neurosis. But not for a moment did I care about any of the characters.
Perhaps that was because the film's hero does not care for himself. The story concerns a young man who brings his fiancée back to live in the gloomy manor where he spent his own childhood. The house is saturated with the presence of his late mother, a domineering woman who smothered his emotional development. His idea is to return to the scene of his crippling and try to break through his hang-ups.
As the man wanders through the house, bits of dialog recall his childhood; Miss Zetterling uses flashbacks to show us the young boy who is alternately loved and hated by his mother, and cared for by an insane grandmother.
There are scenes of a certain impact, as when the boy and grandmother paint faces on a row of eggs and then crush the eggs or cut them in two. It is like eating brains, she says, but he says there is nothing inside but egg.