M.Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable is about David Dunn (Bruce Willis) who is the sole survivour of a train wreck. But the fascinating fact is he has escaped without even a single scratch. This draws the attention of the media as well as Elijah Prince (Samuel.L.Jackson) a comic book collector suffering from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, who offers David a bizarre explanation about this incident – that he is a superhero.
Unbreakable beings with a thrilling scene showing Elijah’s birth. That scene was so visually confusing that it garners attention from the audience and reminds them to pay attention, for the devil is in the details, and the audience does because The Sixth Sense was still fresh in everyone’s minds. The cinematography by Eduardo Serra is just like Micheal Chapman’s in Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Never has the mirror paradox being used so effectively since Taxi Driver. Next, we are pulled into present time where David is sitting in the train. This scene is so brilliant. Everything about the hero is revealed : he has a fear of water, marital problems, likes sports. That shot is how a character study should be. And the reactions of the audiences about David is captured using the expressions of a 5-year old girl. The movies has very long shots and I think actors deserved Oscar nominations for their roles because in many movies it is one shot, cut, other shot, cut and so on. But, to keep up the act for such a long time is prodigious.
Unbreakable is a slow paced thriller. It takes a lot of time to come into shape, but is very enjoyable. Bruce Willis is superb in this role, waning off all his melodrama he gives a subtle, effective performance and so does Samuel.L.Jackson. He puts his Pulp Fiction and Jungle Fever to a side and gives us a heartbreaking performance.
James Newton Howard’s score is superb. Just.. superb !
Unbreakable actually has some lines similar to Fight Club. No, these movies are poles apart with respect to their content, but it has a similar ideology : do what you want to do or you won’t be happy. There is a scene in Fight Club where Tyler threatens a man with a gun and orders him to follow his dreams. David is similar. He is unhappy because he shouldn’t be a security guard at a football stadium, instead he should be goddamn superhero.
Why people initially had second thoughts about this movie is that people just compared it to The Sixth Sense. Folks, The Sixth Sense is one of the greatest movies ever made. Stop comparing this to The Sixth Sense. Unbreakable is a whole different movie. You don’t compare Schindler’s List, Jaws and The Terminal, do you ? No, because they are whole different movies. Each is a classic, in their own right. The twist seemed illogical to me as well, but the way Shyamalan presents it is noteworthy. See in The Sixth Sense, the twist was given some time to sink in. Unbreakable’s twist is depressing in nature and also is so short that the impact is of a very high magnitude.
Unbreakable is a superbly acted, thrilling work by Shyamalan and while it does have its share of vices, the concept is innovative and is surprisingly fresh considering the time of its release.
Rating : 8 / 10
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