M. Night Shyamalan has taken the majority of the action and excitement from this superhero film. It has a purpose, which gives it a specific tone. There’s a sinister vibe running through the whole thing. The film begins with a major train crash. Even though it’s a simple action sequence, Shyamalan doesn’t employ it for no purpose. He prefers the gradual creep. It’s a novel film, but it’s not that interesting.
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The Movie Review
David Dunn, an ordinary security guard, survives a horrible train crash. After the train wreck, everyone else is left dead except Dunn, who leaves doctors in the hospital wondering why he hasn’t broken a single bone. This is not the first time he’s dodged death. He’s then welcomed back home by his wife Audrey, who takes his survival as a chance to give their dying marriage another try, together with their little son Joseph.
On the other hand, Elijah Price a.k.a. ‘Mr. Glass’ is a crippled comic book store owner and a sick genius. He believes that his own physical fragility must be matched by someone on the opposite of the spectrum who cannot be “broken.” Both Elijah and Joseph believe that David is a superhero, but he insists that he’s just an ordinary man.
The hardest part about making a movie is to create something original and take the audience by surprise. But the second time around, everyone knows what you’ve got up your sleeves. After The Sixth Sense became a huge hit, Bruce Willis teamed up once again with the infamous M. Night Shyamalan for Unbreakable, though it’s not a sequel. Unbreakable is a superhero movie, but it’s not like any other superhero movie, in fact, it focuses less on the physicalities of being one. Expect M. Night Shyamalan to turn something into a psychological matter, and it’s something he’s quite known for other than the insane plot twists.
What I like the most about this film is the subtle comic book references made, such as Price’s gallery looking like a Batcave, or David’s slicker looking like a cape. This is also the next Shyamalan film where the greatest performance was delivered by a kid – Spencer Clark as Johnny. The soundtrack by James Newton Howard is also amazing and has one of my favorite film scores so far. The pacing is good, and it works for the most part.
The script is well written, the characters are engaging (I don’t believe Willis has ever played a more involving part than the one he has here), and Shyamalan’s confidence contributes to the film’s many remarkable aspects. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are both terrific actors, and it’s a mystery why they haven’t worked together more.
What I disliked however is that even though Willis’ character changed during the movie, I never noticed it… never felt it. It was a good performance, but a more versatile actor could have done a lot more with this part. While this definitely would not have been a fantastic position for Jeff Bridges to take from a professional viewpoint, I believe he could have done a far better job here.
Shyamalan’s flaw is that he allows his intellect and ego to get in the way of his work. He packs so much into each film that, no matter how great it is, it may appear messy to the ordinary filmgoer.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Unbreakable is an entertaining movie that takes on a different twist to superhero films. But I can’t help but think how it would do with a more compelling lead actor, and if Shyamalan could let go a bit more he would’ve made this movie a classic.