Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard
1 hr 47 mins
On DVD 06-26-2001
UNBREAKABLE stars Bruce Willis as David Dunne, a Philadelphia security guard and the sole survivor of a disasterous train wreck. Not only is David still alive after the crash--he's completely unharmed. After this miraculous incident, he's contacted by the mysterious Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a dealer of comic book art who seems to have the opposite physicality--his bones tend to snap like twigs. As Elijah attempts to help the reluctant hero realize his superhuman potential, David tries to make amends with his estranged wife (Robin Wright Penn) and son (Spencer Treat Clark).
Following the runaway success of THE SIXTH SENSE, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan once again teams up with Willis for another bleak supernatural tale with a surprising finale. Although Willis and Jackson are excellent in their roles, the highlights of the film are Eduardo Serra's cinematography and Shyamalan's direction, which are eerily atmospheric and inventive--in certain sequences, for example, entire scenes are shot as reflections on glass. UNBREAKABLE is a superhero film at heart, but Shyamalan's somber aesthetic transforms it into something far more intriguing.
Unbreakable is proof that not everyone in Hollywood thinks you're stupid. When you expect a plot twist, it never surprises you…. And if you are watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie, you just know there is going to be one. So the Hobbit entered into the much-anticipated Unbreakable, looking for said plot twist. Confident in my ability to see it coming a mile away, the Hobbit sat back in arrogant presumption, certain that Mr. Shyamalan had nothing left up his sleeve that could possible surprise the Hobbit. When it came, it blindsided me like a runaway train, knocked me flat on my ass, and left me gasping for air.
Unbreakable is not a conventional film. It does not fit the cookie cutter Hollywood movie mold because it contains something that few other Hollywood movies have…. CREATIVITY. While other directors worry about the status quo, Shyamalan is loudly proclaiming that there is another way to make movies. A way that breathes originality, creativity, and life into the film industry. He proves that it is possible to make audiences think, without leaving them with a raging headache.
Unlike big budget films like Mission Impossible 2 or Charlie’s Angel’s, Unbreakable is made with the assumption that the people watching it have a brain. Its not a big budget action/thriller, its not a sex ridden tale of deception, it’s a film that asks the question “What don’t you know?”
One of the most striking things about the film is the soundtrack which is filled with a cacophony of crescendoes and loud beats followed by soft tones at just the right moments to literally drag the viewer, willing or not into the movie. Accentuated by creative and striking camera angles, Unbreakable is not only content heavy but just plain fun to watch as well.
Unbreakable like the Sixth Sense presents audiences with realistic characters flung into an impossible reality where they are forced to deal with impossible and frightening revelations about themselves. But in many ways, Unbreakable surpasses the Sixth Sense if only because it strays so far from any established formula. It breaks rules, strays into unknown territory, but at no point does it lose the audience. Your connection to the characters is absolute, their questions are your questions, their revelations are yours. And in the end, you leave the theatre satisfied and looking for more.