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I'm a great fan of both Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis so when someone told me they would be starring in a film together it goes with out saying I needed to watch it. What I didn't expect was this brilliantly clever story that was the total opposite of your average superhero movie. This is one of those movies that I never heard a lot about so wasn't expecting too much so was completely taken by surprise when it turned out to be a great movie.
This 2000 fantasy drama was directed and written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan and is starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Unbreakable grossed $250 million world wide on a budget of £75 million and received average reviews.
David Dunn is security guard with a crumbling marriage but his life changes for ever when one day he is involved in a train crash and miraculously is not only the only survivor out of 132 passengers but is completely unharmed. Later a comic book specialist Elijah contacts David with and incredible theory. Elijah is the complete opposite of David and is nicknamed "Mr Glass" due to a fragile bone condition. At first David does not believe the strange man but everything points to it being true.
A very clever film that not only has a great story but is unique and different when compared to other comic book hero movies. Our hero Dunn is a subtle hero with a slow build up as he come to terms with the fact that he is not a normal man. There are some great scenes when both Dun and his son slowly discover there is something special about him and a bond that develops between them due to this secret. Also there is only one scene where he uses his power for good but is has such and impact on you as a viewer.
Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson) plays this very eccentric character who has his own story and is the total opposite to Dunn. On the surface he seem to be helping Dunn to come to term with his true identity but we soon find that there is more to this character then meets the eye.
Unlike other hero movies this film does not rely on special effects and loads of action and just has a few key powerful scenes and is mainly great story and brilliant acting. A hero movie with a difference that will leave you pleasantly surprised.
The Mrs was tired last night and went to bed early, leaving me to flick through the Sky channels and see if there was anything interesting on. When looking through Sky Movies I saw the film Unbreakable starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson (2 of my favourite actors) and so I settled down to watch it.
In a nutshell, Bruce Willis is in a train accident in which he is the only survivor, walking away without a scratch on him. Samuel L Jackson however was born with a disease that makes his bones very weak and easy to break. During his life, Jackson's character has become obsessed with comic books and theorises that if he is very breakable then there must be somebody out there who is unbreakable - Bruce Willis' character.
About an hour of the film (maybe more) is spent with Jackson's character trying to convince Willis' character that he's a superhero with very little else happening. In the end Willis' character believes him and starts seeing visions of people's crimes, but will he do anything about it?
I'll leave the synopsis there as not to spoil any more of the story for anybody who's bored enough to actually watch it. To its credit, there is a pretty big twist right at the end, but apart from that, this is a pretty dire film - all talking and no action. No swearing, no sex, no nudity, no guns, no explosions, no entertainment at all really - exactly the opposite of what you'd expect from a film starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson.
Do yourself a favour and watch Die Hard With A Vengeance instead.
- Plot - MOVIE SPOILERS
Having recently reviewed a film where Bruce Willis plays a small role I thought I would choose one where he is the lead.
2000 brought us another film by M. Night Shyamalan. Director and writer of previous award winning films such as The Sixth Sense that also starred Bruce Willis.
Unbreakable sees David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a security guard survive a train crash. This sparks a lot of interest in him, in particular, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). As he was the only survivor, Elijah Price puts forth the effort to get to know David. Genuinely interested in his life, he believes this is a man that he shares a connection with.
Elijah Price is a man who really knows the definition of pain. Born with all limbs broken, he is a person who hasn't exactly led a normal life. David would like to lead a normal life but is having problems at home with his wife.
Back to the beginning of the film, I thought it was disgusting that he took off his wedding ring when an attractive woman sat next to him. He obviously had ideas but she made it clear she was married. And this is why you ask yourself, why was he the only survivor?
I'll stop with the plot here, I don't want to give anything away in case you haven't already watched it.
- My Thoughts -
This is my favourite film made by M. Night Shyamalan. Honestly I don't see how he could have made it better. I didn't know what to expect when I first watched it other than there will probably be a twist of some kind. If I was to be honest I would say that there isn't one as such. Nothing you would expect anyway which is exactly what makes this film so great. The story just unfolds with many intense and quite striking scenes, it all works well on its own and is brilliant.
Instead what you get is a fantastic piece of film making. The characters are played to perfection by all actors involved. The relationship between David and Elijah is forced with both wanting to know the truth but finding it hard to accept certain possibilities. David is obviously confused and perhaps because of the crash it made him realise what he has in his wife. After all, you don't know what you have until it's gone right?
As the film goes on you learn about the past of the characters. Certain actions they did, paths they chose to lead, and what the future might hold for them. Whilst this story is being told you hear a fantastic score. Powerful which suits many of the scenes and brought about goose bumps all over my body when I watched it again recently.
Many people have unfairly criticised this film, I personally think that it succeeded on all levels. It is different and not what you would perhaps expect from a director who made this straight after The Sixth Sense. It deserves a lot more credit that it received and is a fantastic piece of story telling.
It is exciting, very entertaining, solid throughout in all areas and exactly what you want to watch if you are after suspense!
Thanks for reading.
This is one of my all time favourite films as it takes super heroes and try's to make them real.
It stars Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson who are both brilliant actors. Willis is one day confronted by Jackson who informs him that he has a unique ability to be almost invincible and invulnerable to things regular people aren't where as on the other hand Jackson is the complete opposite being really fragile. Willis then goes on to believe this himself with encouragement from his son and it builds up to a really great ending. The overall story is really intriguing, gritty and compelling and defiantly connects you to the characters. I couldn't stop watching and have seen it 6 times now.
The director had worked with Bruce before so he really knew how to get the most out of him. This is a must have film for anyone who like superhero films or comics, classic film fans or anyone who likes Bruce Willis or Samuel L. Jackson as these are some of the best rolls they've played.
So this is the second big film from M Night Shyamalan and he reunites with Bruce Willis again and it would seem like this was a guaranteed hit, however personally I would say this is a good movie made average, due to it not reaching the same heights as the sixth sense.
So joining Bruce Willis, the other main member of the cast is Samuel L Jackson. Essentially the plot is about a man who is very weak and all his bones are fragile and feels that if he was destined to always be weak, there must be someone out there who is the complete opposite. Someone who is very very strong and unlike himself, cannot be hurt or injured. This character is David played by Bruce Willis.
Now the movie itself is good and the plot is decent, it is obvious that Shyamalan is a very talented writer, the problem here is that he didnt connect with the audience in the same way as sixth sense. Here we are intrigued but not obsessed with the characters and really interested to see where the plot is going. Samuel L Jackson is great as always and I guess Bruce Willis is ok. Not really oscar worthy acting, however with Shyamalan movies it is always about making the plot shine.
Like the majority of his movies he loves to put a twist towards the end, and this is no different. However the problem was he peaked far too early with Sixth Sense and its amazing ending, that now really nothing at all compares, and OK no one really guesses the twists, but to be honest no one really cared about the twist and once the film was finished I did feel it was a bit anticlimatic. I expected more and hence my view on Shyamalan has decreases with a lot more just above average films released. He has the talent and needs to go back to the drawing board as to not be considered a one hit wonder.
This movie begins quite strangely with a list of statistics on a plain background, relating to comic books, and then changes to a department store in 1961, where a young woman has just given birth to a child. The arriving doctor is amazed, and asks if anyone had dropped the infant as the new baby has broken arms and legs. When told the child had not been dropped he states that the baby had to have been damaged in the uterus. The child is a victim of the brittle bone disease Osteogenesis Imperfecta.
We then see the same child in his teens, with a broken arm, being coaxed out to a park bench to look at a present that his mother has set out there. The gift is a comic book. That was when I figured there had to be some tie-in between the two.
Later, we see this character as an adult, Elijah, played by Samuel L Jackson, walking with a cane or in a wheelchair, the owner of Limited Editions a gallery/shop displaying artwork of comicbook heroes and scenes. The kids used to pick on him and refer to him as Mr Glass, we are told, because of how easily he "breaks".
Bruce Willis plays David Dunn, on his way back from New York by train when something goes wrong. The train crashes, and in the hospital he is stunned to find out that he is the only survivor. He is met by his wife and son, and we realise that all has not been well between them prior to his trip. He is trying to come to terms with his own survival in the train wreck.
That the lives of David Dunn and Elijah will cross is something that is obvious to all. Elijah is drawn to David because of his seeming unbreakability, likening him to the comic book heroes. David is aware of certain aspects of his psyche that he does not think are normal, and he is troubled by. I don't want to go into the movie in depth as that will spoil it for those who have yet to see it.
The movie is extremely engrossing, and you find yourselves drawn to the character, and guessing at what might happen next. I must admit, it was not exactly as I expected it, but it was a brilliant film. The actors became the characters they were playing, the story was entertaining and had a twist that was entirely unexpected (or at least, it was to me!) and it was well worth watching.
Enjoyed it very much!
I wish more movies were as original and intelligent as Unbreakable instead of the constant, overdone cash-cows that are spewed out as ridiculous sequels today.
It brings the unlikely match up of Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis. Both huge actors who give very impressive leads in this 2000 psychological thriller.
Willis plays David Dunn; a divorced father and security guard who is involved in a train crash right from the start of the movie where he is the only one to survive. Not just that... he isn't even hurt. Elijah "Mr Glass" Price (Jackson) is brought into the plot as a comic book gallery owner who suffers from OI (brittle and easily broken bones. It also limits growth so Samuel L. Jackson being over 6 feet is highly innacurate) and has theories about David Dunn that cause Dunn to take action and find out exactly what is going on.
What I love about this movie is the comic book aspect of the plot. Elijah couldn't play sport or go out with friends as a child so read comic books as a pass time which eventually lead to an obsession with Good vs Evil. Jackson's lines are my favourite in this, he is convicing and interesting. It was brilliant to see a movie about real-life "superheroes" or comic-book characters and although I don't read them myself, they are my favourite movie genre. For me, the plot and the two leads are what make this movie ground-breaking. There are plot twists and sub-plots throughout that keep the movie from becoming linear and the ending was just as good as the beginning. As much as you are persuaded to dislike Mr Glass, you cannot help but what to know more about him
Put down X-Men 3, Transporter 3, Spiderman 3 and Saw 136 and instead watch something refreshing and unique.
For a brief spell the name M Night Shyamalan film was a guarantee of quality: a promise that of an atmospheric, slow-burning tale with an unexpected twist at the end.
That period didn't last long. Arguably, Shyamalan's second film is also his last decent one. It builds on lessons learned from The Sixth Sense and is probably a more accomplished and confident film. Everything that happens feels natural and the various plot strands seem to segue into each other, without appearing forced. It's pretty well known that most Shyamalan films feature some sort of twist - a tactic he has over-used. Unlike his later efforts, the twist in Unbreakable, whilst surprising, feels like a natural progression.
As with The Sixth Sense, it's best to go into Unbreakable knowing little about it. However, the following can safely be told. David Dunn, an ordinary Joe, miraculously is the sole survivor of a train wreck in Philadelphia. Following the accident, he strikes up an uneasy relationship with Elijah Price, a man who suffers from brittle bone disease.
As was his trademark, Shyamalan concentrates on building atmosphere right from the start. The opening sequences are intriguing and immediately pull you in. The two main characters are quickly and efficiently introduced before he moves onto the main plot. As with The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable is a slow-burning film; the emphasis is more on atmosphere than action, and this may put some people off. Stick with it because the slow-build up and concentration on characters provides a deeply engrossing film, whilst the ending makes for a satisfying pay-off.
Some people may also be put off by the fact that the story pays quite a bit of attention to the significance and mythology of comic books. Don't be: you don't need to be a comic geek to understand and enjoy the film (although you might get a little more out of it). It's not like the comic book discussion sequence in Kill Bill 2, which felt shoe-horned in to show how big a comic book geek Quentin Tarantino was. Here there is a point to the occasional discussions about comics and superheroes. Moreover, the discussions feel natural and, within the confines of the story, make sense.
The first time you watch Unbreakable, you will probably spend a lot of the film scratching your head, as it doesn't really follow conventional story patterns. Yet, the tale is so well told that, even when you're not quite sure exactly what's going on, you become intrigued and want to find out more.
It's helped by the fact that Unbreakable is anchored in two highly charismatic leads. Bruce Willis had already surprised the world with his sensitive, low key performance in The Sixth Sense, and he returns here as David Dunn. Proving The Sixth Sense was no fluke, Willis again turns in a quiet, underplayed "everyman" performance that's a far cry from hi action hero days. Dunn is both an intriguing and a sympathetic character. His still, silent, reflective demeanour speaks of an unfulfilled life; a life of wasted opportunities and you feel very sorry for him.
Willis' understated performance is in sharp contrast to Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price. Price is an angry man whose bones so break easily that as a child, he had the nickname Mr Glass. You could make a case for arguing that Price is the younger brother of Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction, the runt of that particular litter. Jackson plays him with the same kind of pent-up anger and venom, exactly the kind of role he's so good at. Price should be deeply objectionable and unlikeable, but, as usual in the hands of Jackson, he proves charismatic, more than a little charming and rather enigmatic. His shouty, grandstanding performance complements Willis' understated role and proves that two Hollywood legends can work together successfully.
Second time around, Shyamalan appears more confident as a director. Most of the time he shoots in a fairly conventional style, framing the shots as you would expect. Just occasionally, though, he introduces a few little camera tricks. These are never so fancy as to be annoying, but add a surprising amount to the atmosphere. Take, for example, one of the opening sequences on the train. Dunn is talking to a fellow passenger and the camera moves silently between the gap in the seat in front, shifting from left to right to focus on whichever character is speaking. As well as being a neat way of introducing some movement to an otherwise static scene, it also gives the feeling that we are there, on that train, eavesdropping on a private conversation.
What Shyamalan is most well known for, though, is his sudden twists and so it proves with Unbreakable. It doesn't quite manage the gut-punch ending of The Sixth Sense, and perhaps is a little more esoteric. Some critics have moaned about it, claiming it is too far-fetched; a twist included as a gimmick. Personally, I think it's a very appropriate ending which ties in well with the tone of the rest of the film. It may not have the same haunting quality as The Sixth Sense or be as memorable, yet it works well within the overall context of the film. Like any good twist it catches you off-guard the first time and makes you want to go back and re-watch the film to spot the clues which led up to it.
Unbreakable may not be quite as strong as The Sixth Sense, or have quite such a widespread appeal. The comic book matter may put some people off, but it's still a great film. Its re-watch value may be a little limited, but that's true of any "twist" film. It's certainly worth watching at least twice.
On the evidence of M Night Shyamalan films so far, a simple formula emerges. M Night Shyamalan + Bruce Willis = good film. M Night Shyamalan + anyone else = rubbish film. After the dross that was The Happening, Mr Night had better get on the phone to Mr Willis as soon as he can.
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Running time: approx. 106 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2009
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Producers: M. Night Shyamalan, Barry Mendel and Sam Mercer.
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn and Spencer Treat Clark.
I first saw this movie when it first came out and was pleasantly surprised with the story and even more so by the brilliant way that both Willis and Jackson portrayed their characters... mainly remembering Willis as a hard as nail cop from his roles in Die Hard, (although I did enjoy his character in 'The Sixth Sense a year earlier), and Jackson from his action roles in his earlier movies such as Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown.
And as I had seen these two actors working together in Die Hard with a Vengeance (1994) I felt that this reunion would be just as worthy of my time... and how right I was.
So when I saw it advertised on the small screen the other night I instantly wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered...
This hour and 50 minute psychological thriller was released in late 2000, (although not brought out on Blu ray until 2008) and given a PG-13 certificate.
Following the idea of both ends of life's spectrum, where if a person is seen as near invincible then there must be his opposite, a person who is as fragile as glass.
* BRIEF PLOT....
David Dunn, (played by Bruce Willis) is a security guard whose marriage to Audrey, (played by Robin Wright Penn) is falling apart, forcing him to think about his life.
When he is involved in a train crash he begins to question his existence as he realises that he was the only survivor from the hundreds of passengers onboard, and what's more, he walked away from the tangled wreckage with out even a scratch.
But when David is contacted by Elijah Price, (played by Samuel L Jackson), who has spent most of his life in and out of hospital due to having been born with a rare disease, where his bones are brittle and can break with the slightest touch, he first thinks Elijah is insane with his theories...
As David begins to listen to Elijah theory he realises that his own life may not be as simple as first thought... uncovering some rather strange abilities... including an ability to see into peoples minds... leading him into some heroic, yet dangerous events...
So with both men beginning to realise just what is unravelling David uncovers the horrifying truth about his new found friend.
* IN CONCLUSION...
What a brilliant movie this is and well worth watching over and over again...
The story is well written and opens up some rather good theories regarding opposite ends of life's spectrum...
Shyamalan has again created another fantastic movie using Willis as the star, using him a year earlier in The Sixth Sense, and bringing another fantastic thrilling movie with a bit of an unexpected ending.
This is probably one of Willis's best movies to date (In my opinion anyway), and probably one of Jacksons as well if I have to be honest, (especially considering some of the trash Jackson has been involved in since this movie...if you've seen Snakes on a plane you'll know what I'm talking about).
It is Willis in yet another 'serious' role, as a man with an ability to avoid serious injuries, taking him away from his gun toting, plane chasing, car racing hero cop most of the world have come to associate the man with, and he does it with passion, (almost as good as his role in).
The action in this one isn't your usual Willis or Jackson, their roles being more on the mental and emotional side of the characters rather than their abilities to shoot and drive like madmen.... Although there are one or two scenes which may make you cringe, especially a certain scene when Jackson takes a tumble down the subway steps?
The story is well written and the plot runs at a good enough pace to keep the audience happy... with many good turns and several flash backs, this a movie does need that little bit of concentration and with a brilliant twist toward the end you'll feel glad that you watched it.
In all, a movie that is well worth watching for the shear psychological entertainment value alone, with some fantastic acting and an all out well written story... (keep them coming Shyamalan... )
If you want to own this DVD then whip over to www.amazon.co.uk and get a copy for less than a fiver, or go for the blu ray version, getting better quality pictures, for less than £17.00....
M NIght Shyamalan is known for making very artistic and curious films no matter the subject. Usually, this involves the supernatural, and in a way, this film does too, taking a 'superhero' comic and making a film out of it in his own inimitable style. As a result, I am completely on the fence about this film, but in the sense that it's verging on fantastic and would be were it not for the fact that I couldn't quite bring myself to enjoy it!
The premise is clever: David Dunn is a regular guy, as far as he is concerned, until one day he survives a train crash. He is the only survivor and, stunned, he soons realises that he is unbreakable, that is, he is apparently indestructible. However, when he meets the sinister and frail Elijah Price, he soon discovers that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Shyamalan takes a clever story and gives it his sinister twist, with excellent casting in some places and run of the mill in others. The story essentially centres round Dunn and Price, with Bruce Willis taking the role of the former, and Samuel L Jackson slipping effortlessly into the shoes of Price. The remainder of the cast do quite well, but it is the contrast between the average Willis and the excellent Jackson that is a surprise, and leads me to think it was a deliberate ploy on Shyamalan's part: making Willis seem average and weak in his acting role while his character is indestructible, and giving the opposite to Jackson, whose acting is succinct, but whose character is fragile beyond belief.
The film ultimately deals with good and evil, portraying Dunn as Good and Price as Evil, and if we were to use the analogy of a set of scales, everytimes Dunn proves his indestructibility, he gets more powerful (and as a result so does Good), and Price weakens (and Evil, too). It's a clever message and this is where I find myself on the fence: in its delivery, and how the message is relayed. Giving two different people the two parts of the analogy and creating a curious drama out of it gives it the supernatural element we know and love with Shyamalan. It is just very strange and something I still to this day find a strange situation.
However, the film itself is very well made, and powerfully delivered, there is no denying this. For the time being, I will rate it at 4 stars, as it's great but there's something bugging me about the delivery of the message and analogy. The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.97, and the copy I have doesn't have any extras.
This movie was FANTASTIC! It put a different spin on super hero movies. This is the first superhero movie that wasn't based on a comic book or cartoon television series. It was an excellent concept of the idea that you could be a superhero and not even know it.
This is one of M. Night Shyamalan's greatest movies other than the sixth sense of course, which hmmm...also stars Bruce Willis...do I see a pattern here that corresponds between M. Night's hits and Bruce Willis?? Anyway, back to the story outline. This movie is about the main character David Dunne, played by Bruce Willis, who at the beginning of the film is involved in a train crash and he is the only survivor, and beyond that, he doesn't have a scratch on him! This is pretty miraculous seeing a all of the other hundreds of passengers died from the crash. To walk away without a scratch is AMAZING.
David doesn't think anything about this miracle that has happened to him, until he is approached by a man named Elijah Prince, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Elijah seems convinced that David is a superhero. At first, obviously, David thinks he is insane, but when he really starts to look at the facts he realizes their may be some truth to Elijah's theories. Here is when the real excitement begins, as David begins honing in on his super powers (not anything crazy like laser beams for eyes or freezing time) just enhanced human powers. He thus begins trying to use these powers to stop the evils of the world around him.
This movie is exciting, entertaining, and will keep you hanging on every characters words until the very last scene. I highly recommend this film.
Unbreakable is a surprisingly underrated film by M Night Shyamalan, Director of the Sixth Sense. Maybe it is because it followed his debut thriller / horror film that it has not been given the consideration it deserved. Sure, it is not as slick as the super hero films it is designed to emulate (Heroes does a much better job) but it does tell a wonderful story and, although I again guessed the twist in this one as I did with the Sixth Sense, it still surprised me in a couple of places and Bruce Willis continues to prove that he can actually act. Samuel L Jackson is wonderful in his role too, maybe the only time I have ever seen him play a character with such a profound weakness, and the script is very good, if a bit slow in places... but this just seems to build the tension even more as we push inexorably to the end of the movie and its climax. Still better than anything Shyamalan has done since, with the possible exception of Signs
This film starts with a train crash, with only one survivor. David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis) the survivor is contacted soon after by a strange man called Elijah Price (played by Samuel L. Jackson).
Price has been obsessed by comic books since he was a child. Inflicted by an illness that means his bones break extremely easily, he is attracted by the strength of superheroes. He believes that Dunn didn't survive due to luck, but because he is in fact an unknowing superhero, invulnerable to injury.
For me, the real star of this show is Dunn's son Joseph (played by Spencer Treat Clark). Present when Price explains his theory, the boy believes it entirely, and is distraught when his father doesn't, going to some rather extreme lengths to try to prove that Dunn is indeed a superhero.
A well-acted film, with an original script - I haven't seen anything like it before or since. Amazon's offering it for £4.98, and it's well worth a look.
In unbreakable the film he made after his breakthrough smash "The sixth sense" M. Night Shyamalan gives bruce willis another opportunity to show he really can act, in a character driven superhero story that's rooted in and makes reference to it's comic book origins.
Willis plays blue collar david dunn-a stadium security worker who right at the start of the film emerges without a scratch from a major train wreck. Then portentous Elijah Price (samuel L Jackson) contacts him and persuades him to see his life and being as something unusual with a pre-destined purpose.
To give away too much plot would deprive the first time viewer of the surprise directions of the story. Surfice to say for a film of this genre it takes its time and is well considered, where M. Night Shyamalan prefers hints and restrained action scenes to tell his tale rather than dollar blowing pyrotechnics.
I only buy films I really like on DVD and I would buy this one again.
Thank's for reading may also be posted on other review sites.
M Night Shyamalan is a director with an impressive track record. So it was something of a surprise that his, allegedly self-absorbed production, Lady in the Water tanked at the box office recently. Maybe the writings been on the wall for a while. The Village was another flawed foray into the world of the supernatural whilst Signs had been a decidedly uneven production mixing the UFO genre into Shyamalans distinctively suspenseful melting pot of sci-fi suggestion and borderline, Hitchcockian suspense. Perhaps the Indian director with a penchant for the unusual may never top the 1999 and 2000 movies The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable respectively and its the latter that Id like to reflect on for now.
David Dunne (Bruce Willis) is a Philadelphia security guard who works at the local football stadium. Once a budding football star himself, Dunne was the victim of a car crash in his youth that put an end to his potential sporting career but brought him together with his wife (Robin Wright Penn). As the sole survivor of a recent train crash, the mysterious Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) contacts him; a rare comic-book collector who sells comic book artwork to sophisticated clients. Price is fascinated with Dunnes miraculous escape from the train wreck and starts to pry into the security guards background. Dunnes apparent resistance to any physical harm is in sharp contrast to his own vulnerability to breaking bones; something he has done repeatedly since birth. Price tells Dunne that he may be invincible and should let go and find the special powers latent within him. At first, Dunne is sceptical but as time goes on, more and more evidence appears to indicate that Prices suggestion that Dunne may be a superhero could be right after all. As the security guard embarks on a journey of self-discovery, his relationship with the wheelchair bound, comic book aficionado becomes ever more complicated until the final, incredible finale uncovers how the two are inextricably linked.
Having scored a runaway hit in The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, Shyamalan once again teams up with Willis as his lead starring alongside the irrepressible Samuel L Jackson as the bitter paraplegic with his own, sinister agenda. I have to say that Ive been a fan of Bruce Willis ever since I saw him in the syndicated gumshoe series Moonlighting. From those early days of playing opposite the gorgeous but slightly maniacal looking Cybil Shepherd, Willis has gone from strength to strength. He has actually played a broad cross-section of acting roles although many typecast him as the hero in a dirty vest from movies like the Die Hard trilogy. Having starred in some of my very favourite science fiction movies including The Fifth Element and Gilliams Twelve Monkeys, Willis has an impressive track record of decent sci-fi to reminisce over along with singing Under the Boardwalk and co-owning Planet Hollywood. In Unbreakable, he plays the confused but ultimately heroic, prodigal father with a deftness that has characterised his later roles and made him one of the biggest box office draws of the last decade. The on screen chemistry with his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) and his wife is neatly drawn and the obvious problems that their marriage has encountered is underscored by Willis melancholy often portrayed by a bowed head or a nonchalant response when addressed by his wife.
What makes the movie work is the wonderful interplay between Willis and Jackson. Samuel L Jackson has become an institution and roles like this, it seems, were made for his distinctive voice and overpowering screen presence. From his latest tongue-in-cheek Snakes on a Plane to the Tarrantino vehicle Pulp Fiction, Jackson is the master of cool; a man so laid back he could float in a swimming pool without a lilo. The script certainly helps and the multi-talented Shyamalan once again writes and directs with some great dialogue aimed front and centre at Jacksons very high acting abilities. Not only does he manage to gel with Willis but lines like Do you see any Teletubbies in here? Do you see a slender plastic tag clipped to my shirt with my name printed on it? Do you see a little Asian child with a blank expression on his face sitting outside on a mechanical helicopter that shakes when you put quarters in it? No? Well, that's what you see at a toy store. And you must think you're in a toy store, because you're here shopping for an infant named Jeb. As a businessman tries to buy some of his artwork for his infant son only to be repelled in a blast of indignance from the incomparably stuffy, Jackson underlining his ability to deliver a line with gusto. As he goes on to say later, Now that we know who you are... I know who I am - I'm not a mistake! It all makes sense, in the comics you know who the arch villain is going to be? He's the exact opposite of the hero! And most time's they're friends like you, and me. I should've known way back when you know why David? Because of the kids! They called me Mr. Glass. Iconic.
Shyamalans camera work is as inventive as ever: As Price falls down some stairs pursuing a member of the crowd that Dunne has highlighted as having a gun (he's sensed it rather than actually knows it), the camera tumbles and falls and the audience stumbles and trips too only to lie upside down at the bottom just in time to see the fleeing criminal jump over a turnstile causing his jacket to billow and the gun unveiled. Better still is the sequence where Dunne finally realises his potential in a bleak house on the edge of town. As Dunne turns, he finds himself pushed over a balcony and into a swimming pool. As Dunnes terror rises with the pool cover quickly relinquishing under his weight, plunging him into the water, the feeling of inadequacy and terror is brought home by the swirling shots from under the surface with Dunne squirming but helpless unless someone is willing to come to his aid.
Unbreakable takes our fascination with comic book, super heroes and turns the genre into an adult story of suspense and serendipity. Jackson and Willis are on top form and the story is tight with a thrilling ending. Taught, suspenseful with no lack of soul, this is one of Shyamalans finest hours. Unbreakable is rated 12 and has a run time of 106 minutes. There are some scenes of violence and the movie will appeal to older children and adults. Ive seen the movie several times now and enjoy it more and more each time I see it. If you like a great story, well directed with superb acting then this will be for you.
Highly recommended with 5 stars.
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In Unbreakable, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan reunites with Sixth Sense star Bruce Willis, comes up with another story of everyday folk baffled by the supernatural (or at least unknown-to-science) and returns to his home town, presenting Philadelphia as a wintry haunt of the bizarre yet transcendent. This time around, Willis (in earnest, agonised, frankly bald Twelve Monkeys mode) has the paranormal abilities, and a superbly un-typecast Samuel L. Jackson is the investigator who digs into someone else's strange life to prompt startling revelations about his own. David Dunn (Willis), an ex-jock security guard with a failing marriage (to Robin Wright Penn), is the stunned sole survivor of a train derailment. Approached by Elijah Price (Jackson), a dealer in comic book art who suffers from a rare brittle bone syndrome, Dunn comes to wonder whether Price's theory that he has superhuman abilities might not hold water. Dunn's young son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) encourages him to test his powers and the primal scene of Superman bouncing a bullet off his chest is rewritten as an amazing kitchen confrontation when Joseph pulls the family gun on Dad in a desperate attempt to convince him that he really is unbreakable (surely, "Invulnerable" would have been a more apt title). Half-convinced he is the real-world equivalent of a superhero, Dunn commences a never-ending battle against crime but learns a hard lesson about balancing forces in the universe. Throughout, the film refers to comic-book imagery--with Dunn's security guard slicker coming to look like a cape, and Price's gallery taking on elements of a Batcave-like lair--while the lectures on artwork and symbolism feed back into the plot. The last act offers a terrific suspense-thriller scene, which (like the similar family-saving at the end of The Sixth Sense) is a self-contained sub-plot that slingshots a twist ending that may have been obvious all along. Some viewers might find the stately solemnity with which Shyamalan approaches a subject usually treated with colourful silliness offputting, but Unbreakable wins points for not playing safe and proves that both Willis and Jackson, too often cast in lazy blockbusters, have the acting chops to enter the heart of darkness. --Kim Newman