David Dunn (Willis) is taking a train from New York City back home to Philadelphia after a job interview that didn't go well when his car jumps the tracks and collides with an oncoming engine, with David the only survivor among the 131 passengers on board. Astoundingly, David is not only alive, he hardly seems to have been touched. As David wonders what has happened to him and why he was able to walk away, he encounters a mysterious stranger, Elijah Prince (Samuel L. Jackson), who explains to David that there are a certain number of people who are "unbreakable" -- they have remarkable endurance and courage, a predisposition toward dangerous behavior, and feel invincible but also have strange premonitions of terrible events. Is David "unbreakable"? And if he is, what are the physical and psychological ramifications of this knowledge?
The movie has a textbook (and pretty obvious) example of the 'Chekhov's Gun' trope where David takes down his pistol from a closet, looks at it and replaces it, all for no apparent reason.
Chekhov was reported to have said (paraphrasing here) that if you mention or show an object earlier on in a book or play, then you must use it some time later, that is, if something is not essential, don't include it in the story. Chekhov used the example of a gun/rifle stating that if it is shown earlier, it must be fired/used later, but it can refer to any object or character. In this case Chekhov's gun is actually a gun. See more »
Elijah Price/Mr. Glass has osteogenesis imperfecta but is very tall. People with this disease generally don't grow to be as tall as Samuel L. Jackson. See more »
David Dunn led authorities to Limited Edition where evidence of three acts of terrorism was found.
Elijah Price is now in an institution for the criminally insane.
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As the movie starts, the FBI warning shatters like a window breaking. See more »
Early previews of the movie didn't have the superimposed text ending, leaving a more open ending. This version was released in France in theaters, but the text was next included in TV, video and DVD. See more »
My kudos to M. Night Shyamalan for proving the consistency of his moviemaking abilities. "Unbreakable" is a movie that is rich in both technical brilliance as well as script quality.
First, let me get my one objection for the movie off my chest. The ending could have been done better. The majority of the length of "Unbreakable" does an excellent job of building suspense, with the wonderfully muted, melancholy acting adding depth and tension to the plot. My problem is that it fails to live up to its own expectations; the ending does not consummate entirely what I expected it to. Somehow, in a movie that took painstaking details to illustrate every step and glance, concluding it in the manner that it did felt almost blasphemous. Maybe in a nameless action thriller it could be passed off as mere hackery. But here, it seems strangely out of place, kind of an enigma in itself...
Now that the ugly part is over with, I feel almost obligated to sing the praises of "Unbreakable". Shyamalan's prowess with photographic techniques and processes shows through in this, with rich reds and blacks given to scenes of moist emotion and colder colors dedicated to the bleak, uncaring (uncared for?) world. One technique I particularly liked was the manipulation of photographic mediums, some parts using crisp 35mm films and others using angry, shuttered magnetic (or 16mm?) film. In the end, it all worked very well, because each technique seemed to integrate seamlessly with the plot and mood (notice the confusion and panic at the very end?) "Traffic" is a good example of processing overdose. "Unbreakable", on the other hand, hones it perfectly. The lushness of this movie comes in close second to the wonderful eye candy of "American Beauty". I could watch it again easily... with the sound turned off!
On the more human side of the spectrum, the acting was wonderful. How nice it is to see Bruce Willis proving himself to be a true A-class actor! His unassuming and insecure behavior worked *perfectly* for this role. Samuel L. Jackson, like always, did a bang-up job with what the script gave him. Robin Wright and Spencer Clark's characters seemed a bit two dimensional, but they seemed to be minor roles compared to the prominence of Willis and Jackson's characters. A little character development would have been appreciated, but if the ending was a result of the time-constraint guillotine, then I would expect the developmental scenes to have gone too.
The thing that people seem to complain most about this movie is the plot. I like the premise. A little fantasy in our movies isn't such a bad thing once in a while, is it?
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