A to Z Challenege 2015 - Day 21 - Unbreakable

U Is For Unbreakable

Preamble: The comic book nerd in me loves this movie. Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson slay in this movie. I never get tired of watching this movie. Sure it's a M. Night Shyamalan flick but I honestly think it's his best work to date (and probably ever). It's hard to believe that so many thought this film to be Shymalan's worst. Thank goodness for, Signs, The Village and The Happening being made so that his filmography was forced to be re-evaluated.
Year: 2000

Rated: PG-13

Summary - David Dunn is the sole survivor of a devastating train wreck. Elijah Price is a mysterious stranger who offers a bizarre explanation as to why David escaped without a single scratch -- an explanation which threatens to change David's family and his life forever.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Written by: M. Night Shyamalan

  • Bruce Willis as David Dunn
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price
  • Robin Wright as Audrey Dunn
  • Laura Regan as Audrey Inverso (Age 20)
  • Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn
  • Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price
  • Eamonn Walker as Dr. Mathison
  • M. Night Shyamalan as Stadium drug dealer
  • Richard E. Council as Noel
  • Michael Kelly as Dr. Dubin

The Review
Is it just me or is that these days, the masses don't appreciate a buildup of atmosphere, strong character interaction, and stories heavily centered on characters and their psychology? Unbreakable has all of these traits, and proves to be a superior movie to the Sixth Sense in my opinion.

As an avid comic book geek I appreciate the fact that Unbreakable was very light on dialogue, making full use of subtle gestures, movements, and actions to represent the character's thoughts. The character's environment plays a similar role and certain colors are often brought up to represent distinct emotions and thoughts the character has.

Shymalan constructed something so rich in visual texture while managing to keep the story subdued and character development full of deep-seated anticipation. Every plot point came perfectly without any extra connotations that usually creep into superhero stories.
The technical aspects of this movie blow me away every time. The scoring in particular blew me away. It is so powerful. James Newton Howard provides a score that is compelling and bellowing. Yet it never gets to a point where it too much. The emotional weight and emotive power of his chords and his overall composition are just downright spine tingling at various points.

Eduardo Serra's work as a cinematographer on this film is brilliant. His unique and creative touch really added to the direction. In keeping with the "comic book" theme of the movie, you will notice that almost every shot is taken as if you are looking through or in between something. Like the squares of a comic strip. There is also a dark, slightly blue colored filter used throughout most of the film. This gives the movie a very bold, but eerie tone. Showing that the world can be a rough and scary place, but it can also be fought and overcome. It is evident that time and effort went into every shot. It may not slap many viewers in the face as brilliant, but it really strikes a chord with me.

Now, I will say I do have a major problem with this film and that problem is the ending. 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.

Other than that, it's a great film, really.

Grade: A-

Aces for Acting
  • Samuel L. Jackson

  • Bruce Willis

Least Favorite Character
  • Joseph Dunn

Best Character Interactions
  • Elijah and David

Best Scene
Elijah Price: It has begun. Tell me something, David. When you woke up this morning... Was it still there? The sadness?
David Dunn: No.
Elijah Price: I think this is where we shake hands.
Elijah Price: [flashback occurs upon shaking] I worked in that building 25 years, I know all its secrets.
David Dunn: Secrets?
Elijah Price: Like, if there ever was a fire on floors 1, 2 or 3, everyone in that hotel would be burned alive.
[after flashbacks end]
Elijah Price: You know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world. To not know why you're here... That's... That's just an awful feeling.
David Dunn: What have you done...?
Elijah Price: I almost gave up hope. There were so many times I questioned myself...
David Dunn: You killed all those people...
Elijah Price: But I found you. So many sacrifices, just to find you.
David Dunn: Jesus Christ...
Elijah Price: Now that we know who you are, I know who I am. I'm not a mistake! It all makes sense! In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain's going to be? He's the exact opposite of the hero. And most times 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.

Notable Quotable
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.

Most Memorable Moment
Elijah Price: You made that decision, and I find that very, very interesting. Now all I need is your credit card number...
Did I whet your appetite to watch Unbreakable for the first time or maybe just the first time in a long time?

Be sure to come back tomorrow because I'm discussing Valley Girl.

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