Unbreakable follows down-on-his-luck David Dunn as he miraculously survives a train accident, and finds he has superpowers he can use to do good.
M. Night Shyamalan’s career is an interesting one. His highs are high and his lows are low. Two of his best movies he released in a period of two years, one in 1999, and one in 2000. One is, as many of you know, The Sixth Sense. The other is Unbreakable.
Unbreakable is effectively Shyamalan’s take on the superhero genre. And not a Last Airbender Shyamalan, but a much better Sixth Sense Shyamalan. It contains a lot of the lighting and pacing techniques that made The Sixth Sense good, including the use of darkly lit backgrounds and silence to set the tone. The settings are perfect, especially of Dunn’s workplace, a football stadium, which is usually in film depicted as a brightly lit place, but here is depicted as dark and depressing, like Dunn’s life. The cinematography is excellent, and contains plenty of visual metaphors, with the protagonist and the antagonist captured in ways that visually show their respective power in the situation.
The costume design is interesting, as there are no costumes, instead outfits that act as costumes made out of ordinary items. For example, Dunn wears a signature grey raincoat, which, while isn’t a superhero outfit, acts as one. This is also a much more realistic version of the superhero outfit, as it works in protecting Dunn’s identity in the film but doesn’t require any effort to make.
The film serves as an interesting take on the superhero genre, as the film is able to succeed as an origin story superhero film, while not containing a lot of action sequences. The film, for the most part, is a drama, which you usually don’t see. Save for The Joker and a few others, superhero movies are almost entirely action-packed. Also, it’s unique simply because it isn’t a Marvel or DC film, instead its own project. It’s not a new take on an old character, as most superhero films are; it’s completely original.
Shyamalan is known for his signature twists; he’s seen as a master of them, and Unbreakable is no different in that aspect. I genuinely didn’t see the twist coming, and I’m sure you won’t either. The twist also doesn’t come off as unnecessarily shocking or stupid; it works well with the film.
There are some excellent performances in this movie. Obviously, Samuel L. Jackson and Robin Wright are excellent, and their performances didn’t feel like acting; they embodied these characters. Bruce Willis also does a good job, his acting mostly shining in the facial expressions he gives, as his character is mild mannered.
The writing in this film is mediocre. Shyamalan isn’t known for his screenwriting, and most of his box office failures are due to it. In this film, the acting and the cinematography can cover it up effectively, but it’s still present. It’s not the worst writing in the world, and the storyline remains strong, but the dialogue is disjointed at times. Characters tend to state things in a very obvious way, with little nuance. The characters are relatable, and you do enjoy them, but they do sometimes feel more like characters and less like people.
This is a really good take on the superhero genre with a cool twist. It’s definitely worth the watch.
Unbreakable: One of Shyamalan’s best
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Acting - 8.8/108.8/10
Music - 10/1010/10
Production - 9.5/109.5/10
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