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(2000) rated: PG-13

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright and lots of comic books.

Synopsis: David Dunn (Bruce Willis) rides trains. One day he is on a train that derails. He is the only survivor; not a scratch on him. He soon meets up with Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), a man who has read too many comic books and who offers Dunn an implausible answer.

Review: Once upon a time, I watched a movie called Batman & Robin. For some reason, I actually volunteered money for the priveledge of viewing that garbage. One of the villains in that movie is Dr. Freeze. How did Dr. Freeze become and evil fiend? This simple but demanding question is dealt with for 10-20 of the lamest seconds in cinematic history. Then its off to the explosions and the special effects. Unbreakable is a 2 hour movie about what most films spend 10-20 seconds on. It is a film of self discovery and origins. And I am pleased to say, it is an excellent film. I don't believe I would call it brilliant or groundbreaking, but it is good nonetheless.

In case you are confused, this movie is probably not what you think. Believe it or not, the movie is about Bruce Willis' character's discovery that he is a superhero. You heard me. While this may seem silly, the good news is that this film takes its premise seriously and it does so appropriately. Though I am not an expert in the field of comic books, I believe this film to be a grand example of what is good about a comic book. It's more subtle and sophisticated than you might expect.

Shyamalan has a strange modus operandi. He sets his story within a special world; a world with a lot of potential (in this case, a world where someone is "unbreakable"). But this potential is merely touched upon or used as a catalyst of events. Looking back, this was a slow moving film (and so was the Sixth Sense); there isn't much in the way of action or special effects or cgi. Its more about characterization than anything else, and that is this movie's strength. Shyamalan's direction is also strange, with lots of visual cues and implications (things upside down, obscured shots, color cues, etc...) All the parts are played well by their respective actor's, though no performance really stood out in my mind.

The ending of the film is a bit abrupt. There is a revelation of sorts, though it is not as spectacular as the ending of the Sixth Sense, and yet the ending of both films is the most important part. It puts the rest of the film into perspective, and it redeems the ignored potential of the story. In the case of Unbreakable, the ending probably won't be much of a suprise to those familiar with comic books, but it doesn't really matter because it still works effectively.

Did you know:
• The color purple and upside down shots are associated with Samuel L. Jackson's character?
• The college football player playing with the kids in the park was mentioned by his agent earlier in the film.
• M. Night's cameo as a would-be drug dealer.

• Are you Unbreakable? If you were, how would you find out?
• Why are there so many upside-down shots in this film?
• What do you think about the Original Ending in relation to the theatrical ending?
• Is this movie better than the Sixth Sense? Why or why not?

Original Ending: Much more subtle than the theatrical version. (contains SPOILERS)
Are you unbreakable: (Official Site) This page is cool, it shows a bunch of historical evidence for people who were "unbreakable".
Coming Attractions Page: Production history of Unbreakable.
The Sixth Sense: My review of Shyamalan's last effort...
Unbreakable (IMDB)

The Sixth Sense
Mystery Men

The Store:
Unbreakable (DVD)
Unbreakable (VHS)
Unbreakable: Original Motion Picture Score (CD)

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