To celebrate the upcoming release on “Glass,” here is my review of “Unbreakable.”
M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” is a superhero movie, but not the kind you’re expecting. It’s more of a thriller than an action movie, and deals with emotional problems. So no capes, no slogans, just comic books and special gifts. This is entertainingly gripping.
Bruce Willis stars as David Dunn, a security guard, who appears to be the only survivor of a train accident without a single scratch on him. He’s given a letter on his car, which asks him if he’s ever had a sick day before. He’s never been sick before, or at least he doesn’t remember if he did. He also knows he and his wife Audrey (Robin Wright) were in a car accident, and as a child, he nearly drowned. And he has the ability to see people’s previous crimes by touching their skin. So, these things prove he’s special.
Samuel L. Jackson plays Elijah Prince, who has suffers from a brittle bone disease, which gives him the nickname “Mr. Glass,” because he breaks like glass. He becomes a comic book theorist, who sends David the letter, and knows he has the potential of a superhero. And he knows about his previous accidents, including the drowning incident, and thus, water is his weakness. That’s why he wears a rain jacket.
David also has a son named Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), who, too, becomes convinced David is a superhero. He puts more weights on his dumbbells, and nearly shoots him as a way of knowing.
“Unbreakable” breaks form in countless ways. It’s one of those rare superhero movies to never feature any typical cliches, but to give a personal truth in its heroes and villains. It’s about special abilities, dark pasts, and emotional feelings. As the writer, producer, and director, M. Night Shyamalan knows his game, and he introduces us to people we may or may not have met before.
The actors here explode. Willis, Jackson, Wright, and Clark are all fine in the ways they ease their emotions, while struggling to grasp with the fantasies spliced into reality. They’re placed in scenes so gripping and strange that only Shyamalan can guide them at these levels.
There are a few lines I didn’t like to hear, but they become a minor issue for me. The rest of the movie is profound on its own level. Again, this is a superhero movie that has a gift of its own.