Movie Plot – Unbreakable: A man discovers something extraordinary about himself after a devastating train accident.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright
An “Unbreakable” man
The life of David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a security guard at a football stadium, is not without its problems. He struggles especially with the problems of his family, consisting of his wife and son. After David is the only one to survive a terrible train accident – without sustaining even a scratch – he meets the mysterious comic book dealer Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). This eccentric figure seems to have a possible explanation for David’s survival that rocks David’s life. David, however, is not without hesitation to accept the far-fetched explanation, which will have far-reaching consequences for him and his family.
Without giving much away, Unbreakable, like The Sixth Sense, revolves around a person with special powers and the way in which the character in question and those around him manage to handle this phenomenon emotionally. In fact, this makes the film a social drama, a type of film that was ahead of its time. Fortunately, Jackson and Willis are perfectly capable of delivering their roles with conviction.
Not your average comic-book movie
Well, for starters, this isn’t really a comic-book movie as it’s not based on any existing material. However, it takes some inspiration and the story itself involves comics. Shyamalan uses stylistic shots with striking camera angles to tell his story, often trying to approximate the comic book (the film’s theme). In addition, one notices that many scenes are actually constructed from a single long shot. Another similarity between Unbreakable and its paranormal predecessor is the slow build-up of the whole thing.
When I’ve first seen this film, I remember that I was confused as I was expecting a lot of action and fights. Not that I was disappointed by it, but the psychological storytelling caught me off guard. Back then, I’ve never seen a movie with superpowers in this genre.
In fact, when I watch Unbreakable, I see it not only as a superhero movie but also as a Drama movie about two men trying to figure out their place in this world at any cost.
David Dunn feels like he is stuck in his life. And this is also what we get to see. He has relationship problems with his wife, and towards his son, he is mostly absent. The feeling of being stuck is repeated at many (important) moments in the film, like the moment when David wakes up for the first time after the train accident.
Mr. Glass, on the other hand, had nothing more than pain as his body is very fragile. Since the day he was born, he was breaking bones. He also wondered what his place was in this world where nothing made sense.
M. Night Shyamalan
And as always, with M. Night Shyamalan in his movies, the great strength, in this case, lies in the ending. Shyamalan is known for these kinds of storytelling. However, Unbreakable is one of his masterpieces. Unfortunately, he also directed “The Last Airbender,” which was a disaster.
Shyamalan has made many hits and misses over the years. However, one thing is certain, he has not become a copy of another director, but a director with his own identity.
Another theme that is used a lot in Shyamalan’s Unbreakable is; “Reflection”. For example, the symbolism of heroes and villains from the comic books reflects on the real world in this film. Heroes have a “perfect” and strong jawline. In contrast, villains have a more misshapen body.
I also love how he uses colors, as in the scene where David Dunn is detecting people with criminal activities. Everyone in that scenes has darker clothes, while the criminals have a colored outfit to stand out. Details like that make it feel like a comic-book.
Unbreakable is a masterpiece that manages to combine drama and the superhero theme. The themes, the symbolism, the acting, and the grandiose soundtrack are all excellent. In terms of superhero drama films, you won’t find many so dramatically good. A true Visual Wonder of Cinema.