Bruce Willis stars as David Dunn in M. Night Shyamalan's tale of a real life "superhero". The concept is simple – comic books are the last remaining vestiges of a very ancient form of storytelling. Like all stories, they have, over time, been exaggerated and embellished, but they nonetheless retain the essence of stories of people who are not like the rest of us. People who protect those unable to protect themselves.

After a train crash from which he is the sole survivor, David is contacted by comic book art gallery owner Elijah Price (Samuel L Jackson), who believes that David is one of the type of people on whom these comic book tales are based. Elijah has a rare bone disorder that makes his bones extremely brittle, and while spending a large part of his life inside reading comics, he has formed his theory.

The concept is executed very well - David is less not a superhuman, but rather a super human. This distinction is subtle, but important. One has amazing powers like flight or X-Ray vision; the other doesn't get sick, is very very strong and has good instincts for wrong-doing. We're not talking mutants, just a normal person turned up to 11. It is this distinction that the film makes that makes Unbreakable so refreshing and such a joy to watch.

Willis perfectly captures the feeling of someone who is unhappy with his life, but can't figure out what is wrong or missing. His distance from his wife and son is palpable, and we can see him visibly try to distance himself further from his son. It is only when he embraces and explores his abilities that he begins to fill this void, and bond with his family in the process.

When one thinks what could have been if this film was only the first instalment of a trilogy as Shyamalan intended, it can’t help but make you detest the Hollywood machine for what it is. Unbreakable is a great film, one that brought a freshness to the comic movie genre long before Spiderman, X-Men or Batman Begins came along. Essential viewing. Unbreakable? No, unfortunately not, but unmissable? Certainly. A.

1 comment:

CinemaPat said...

You covered a lot of my same thoughts on this movie. I haven't seen it in years, but now I want to watch it again!