Remember the secrecy around ‘The Sixth Sense’? No one who saw the movie would give away the ending because it would ruin the film. Expect the same reaction from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s (‘Sixth Sense’) new film, ‘Unbreakable.’
David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the sole survivor of a massive train wreck, which makes him question the significance of his survival. His questions and answers go beyond that of mere survivor guilt. The question of whether he is human is raised.
Imagine Clark Kent growing up on earth, living the life that a normal person would live. Then he learns that he is not human and has super powers, such as being impervious to harm. However, instead of pursuing a career as a superhero, he becomes a lowly security guard at a university because of his intense desire to protect people. His decision to remain obscure and limited makes him bitter in his later years. This is the initial premise of ‘Unbreakable.’
The exploration of who he might really be begins when he meets Elijah ‘Mr. Glass’ Price (Samuel L. Jackson). Elijah feels that there is a connection between himself and Dunn. For Dunn, the stress of the accident and his survival has a push-pull effect on his wife Audrey (Robin Wright Penn) and son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), whose relationship with David was pretty shaky even before the accident.
These plot elements only scratch the surface and the movie succeeds in its secrecy. If I give any further information, it would have the same effect as if someone gave away the ending to the ‘The Sixth Sense.’
I was optimistic when I learned that Bruce Willis would be playing opposite Samuel L. Jackson again, since they worked well together in ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance.’ The same is true for ‘Unbreakable,’ but this time both actors interact with other characters more than they did in their last movie together.
There are no stellar acting performances. However, what makes this movie special is its subject matter and how it gives an alternative view to an old plot (think Superman). The story line is unique and makes dramatic a genre that is not normally considered serious: the comic book.
The photography and the editing are well done. Many scenes were shot at interesting angles and the camera movement was original and unconventional. Several important sequences were cut before enough information was conveyed to the audience, which added to the suspense and kept audience interest piqued.
As in ‘The Sixth Sense,’ you are confident in thinking that you know what is going on. Then the ending comes, and you learn that you were completely wrong.