IJW: Unbreakable (2000)
"Unbreakable" was released when a time M. Night Shyamalan could not do any wrong in the public's eyes and with "Unbreakable", we get it and it clicks. The film is a testament to the man's unique literary visions. With the film, we get a superhero film that doesn't feel like it. It's an unabashed, realistic look that feels more human than heroics.
When a train crash occurs in Philadelphia, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the only survivor without any broken bones or scratches. At the funeral service of the crash's victims, David receives an invitation from the owner of a comic book store named Limited Edition. The sender also poses a question in when was the last time David has been sick or hurt. He realizes he has never been – or at least he can't remember any instance ever in his life. David eventually decides to go to Limited Edition and meet the sender, Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), who proposes that David is physically unbreakable.
For modern superhero audiences, "Unbreakable" might be a huge shocker. There's none of the flash and bang that we are used to. Missing are the big action set pieces and the fights, if you can even consider them fights, are really shown just for movement of the plot and nothing else. David Dunn is also not likable from the outset. He is imperfect as any regular personal out there with his own problems and quirks. But here is where "Unbreakable's" charm is rooted at. This is a different kind of superhero origin story. The end goal of Dunn's redemption is not transforming from a regular person to a superhero but more in fixing the undesirables personal life. Eventually we get to see a differemt take on Dunn and what eventually started as someone we judged as bad is actually someone who had sacrificed so much. The movie takes its time developing this and becomes really tedious at times. But Shyamalan was a wizard with his camera work as he was able to keep things fresh with various perspectives that are not only stylish but takes these moments closer to the audiences. Bruce Willis was also outstanding here. Who knew an action star could convey so much emotion in a very timid film? The only disappointment are the stifled ending and the big reveal. The ending was too quick – a shocker in itself. We were only getting into the Dunn character when the credits showed up. The big reveal is clever yet not as huge as say "The Sixth Sense". Overall, "Unbreakable" was an outlier in the superhero genre even during its release 17 years ago and that's really why it turns out to be a classic in itself.
Rating: 4 reels