Release date: Nov. 22, 2000
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn
Budget: $75 million
Box office: $248.1 million
Security Guard David Dunn, the sole survivor of a train crash, learns he may be more than an average human.
Unbreakable is a fascinating film in its attempts to deconstruct the superhero genre while also crafting an enjoyable story with those elements. Shyamalan takes the usual trappings of superheroes and villains normally found in comic books, including their interactions, and delving into their particulars. Most notably, the film seems to make the case that villains and heroes need each other as good cannot exist without evil nor could evil exist without good. This notion is given an interesting demonstration through its principle characters and how none of them feel as if they have any meaning in their lives unless they are either doing good or doing evil.
The plot itself is intriguing, following a man who survives a brutal train wreck and in the following days not only discovers more about himself but also reconsiders various aspects of his past and how they fit into the events currently plaguing him. The film does well in allowing the viewer to discover this world’s secrets alongside Dunn, providing the audience with just as much confusion and intensity as he feels from scene to scene. Further, the villain is perfect in the way they manipulate people and events in order to bring about the outcome they desire. The film may drag in moments, though the pacing easily corrects itself.
The film is good technically, too, with some unique camerawork. It starts off well with the first scene largely being conveyed through a mirror and another early scene features the camera going back and forth in a gap between train seats, focusing on Dunn and another character individually as they speak. It goes on for some time, giving off a feeling of dread as if something is about to happen to change their lives. The payoff comes not much later. Further, the rapid switching gives the viewer a sense of watching this conversation take place while looking at both characters from the other seat, a point of view the audience would later see is a child sitting in front of Dunn.
It’s not a film for everybody. Nevertheless, it is one everyone should at least see once.
Bogey Awards, Germany
· Bogey Award in Silver
Golden Trailer Awards
· Best Horror/Thriller (For the teaser #1)
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA – Saturn Awards
· Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
Black Reel Awards
· Best Film Poster
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
· Favorite Actor – Suspense (Samuel L. Jackson)
· Favorite Actor – Suspense (Bruce Willis)
· Favorite Supporting Actress – Suspense (Robin Wright Penn)
· Favorite Supporting Actor – Suspense (Spencer Treat Clark)
Bram Stoker Awards
International Horror Guild Awards
· Best Movie
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards – Sierra Awards
· Best Score
Online Film & Television Association Awards
· Best Cinematography
· Best Official Film Website
Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America – Nebula Awards
· Best Script
The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards
· Worst On-Screen Hairstyle (Samuel L. Jackson)