Unbreakable is one of M. Night Shyamalan’s earliest films and i’d say that after just seeing it for the first time it is now my favourite film by the Shyamalan. Thanks to the success of his most recent film ‘Split’ i thought i’d go back and watch what is the one film of his i haven’t seen (post ‘The Sixth Sense’) and complete the collection. The film follows David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his mysterious interactions with Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) after surviving a devastating train crash that left him completely unscathed. Having seen his other films i knew more or less what i was getting into….. or so i thought. This movie blew me away with how much i loved it, from start to finish i was hooked on the characters, the story, the mystery, and the wonderful filmmaking by Shyamalan. It grips you early on with intrigue and holds a high level of suspense the whole way through with twists and turns that make for a very original and remarkably unpredictable story.
One thing that works perfectly for this film is the pacing, it runs at a very slow and calculating pace throughout and it never once veers from that. It takes its time revealing bits of information to you and letting you really take everything in and piece things together before moving on which is fantastically executed. You never get bored in this time as the film has your mind constantly running…. What is the meaning of this? How does that connect? What is going to happen next?The fact that Shyamalan gives you time to wonder and to make connections within the story and between the characters makes the experience so much greater. Also despite the fact that the pace never quickens the suspense is still gradually building throughout to the point where you just cannot look away as it sucks you into the film.
Being one of Shyamalan’s earliest films it was really cool to see how he filmed this and notice the similarities between some of his newer releases. There some greatly filmed scenes with long takes (the amazing opening scene), sweeping camera shots, and other unique actions he does with the camera that are just very cool and beautiful to admire. It just cements the fact that when it comes to a unique and awesome style of directing Shyamalan is definitely high on that list, despite his many obstacles. The score also is incredible, it is one that captures the feeling of a mystery thriller full of suspense and also that of a modern comic book movie. The blending of these two creates something unique to this film and a relationship where you instantly tie this music to this film the instant you hear it. James Newton Howard conducted the score and there are so many memorable moments within this film made memorable by this score in combination wit Shyamalan’s directing. This is a score i want to go and listen to now that the movie is over.
Willis and Jackson are great here in this film and their back and forth conversations are like the rest of the film very tension filled and so damn interesting. The way these characters who in many ways are polar opposites interact over the course of the film is fantastic to watch. As they both learn more about each other you see how their relationship changes and i won’t go into it too much more to avoid spoilers. The supporting roles here from Dunn’s wife (Robin Wright) and his son (Spencer Treat Clark) have some decent strong moments and serve their purpose very well. I will say though the only thing i would definitely change about this film is the ending, i don’t hate the ending but it think just extending it another 5 minutes max would have been very useful to tie everything together a little more tightly and wrap it all up.
So in the end i was surprised by how much i loved this movie, i thought i might like it as the general consensus is that it is a good film and seeing as though i like Shyamalan’s other successful films this would be no different. But i never expected i would like it so much that it would be sitting at the top as my favourite film from the Shyamalan himself. If you are a fan of Shyamalan’s other good films (so pre 2005 and post 2014) then i would say definitely check this one out especially as his next film is going to be a sequel to this phenomenal movie.