Unbreakable Movie Review
M. Night Shyamalan came out of nowhere last year and brought several Oscar nominations to The Sixth Sense, a chilling, well-written and well-directed movie starring Bruce Willis. Shyamalan has teamed up with Bruce Willis again to bring us Unbreakable, but is it as powerful as the title suggests?
The Sixth Sense was about as good as it gets. It was supernatural yet dramatic, blending good acting and even better writing together to make it not only one of the biggest blockbusters of 1999 but also one of the highest rated. It is hard to top something like The Sixth Sense, and Shyamalan knew this, but still he tried to push it higher.
The Sixth Sense was the peak of Shyamalan's career, which means that everything he does from now on can only be worse. But there is a huge difference between being worse than a great movie and being bad.
Unbreakable isn't The Sixth Sense, but it is still a really good movie. Shyamalan once again shows off his directing skills, and his writing talent is still some of the best in the game. The movie is dark and fluid in the scenes, but also different from The Sixth Sense in many areas. Yet, fortunately, it is also similar in many other ways.
Unbreakable is about a man (Willis) who is the sole survivor of a train wreck. He also is unwounded. He soon comes into contact with another man (Jackson) who is the exact opposite - he has a disease that makes him extremely fragile. As time goes on, Jackson makes Willis realize the gift that he has...
Much like The Sixth Sense, the movie is about character, not story. Of course, everything is tied together in the end, but through the course of the film, there is no solid plot. Instead, we are presented with the conflict between Willis and his wife (Robin Wright Penn), the relationship between him and his son, and the realization that Willis gets when he finally begins to listen to Jackson. The rest, you have to see for yourself.
At times it seems as though Shyamalan is being a little forceful, as if really trying to top the dramatic impact that The Sixth Sense had. It slows the film down. But at other times the film becomes a little less serious and allows the audience to laugh, especially in the weightlifting scene.
Just like in The Sixth Sense the acting is great, and I think at some point people are going to have to stop looking at Bruce Willis as an action hero of old and as a legitimate actor. I want a new Die Hard as much as the next person but people still look the other way in terms of recognition when they hear the name Bruce Willis, because they immediately attribute him with action and violence. He has made some wise career choices these last two years. As for Samuel L. Jackson, he is equally impressive, yet again presenting us with another character that he can handle flawlessly.
And what about the ending? Once again Shyamalan has written a riveting twist ending, and once again he thrusts the truth in our face the entire time and once again I didn't figure it out.
Unbreakable is by no means The Sixth Sense, but on its own it is a noteworthy film with good acting, good direction, good writing, and a creepy storyline.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.