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UNBREAKABLE

SYNOPSIS:
David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is a security guard at a large stadium, his marriage crumbling, his son anxious. When – amazingly - he is the sole survivor of a train disaster, he attracts the attention of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a man obsessed with comic book heroes, whose original artworks he sells in an upmarket gallery. Elijah has big, ambitious plans for David, which David is reluctant to follow, dismissing Elijah as a loony. But slowly he begins to realise that maybe Elijah has something… but he can’t know how bizarre some of that something is.

"There's so much about Unbreakable that is masterful cinema. The story is compelling, the direction often takes the unexpected point of view and the cast is – well, unbeatable. It's therefore such a shame that M. Night Shyamalan has allowed melodrama to creep into this extraordinary tale of good and evil: the story of two men, who are in many ways opposites. They are opposite in appearance, philosophically and in the development of their instincts. Of course, it's inevitable that Unbreakable is compared to The Sixth Sense, by Shyamalan's choice of Bruce Willis (whose character develops his own sixth sense), a kid and indeed his own cameo appearance. He is leaving his work open to comparison and unfortunately, to criticism. Not that you could criticise Willis – indeed he is superb as the unwilling hero, whose sense of destiny is developed as surely as the discovery of his Achilles' heel. Samuel L. Jackson makes quite an impact as the formidable Mr Glass, the freak who lives within the confines of his dark world of comic books. It's a fabulous concept, and the beginning of the film couldn't be better. The way we meet two characters from behind two train seats, the camera panning from one to the other through the abyss that is the distance between them, is wonderful. Chance, coincidence, spirituality and that sixth sense is a constant theme, and the mood is chilling, full of anticipation and often riveting. Some of the flashbacks are beautifully executed, and the cinematography is stylish. James Howard Newton's soundtrack nurtures the mood by its rich score, thoughtful themes and melodic questioning phrases. Robin Wright Penn displays her inner beauty in a small but important role, and Spencer Treat Clark is impressive as the impressionable son. With all these superlatives, how could Shyamalan so badly misjudge vital elements to the story? The melodramatic elements take away substantially from much of what could otherwise be hailed as a masterpiece."
Louise Keller

"A gripping and intriguing opening raises our expectations for another original yarn from M. Night Shayamalan (after The Sixth Sense), unfolding with cinematic flourishes. In the opening scenes when we meet David on the train, we are held captive of a writer’s imagination. Every detail is stored for later reference, in case it matters. He has learnt his craft well, and has an intuitive sense for the dramatic, the teasing and pace of a genuine storyteller. As the central characters and their emotional landscapes are filled out, we are still drawn into the story and into this slightly unusual world. Bruce Willis is magnificent as the everyman who is being pushed towards something he hardly understands, let alone embraces in his make up (personality, not cosmetics). The domestic turbulence around Willis’ character helps the portrait and gives it complexity, and Sam Jackson is magnetic as the literally brittle weirdo with comic book fantasies. It is not until the final third of the movie that the wheels start to fall off the script and the execution: melodrama replaces the real thing, symbolism replaces reality – and without success. Laboured and lumbering, the script’s major developmental pay-off suffers from a lack of originality and insufficient creative power. Like many writers, Shayamalan finds himself in a bind at the end, trying to make good on the promises of early flights of imagination. It isn’t so much the actual ending that’s the problem, but how we arrive there. Another couple of drafts might have saved the film’s crucial moments from being vaguely ridiculous, and it would have been worth the extra time and effort, because it really is a terrific premise."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

Read Jenny Cooney Carrillo's interview with
BRUCE WILLIS

TRAILER

UNBREAKABLE (M)
(US)

CAST: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark

DIRECTOR: M. Night Shyamalan

PRODUCER: Barry Mendel, Sam Mercer, M. Night Shyamalan

SCRIPT: M. Night Shyamalan

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eduardo Serra

EDITOR: Dylan Tichenor

MUSIC: James Newton Howard

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Larry Fulton

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 30, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Video

VIDEO RELEASE: May 19, 2001

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