Saturday, June 01, 2013

Past Perfect: Unbreakable (2000)

Home movie gems from the past few decades that need some dusting but never get old.

Unbreakable

Bigger and louder are usually better when it comes to superhero films, which is probably part of the reason why I find this second outing by director M. Night Shyamalan to be a refreshing and near-perfect piece of restrained storytelling. The concept is brilliantly simple - what would it be like for an average Joe in today’s world to slowly realise that he is, in fact, a superhero, and how would he react to the news and use his powers for good? The person in question is portrayed by Bruce Willis, in one of his outstanding dramatic performances, and he is aided on his journey of discovery by an equally impressive Samuel L. Jackson. Everything you’d expect from a hero/villain story is here - the costumes, the fancy character names, the family backstory, the heroic deed, the heroic musical theme - but it’s so subtle, so carefully awakened, and ultimately so real, that you hardly notice the overall effect until you sit back and take it all in at the end. There’s not a word out of place in the entire film, and despite it being considered a disappointment after The Sixth Sense, I find it to be a much more satisfying film on repeat viewings, and one of my favourite films of all time.

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