unbreakable011

Unbreakable
dir. M. Night Shyamalan
107 minutes
2000

M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable stars Bruce Willis as David Dunn, an ordinary, working class man in Philadelphia with marital problems who miraculously survives unscathed from a train wreck as the only survivor.  Helping him uncover the mystery behind this is Elijah Price whose bones are as fragile as glass, played by Samuel L. Jackson.  Elijah is a comic book collector and owns an art gallery.  Growing up in a working class neighborhood, Elijah turned to comics as a release and an escape from the harsh realities of being a disabled kid. 

Elijah’s insight is that comics are actually a historical form of storytelling of the existence of superhumans, but whose message has been watered down through the commercialization and commoditization of the genre.  Such superhuman ability might have evolved from superior instincts for example.  As both Elijah and David test these theories, David starts to discover more about possibly having extraordinary abilities.  Unbreakable serves then as an origin story of a hero slowly discovering who he is and how he reacts to these insights.

For me, the movie is probably the most realistic portrayal of what a hero/villain storyline and origin story might look like if it were to really happen.  Years before the shows Heroes & Smallville, the flood of Marvel movies, or the Watchmen movie, there was Unbreakable.   With the recent ascent of “superhero” movies and shows, including ones that feature “ordinary people” with extraordinary abilities, Unbreakable feels the most realistic.

But I’m curious to know how folks feel who are bigger comic book nerds than me.  What is your take on Unbreakable?  Given the amount of comic book storylines and themes coming out now in movies and television, how does Unbreakable rank?

Advertisements