Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Unbreakable (M. Night Shyamalan)

Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson: Third time around.

Film Review Archive (date seen: December 18, 2010)

Before M. Night "The Happening" Shyamalan became the laughing stock of cinephiles everywhere that he is today (enhanced courtesy of his live-action adaptation of the Avatar animation series), he was quite a capable filmmaker that has the uncommon touch of conveying emotional power.

Though his earlier film "The Sixth Sense" was the most renowned of all his works, for me, "Unbreakable" is the better film. Not only because it's a well-weaved tale of self-discovery, but also because it has brought the superhero mythos and all its undertones into a different territory. No, not into familiar grounds that consist of flying musclemen and villainous megalomaniacs, but into a complex observation of its ideas, its translation into an environment more grounded in reality, and its application to the two main characters' (played by Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson in their third film together) individualism and their search for existential meaning.

Yes, that may sound a tad too deep considering the conventionally immediate visualization (protagonists
wearing colorful tights and leotards) of the film's main theme. But director Shyamalan completely deconstructed those basic ideas, left important concepts into the film (such as the idea of a hero, a villain and the complexity of choice), and able to conceive a film that may look really familiar based on its initial elements, but a whole new exploration in its entirety.

"Unbreakable" is not about heroism nor villainy; it's a film about motives and decisions within that ultimately define who we really are.


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