When this film was first released in 2000 the critics were lukewarm. It stood in the shadow of director M. Night Shyamalan's previous film, "The Sixth Sense", which was highly acclaimed as a masterpiece.
In the last few years opinions have changed, maybe because "Unbreakable" is no longer being compared with "The Sixth Sense", maybe because times have changed and it seems more relevant today. Or maybe it just took 15-20 years for film critics to get it?
Quentin Tarantino has called "Unbreakable" the best superhero film ever made. I disagree – I rate Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" highest – but whenever Quentin Tarantino voices an opinion on a film I sit up and take notice. I rewatched "Unbreakable" today trying to see what he rates so highly.
Here's the film's premise, in a few words. Elijah Price, an avid comic collector, is convinced that superheroes really exist. He sees a connection between Egyptian hieroglyphics and modern comics, and he thinks that there is truth hidden in the pages.
Elijah discovers David Dunn, a simple security guard at a football stadium. He thinks that David has superpowers, and he tries to persuade him to develop his powers. At first David thinks Elijah is mad, but then he starts to notice unusual things about himself which he's always taken for granted.
"Unbreakable" is the first part in a trilogy, continued in "Split" (2016) and "Glass" (2019). 16 years is a long gap between the first two films, but M. Night Shyamalan planned a trilogy from the beginning. The boy in the picture above is Kevin Wendell Crumb, who's played by James McAvoy in "Split".
Overall, the film is very low key. It moves slowly, gradually unravelling the mystery. To use superhero jargon, this is an origin story. The battle between David Dunn and his first evil opponent comes late in the film, and it doesn't last long. That's my biggest criticism. I think the film would have been better if an extra 30 minutes of action had been added.
It's not a bad film. I enjoy it, but I found "Split" better. I'm going to see "Glass" next week, so wait for my review.
Success Ratio: + 1.3
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