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Unbreakable (M. Night Shyamalan) 2000

I really thought Unbreakable was awful... an insult to my intelligence. I'm going to bitch about it and spoil it rather than review it.

First of all, I had no real expectation beyond what I saw in the film's trailer. When I saw the opening comic-book statistics, I took that as a sign that the film would be operating on comic book logic. The first actual scene showed Sam Jackson's character being born. The next scenes established Bruce Willis as someone that was unbreakable. Within fifteen minutes the "breakable" & "unbreakable" characters were established. It was pretty obvious, to me, that Jackson's character was likely the cause of the wreck, especially after he mentions the other two incidents. I put 2 + 2 together, got 4, and had to wait for 1 1/2 hours for Wills' character to catch up with me. The same thing happened during The Sixth Sense (which I saw opening weekend, not expecting a surprise ending). I think the problem with this sort of filmmaking is that if you have any sort of brain at all, you're going to be WAY ahead of the characters. The slow pacing of the film only makes this worse. I think I can compare this to watching De Palma's Dressed to Kill and having seen Psycho (or Obsession & Vertigo)... The film's suspense is killed if you're able to stay that far ahead of the plot.

The scene where I felt absolutely betrayed by the film is the one where the son (who looks a LOT like Julieanne Moore - obviously he wasn't recast once she dropped out) pulls a gun on Willis. The film was just too preposterous for me to handle... comic book logic or not. (Plot holes abound, don't get me started...)

But the biggest question the film asks (Why does God allow some to be strong & some weak?) is completely ignored. The film doesn't attempt to answer it at all! Sam Jackson's madness simply wants to know that some people are strong since he is weak to feel that there's some cosmic yin-yang balance. Bruce Willis's character questions whether he's unbreakable, but never why. There's potential for depth here, but the film never attempts anything other than surface-level examinations of its plot. 

More complaints:

A.) The director's cameo as a possible drug dealer does nothing to further the plot. It makes Willis doubt his ability, but doesn't pan out in any noticeable way.

B.) The fact that Willis never noticed that he had never been injured or sick, and even has to stop to ask his wife about this.

C.) Sam Jackson's random bombing of things in order to find someone who's unbreakable. Surely this is some of the worst criminal motivation ever featured in a film.

D.) The janitor who Willis fights... He randomly attacks a family and holds them hostage Then he continues to go to work as usual!

E.) Willis' character's overnight development  of his psychic abilities... how did he not notice this before?!?!

F.) Why does Willis ignore all of the other crimes he noticed in the train station before he goes after the janitor?

G.) Why does Willis have to ask if he'd taken sick days? I can't believe he'd not know this off the top of his head... It's only a lame attempt to create tension that the script makes him not know something so rudimentary... it's not believable.

H.) Why is Willis a security guard? He's around 40. He's got a college degree. He could have plenty of careers that involve protecting people where he isn't fighting for $1/hr raise.

I.) What are the problems in his marriage? The movie never says...

etc... etc... etc...

Not all of these are plot holes, per se, but they're all weak links in the script.

Ugh... what a waste of time.

1/2

 September, 2001

Jeremy Heilman