The Security Guard: Origins
I got bored the first time I watched "Unbreakable", if I remember correctly, as it was many years ago, I started to do other stuff whilst it was on. It was slow moving and seemed to be going nowhere, setting things up which seemed to have no importance at all and I had discarded it from my mind. Reluctantly I revisited "Unbreakable" and found myself watching a different movie to the one I remembered, yes it was still slow going but it is clever and fascinating as the creativity of M. Night Shyamalan basically gives us a human superhero movie and not a comedy one as other human superhero movies have been.
On his way home to Philadelphia from New York, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis - The Kid) is involved in a train accident, a derailment which left everyone dead except him, in fact it left him totally unscathed. The publicity around David brings him to the attention of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson - Deep Blue Sea) who was born with broken bones and has been in and out of hospital so many times he is known as Mr. Glass. Elijah through his time in hospital has become an expert on comic books and believes that originally there was some truth to them based upon real people and thinks that David who has never been ill or hurt is a super hero; he just doesn't know it yet.
I've already mentioned slow twice and will mention it again because "Unbreakable" is incredibly slow at times, not so much laborious but moves along at an amble rather than a trot. It is also a bit confusing because the opening tells us about the popularity of comic books, we then go back to 1961 and the birth of baby Elijah with broken limbs and then we have the train accident which also features the married David trying to flirt with a woman who sits next to him. You are not entirely sure what is going on, yes it is intriguing especially when David gets a mysterious note asking him how many times he had been sick but it feels disjointed and going nowhere.
But get past this and "Unbreakable" finds its stride as we get given the premise which is David being a human super hero with powers but doesn't realise it with Elijah pointing it out. It should sound far fetched but everything slots into place as we learn all about David and see things such as when he lifts weights making it seem like Elijah could be right. It is as if we have a comic book origins story as we learn all about how David Dunn became a super hero, The Security Guard, but none of it is intentionally comical; some is amusing but never comedy.
If that wasn't enough M. Night Shyamalan develops this further giving us a complete picture and if you can't work out what I mean by that then you will just have to watch. He also ties in everything from why the married David was flirting on the train to events in his past which eventually make sense. Basically everything eventually ties together and suddenly you realise the clues were all there pointing to the outcome of the movie long before it arrived. Yet unlike some of Shyamalan's other movies "Unbreakable" can be watched again because the entertainment is in part the unravelling of the story but also of this human super hero concept.
Now all of this is done in typical Shyamalan style and whilst some of it doesn't work, the back and forth of a camera on the train is annoying, much of it does and it seems he has gone out of his way to toy with us. Not only do we have Bruce Willis again but we also have him with a child and throw in the occasional significant colour and we have a movie which seems to be saying am I another "The Sixth Sense" or am I something different. Different it certainly is and alongside a solid but restrained performances from Bruce Willis we get a brilliant performance from Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah, equally restrained but yet also eccentric making him curious and creepy.
What this all boils down to is that "Unbreakable" is a slow movie but it is well worth watching because it is amusing without being a comedy. In fact it is clever, not only in the story but how Shyamalan toys with our expectations.