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Movie Rewatch: Unbreakable challenges convention

The whole superhero genre owes much to writer and director M. Night Shyamalan’s 2000 haunting sleeper hit Unbreakable. It took the premise of the superhero/villain origin story and injected it with a realistic approach rather than a typical flight of fancy. More of a mystery drama than action-packed extravaganza, audiences will find themselves engaged in a complex story with subtle nuances.

How’s the Story?

In terms of pacing, the tale moves at a slow burn. David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the only survivor of a horrific train wreck. Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is a comic book gallery owner who offers a bizarre explanation as to why David survived completely unscathed. As the story unfolds, each discovers their respective place in the world. The solid yet understated performances will move you. Particularly heart-wrenching is the father-son relationship which motivates David Dunn’s self-discovery. Elijah Price’s backstory will leave you shaken as well.

How are the Special Effects?

Despite being a superhero origin story, any use of special effects are subdued in presentation. M. Night Shyamalan’s directional style places the emphasis on character development over eye candy. In a way, it amplifies on-screen action when it does arise and elevates the emotional connection.

Can my kids watch this movie?

Unbreakable has a PG-13 rating. I think the greatest concern is the pacing. The subject matter is more cerebral than action-based. The level of violence is no greater than what one would find on a typical television episode of Law and Order. Still, I think the PG-13 rating is appropriate.

Overall Rating: A-

Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Pros: Great cast. Compelling story. Elevates the comic book origin story in cinema.

Cons: Slow pace may be off-putting to some.

Official Unbreakable Trailer


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