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Unbreakable is not only one of my favorite movies from 2000, a pretty good year for movies, it is my favorite movie from director M. Night Shyamalan.
Unfortunately, most people didn’t agree. Coming off his 1999 blockbuster, even though Shyamalan reunited with star Bruce Willis for Unbreakable, the weak box office meant there would be no sequel for the rare movie that deserved one.
Shyamalan - Act - Superhero - Origin - Story
Unbreakable is, as Shyamalan himself described, the first act of a superhero origin story told over the course of a feature length film. In nuts-and-bolts terms, Shyamalan took 23 minutes of story and spread it out over 106 minutes.
And it worked. At least it did for me, and did so beautifully. Unbreakable’s pacing isn’t slow, it’s deliberate and lovely and moving and riveting. Bruce Willis plays David Dunn, a security guard living in Philadelphia whose marriage is falling apart. After he walks out of a train wreck, not only as the sole survivor but without a scratch, he’s visited by Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a man crippled by a terrible bone disease who believes Dunn has superpowers.
Ends - Act - Movies - Dunn - Superpowers
Unbreakable ends where the second act of origin movies begin — with Dunn realizing he is indeed imbued with superpowers and the introduction of the super-villain.
But I was fine without the trilogy Shyamalan promised two decades ago. Unbreakable is perfect as a standalone, as one of those movies that allows you to enjoy the pleasant exercise of filling in the blanks using your own imagination.
Years - Shyamalan - Storytelling - Mojo - Box
Anyway, the years passed, Shyamalan lost his storytelling mojo and box office prowess, but he still figured out a way to make Unbreakable 2, in a sneaky and admittedly ingenious way.
Whereas Unbreakable cost $75 million to produce all those years ago, in 2016 Shyamalan wrote and directed Split for a mere $9 million, and surprised everyone, not...
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