Shyamalan focuses on the dents in the drywall as David gets smashed over and over again, creating a perfect visual metaphor for an earnest, desperate, beaten-down savior—a spiritual cousin to John McClane minus the one-liners.
An antidote to the plastic screen universes of the new wave of Superhero films, Shyamalan exchanges broad platitudes and petty dramas for an earnest examination of morality in the chaos of the modern world.
I didn't appreciate this film on release finding it slow moving and anticlimactic with a marital subplot that just didn't seem to work. 18 long years later I think this might actually be Shyamalan's best film and the fact that it is slow moving and anticlimactic are its strengths focusing on myth making and character building. It's comic book archetypes are not limiting but a springboard that has taken time to ripen.
19 years later, this is very likely the masterwork of M. Night Shyamalan's career. There's not a note here that rings false, outside of the (unnecessary) closing titles. A quiet, somber mood is sustained through long takes and James Newton Howard's tremendous score, and the film is built around the very thing M. Night does perhaps better than anyone else - marrying the drama of our dinner tables to the uncanny.
Interesting how the theme is dealt with, the superhero power becomes a narrative about self-discovery and acceptance of your own path and personal choices. There are moments of very good cinema, like a dating scene or the moments on the rain, and rain is important for the plot. Another nice one for Shyamalan, maybe an outsider, in his cinematography but still worth watching.
However maligned/divisive/dubiously canonized Shyamalan has become since, he was everything his supporters claim in this moody origin story. With a depth of soul, layers of meaning, and hardly a wrong note, he spots the similarities between Jesus Christ and Superman to tie spiritual quests and comic book logic together—a gorgeous balance of the outlandish and the emotionally high-minded that he hasn't equaled since.
We live in an age where 9/11 has happened. Our new reality includes AIRBENDER and THE HAPPENING. But before these disasters was UNBREAKABLE. I saw it in 2000 when I didn't know jack about cinema. I thought it was great. Watching it again, over a decade later: nothing has changed. Artful and doggedly original, Shyamalan's film is about finding your place in the world. Such a shame he seems to have lost his.
A droll pile of crap that didn't need to be. Shyamalan's style was really interesting at points (the opening sequence, Elijah's accident) but like the rest of Shyamalan's work, it proves to be nothing more than a lesser Twilight Zone episode that was about 90 minutes too long which really lead up to nothing. The ending with the lazy end of story screen captions pissed me off more than anything. Fucking hack...
An absolute treat. Despite it's considerably lower budget, it has the same heroic feel of films like The Avengers, but the dark gritty realism of Nolan's Batman films. Despite this the film has an undeniable sense of humour (people forget that Shyamalan wrote Stuart Little) which is juxtaposed perfectly with some very disturbing scenes and a depressing visual style, which is the case with the best of his films
It's not my favourite film from Shyamalan, but it's still a solid take on the superhero genre... Going for a more humanistic approach and getting rid of all the craziness and special effects while still giving his signature twist in the end, made this film 'ah, OK'. It's doesn't leave you with the desire to watch again, though.