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Unbreakable (PG-13)
Touchstone Pictures
Official Site

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Producers: Barry Mendel, M. Night Shyamalan, Sam Mercer

Written by: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Robin Wright Penn, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark

Rating: out of 5

Are you unbreakable? This is the question posed by M. Night Shyamalan in his intricately woven tale of sole survival. With this intriguing and visually engaging follow-up to the highly acclaimed THE SIXTH SENSE, the writer/director/producer/actor asserts himself as a master craftsman.

What seems to set Shyamalanís movies apart from the passive run-of-the-mill movies offered so far in 2000 is his willingness to create more than just a story, or a sequence of events. He has perfected the art of "telling a tale." Like THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE is a self-contained piece. The depth of the characters and the careful plot twists give it the feel of a leather-bound treasure, a story passed down from generation to generation; rather than a film in general release at local movie theaters.

So what is this movie about, I hear you cry? Well, herein lies the greatest accomplishment of the makers of this dark tale; its greatest asset is its sense of mystery. From the trailer it's hard to glean anything of the plot, save that David Dunn (Willis) is the only survivor of a horrific train wreck. After coming to terms with this realization, Dunn must grapple with his emotions and discover what his survival means about his place in the world. His guide along this journey is Elijah Price, adeptly played by Samuel L. Jackson, a man whose constant ill health has led him on a passage of similar emotional torment. Shyamalan has worked hard to keep the nuances of the theme under wraps, making the ride even more enjoyable. I'm sorry, but any more elaboration on the plot would only serve to undermine the directorís intentions.

UNBREAKABLE unfolds in Philadelphia, in a dark and brooding atmosphere which mirrors the emotions of the characters who inhabit its streets. Robin Wright Penn is wonderful as Dunnís wife, a somewhat detached significant other who's trying to reconcile marriage and her fears of having nearly lost the most important man in her life. Willis puts forth a stunning performance as the introspective Dunn, his powerful physical appearance a jarring juxtaposition to his weak emotional state. Promising young actor Spencer Treat Clark rounds out the cast, helping Dunn on his quest for self-discovery as adoring son Jeremy.

M. Night Shyamalan provides another fantastic movie both in its cinematic value and its depth of story. Although at times his references to a certain form of pop culture may elicit an "oh brother" response from the audience, the strength of the story line and realism of the characters allow this to wane. The mystery in the build up to the movieís release is the key ingredient of its power. Shyamalan only gives the audience a candle to light their way through this dark maze of intricate plot twists and turns. When it seems the end is finally in sight, he spins you around, leaving you astonished by the final destination and increasingly amazed by the journey.

ó Priti Ubhayakar

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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