Unbeatable

Manoj Shyamalan's dark and suspenseful tale of good and evil successfully combines moral ambiguity with a supernatural twist.

Fans of Manoj Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense" will be expecting great things from this talented filmmaker in his latest venture - and "Unbreakable", Shyamalan's dark and suspenseful tale of good and evil, does not disappoint. Drawing on a talented cast and a story that is every bit as compelling as "The Sixth Sense", "Unbreakable" is sure to cement Shyamalan's reputation as a top-notch director, and one with a style uniquely his own.

"Unbreakable" tells the story of David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the only survivor of a horrific train wreck which leaves 125 people dead. Struggling to repair his crumbling marriage and waking up each morning with "a little bit of sadness", Dunn's life takes an even stranger turn when he meets Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), an embittered black man affected with a rare genetic disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, which causes brittle bones. Price has spent his entire life being mocked by others - the kids in school would call him "Mr. Glass" because his bones would fracture easily - and he is intent on finding a man who is the polar opposite of him.

An unbreakable man.

Dunn initially dismisses Price as a crank - but as Price's questions bring back old memories, Dunn is forced to re-examine his life anew. The answers he finds hurl him - and Price - into a journey with some surprising twists and turns, and leaves viewers with some tantalizing questions when the lights come on...

Shyamalan has taken a simple idea and created a compelling story out of it, one with a multi-layered and intensely dramatic plot. Backed up by crisp dialogue and Shyamalan's typically moody shots, both Willis and Jackson deliver a bravura performance, as does Robin Wright Penn, who plays Dunn's wife. Shyamalan has continued to evolve the cinematic style he used in "The Sixth Sense" - most scenes are played out in a single shot, and the story is told from the viewer's perspective - and he even has a cameo role in the movie a la Hitchcock.

A darkly clever film, "Unbreakable" successfully combines moral ambiguity with a supernatural twist and roars to a crackling conclusion which will leave audiences discussing the film long after it's over.

This article was first published on 17 Jan 2001.