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Unbreakable

Year: 2000
Studio: Touchstone
Director: M Night Shamalayan
Producer: M Night Shamalayan
Writer: M Night Shamalayan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Robin Wright-Penn

I very rarely watch movies again, especially so far apart. But this is my second review of this film after watching it again on the advice of a video of Quentin Tarantino talking about his favourite movies, and I'd love to know how many like me changed their mind after a second viewing once they knew what they were watching.

Is that even the right standpoint to take? If we watch a movie, shouldn't it stand on its own merits, the standpoint we're supposed to take implicit in the movie itself instead of articulated by a famous director ten years later?

It doesn't seem right to change my opinion of Shyamalan's second effort because he had his chance to impress me the first time. But just like Solaris, when 20th Century Fox were left with a movie they couldn't figure out how to market, Disney were given something they similarly mishandled. It was sold with the distinctive broken-glass motif and on Shyamalan's then-world beating twists (after wowing audiences and critics with The Sixth Sense).

Instead, all they had to do differently was give the film the tagline Tarantino put so eloquently; 'what if Superman didn't know who he was?' Shyamalan was making a comic book movie before they were in fashion, and it would undoubtedly be pitched very differently today, but Disney probably thought if they used the word 'comic' anywhere in the marketing material it would put mainstream audiences off and only attract a narrow demographic of trench coat-wearing fanboys.

But what makes the film so good when you look at it the right way is that the comic book idea is in such a natural world setting with such real people. If nothing else, Shyamalan's always been about setting and performance, and if there's ever been a soft-spoken hero just struggling to get through life, David (Willis) is it.

He's on the verge of divorce from his wife (Penn), works as a security guard at the university stadium and has every reason to feel bitter about life. The only strange thing about him – which he gets to thinking about after he's the only one to walk out of a catastrophic train crash unharmed – is that he can't ever remember being sick or hurt.

He's sought out by enigmatic comic book aficianado Elijah (Jackson), who seems like a crackpot with his stories about how David's really a superhero with a destiny to help people, stories that sound less strange as they start to come true.

The biggest selling point of the film (the one that actually made me dislike the film last time because I didn't know what it was) was that if an indestructible superhero who's only weakness was water, and his evil nemesis in a man made of glass really existed in our world – not that of Batman or Spider-Man – this is what it would look like.

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