Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson star in a mind-shattering, suspense-filled thriller that stays with you long after the end of this riveting supernatural film. After David Dunn (Willis) emerges from a horrific train crash as the sole survivor -- and without a single scratch on him -- he meets a mysterious sranger (Jackson). An unsettling stranger who believes comic book heroes walk the earth. A haunting stranger, whose obsession with David will change David's life forever.
was released, Bruce Willis confirmed that the film was the first in a proposed trilogy. Viewed in that context, this is a tantalizing and audaciously low-key thriller, with a plot that twists in several intriguing and unexpected directions. Standing alone, however, this somber, deliberately paced film requires patient leaps of faith--not altogether surprising, since this is writer-director M. Night Shyamalan's daring follow-up to The Sixth Sense
. While just as assured as that earlier, phenomenal hit, Unbreakable
is the work of a filmmaker whose skill exceeds his maturity, its confident style serving a story that borders on juvenile. However, Shyamalan's basic premise--that comic books are the primary conduit of modern mythology--is handled with substantial relevance.
Willis plays a Philadelphia security guard whose marriage is on the verge of failing when he becomes the sole, unscathed survivor of a devastating train wreck. When prompted by a mysterious, brittle-boned connoisseur of comic books (Samuel L. Jackson), he realizes that he's been free of illness and injury his entire life, lending credence to Jackson's theory that superheroes--and villains--exist in reality, and that Willis himself possesses extraordinary powers. Shyamalan presents these revelations with matter-of-fact gravity, and he draws performances (including those of Robin Wright Penn and Spencer Treat Clark, as Willis's wife and son) that are uniformly superb. The film's climactic revelation may strike some as ultimately silly and trivial, but if you're on Shyamalan's wavelength, the entire film will assume a greater degree of success and achievement. --Jeff Shannon