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Unbreakable - Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, M Night Shyamalan

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Security guard David Dunne (Bruce Willis) is the sole survivor of a devastating train wreck, finding himself mysteriously unharmed, and Elijah Price (Samuel L Jackson) is a stranger proposes a bizarre explanation as to why David escaped without a single scratch, an explanation that threatens to change David's family and life forever.

Theatrical propaganda posters

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Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama fantasy adventure supernatural hero comic villain invulnerable

Persons of interest

  • Bruce Willis .... David Dunn
  • Samuel L Jackson .... Elijah Price
  • Robin Wright Penn .... Audrey Dunn
  • Spencer Treat Clark .... Joseph Dunn
  • Charlayne Woodard .... Elijah's Mother
  • Eamonn Walker .... Dr Mathison
  • Leslie Stefanson .... Kelly
  • Johnny Hiram Jamison .... Elijah Age 13
  • Michaelia Carroll .... Babysitter
  • Bostin Christopher .... Comic Book Clerk
  • Elizabeth Lawrence .... School Nurse
  • David Duffield .... David Dunn Age 20
  • Laura Regan .... Audrey Inverso Age 20
  • Chance Kelly .... Orange Suit Man
  • Michael Kelly .... Doctor Dubin
  • Firdous Bamji .... Businessman
  • Johanna Day .... Saleswoman
  • James Handy .... Priest
  • Sally Parrish .... Ancient Personnel Secretary
  • Richard Council .... Noel
  • M Night Shyamalan .... Screenwriter
  • M Night Shyamalan .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Unbreakable is to The sixth sense as Snatch is to Lock, stock and two smoking barrels.

Both first films (Sixth sense and Smoking barrels) created genres that were instantly recognisable because the imprint of their creator was so strong. Both second films would have done the same had the first films not come out first. They are not cases of being able to write only one story but of having personal visions/styles that are too intense to be denied. Thus, if you have seen the first ones you have seen the second ones even though you don't know what's going to happen. It is the third films that will determine whether M Night and Guy are creative geniuses or merely talented hacks.

It's funny how any other artist can do a whole oeuvre in one style but a filmmaker must grow and change with each new film. Perhaps that has something to do with the immediacy of the filmic experience, the way it can overwhelm your sense of reality and become your reality for an hour or two that demands something different each time. A bit like riding a roller coaster: the second time is great, but never as great as the first.

Anyhoo, Unbreakable validates M's obsession with Bruce and Bruce's obsession with drama. Bruce can act. He carries the weight of every scene on his shoulders. He produces subtleties that even the most die hard fan will see for the first time (pun intended). Samuel is not so original, bringing many mannerisms from other performances in a role that is not entirely unfamiliar: the aggressively uncompromising man of mystery in a long, black leather coat. The saving grace is that the character holds so many more cards than Bruce's, giving him a god-like quality that is intriguing.

As for the story, it's a nicely twisted piece that grows from a perfectly reasonable assumption into an unbelievable but unimpeachable climax. If there are people so weak that their bones shatter just by knocking on a door, there might be people who are so strong that they can break a door down with their bare hands. Such an ubermensch would be a superhero in any world save this one, where hero is but a temporary title until the next tabloid headline comes along.

Unbreakable is a really good film that completely ignores the Hollywood machine, taking you to places that mainstream cinema rarely ventures. It mixes humour with tragedy (not that they are particularly separate), great, big, earth-shattering stories with tiny, wee, personal ones; it twists and turns without ever betraying the truth; it tells you the whole truth but still keeps you guessing. Watch it for a mystery, for an adventure, for a drama... it doesn't matter, just watch it.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Languages: English, French, Italian
  • Picture: 1.33:1
  • Subtitles: English, French, Italian
  • Trailer: Theatrical
  • Deleted scenes
  • Train station sequence: multi-angle feature
  • Behind-the-scenes, with Bruce Willis
  • Comic books and super heroes: Featurette hosted by Samuel L Jackson
  • Excerpt from an early film of M Night Shyamalan

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes, medium level violence)

Surveillance time

107 minutes (1:47 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD rental: 7 November 2001
VHS rental: 7 November 2001
DVD retail: 6 August 2003 - M Night Shyamalan box set
DVD retail: 2 August 2006

Cinema surveillance images

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