UNBREAKABLE, SPLIT, GLASS; A mosaic that throws stones in glass houses.
By Tanya Fedorenko
M. Night Shyamalan has brought us some creative genius films: the sixth sense, signs. Though he has also made a couple of questionable films; such as the village, after earth or the visit. However, they’re always intriguing, but his films are always too long for my short attention span.
M. Night Shyamalan has finally completed his superhero trilogy which began in the year 2000, and now you get to read me talking about them. Lucky you! The reason I want to talk about these “super hero movies” is because I HATE superhero movies. They’re all the same… Good guy, somehow; usually in a ridiculously, exaggerated scenario some how ends up gaining some sort of power linked to the thing that gave it him. i.e. spider man, bit by a spider. Ok he’s the only example I have for that kind of super hero. But you have superman, born with it. Thor is a god, not a superhero, Batman, just has a cool car. Iron man, it’s in the suit. You see my point, but it’s good guy, there’s a bad guy and buildings usually get blown up and they’re all the same…
This series breaks that mould.
A magnificent story line of an ordinary man, Bruce Willis, who doesn’t love Bruce Willis?! He plays David Dunn, a seemingly ordinary man who turns out isn’t so ordinary. After being the only survivor of a train crash, and working as a security guard, he meets Samuel L. Jackson; playing Elijah Price/Mr. Glass, a comic book fanatic with brittle bones disease. Elijah takes curiosity at the fact that David has never been sick.
This manifests David’s desire to test himself in strength and durability with his son observing him. David does not believe he is a super hero, though Elijah believes and continually persists that David is a model comic book super hero.
Throughout the film David also recognises he has a psychic ability. I’m not going to lie but this is where I started to lose interest as I see the two abilities being incompatible and irrelevant. Though throughout the trilogy, it makes sense later on as to how it works.
There are several really interesting questions posed through the film.
“what if my dad was a superhero?”
“what if I am unhappy because I haven’t faced my destiny and identity?”
“What if we cast Robin Wright as a heartbreakingly sweet, yet troubled romantic partner for Bruce Willis? Is the world ready for a romantic subplot that is actually heavy hitting?”
These questions and their answers are what make the film incredibly real.
The film, however, is just too long; after David realises, he has superhero attributes, he starts developing his psychic ability by simply brushing past people to reveal their darkest secrets and crimes they’ve committed. He briefly touches a janitor and realises his intent on killing a family, so he follows the janitor home that night. Here, David rescues a couple of children and discovers his kryptonite is water, as he nearly drowns as a child. He gets pushed into a pool but still saves the day even though the mother died. The next day a caped man is pictured in the newspapers and is said to be a hero. Thus, a super hero is born! I’m still unsure he’s a superhero, he’s psychic which is cool and “unbreakable” because he cannot be damaged or destructed, that’s pretty superhero like, but without a “masculine” chest flex and a cape. Instead he wears a rain coat and tried to hide his identity. Which is clever, because maybe he thinks he’s a freak. Not a superhero. So that dissolves the illusion of the stereotype.
Elijah/Mr Glass is holding an exhibition and it’s revealed he is a supervillain, he tried to find a super hero by creating accidents and finding a survivor. Again, we see Glass has no real power, except for power of the mind, he’s a smart man – but he should be, he’s read all his life because of his condition, this does not make him a superhero. Just super smart. Which again is only in the field really of superheroes as he’s a comic book connoisseur. David and Glass will not be allies.
But, watching this film, I was bored out of my mind. I enjoyed the story line a lot! I love the actors and it’s nice to see Bruce Willis broken down into a new character that wallows in self-pity and is a bit depressing as opposed to his general bad-ass action movie Yippe-ki-ay self. So, I enjoyed the characters and the progression, the soundtrack was brilliant. Personally, my favourite part, is where the son is going to shoot David. That would have been an interesting turn out. But, he didn’t. For some it’s the inspirational aspect of pushing yourself harder. I can’t relate. HA! Cut half an hour out of it and it would have been a master piece!
James McAvoy plays, Dennis, Hedwig, Patricia, Kevin, The Beast and 18 other personalities being he has 23 of them! So, I’ll just refer to him as Kevin; his true identity. Kevin suffers from DID – dissociative identity disorder, he kidnaps 3 teenage girls under one of his personalities as they have not suffered.
Kevin being abused as a child created personalities to help himself through, however, one of his personalities ‘the beast’ is yet to come to the light. The three girls recognise his disorder and one of them Casey befriends Hedwig, a 9-year-old boy personality, that loves Kanye West and dancing. This character breaks some of the tension and adds a humour element and an endearment towards the character/s.
Kevin separates the 3 girls and eventually turn into the beast and kills his therapist and 2 of the girls. Casey having a cruel background story of her own which adds so much extra depth to the story and an adoration for her and this film, is spared by the beast as she’s suffered in this world and can understand pain.
The beast is an incredible specimen, ridiculously strong; he can bend steal bars. He can climb walls and seems indestructible. He’s vicious and werewolf like when he turns into the beast. As Casey is freed, she goes to the authorities, though Kevin isn’t caught and we get a lovely glimpse of David Dunn and so we know there will be a third instalment, as Mr Glass gets mentioned.
McAvoy is literally a pleasure to watch and does an incredible job. He is this movie! Each character is enjoyable and so different, and he plays each one so courageously. I’m not sure how he has this acting ability, he’s a hero in himself for what he does in this role.
I like how intense it is, I like how dark it is, it’s disturbing and haunting. One line from the beast “You are different from the rest, the broken are the more evolved.” Sticks with me; theres an almost sympathetic element to this creation of psychological madness. I feel this applies to all three movies and all three heroes and should have been used again.
Though, again, it’s too long. Yet, I found this much more of an enjoyable movie than Unbreakable.
However, is he a superhero? I think not! Just a person with a multiple personality disorder. It’s only when he becomes ‘the beast’ his abilities may be construed as super. And he definitely is no hero. Possibly… a villain?
So, we have the back stories of out 3 main characters, now we just need the showdown.
Let me just say that this film, is by far the best out of the 3…and as always, a touch too long. But just a brilliant, well-acted out, eye opening, clever movie.
Kevin is wanted for murder and has kidnapped more girls. David Dunn is a wanted vigilante and we’ll get to Mr Glass shortly.
David is looking for Kevin/The beast and is in a construction area and walks by Kevin/Hedwig. Remember the psychic abilities from earlier… Well! They brush arms and David does his heroic duty of saving the girls. We get a cool fight scene, both are thrown out a window, then both are thrown in a psychiatric hospital. Where we get to see Mr Glass. He’s in a wheelchair and doesn’t speak. David and Kevin are locked in rooms that if they try and break out. Things happen. The superhero question comes out to play! Which for me makes it all the more remarkable as I’ve clearly stated how I feel about superhero movies. Usually, we route for the good guy, the superhero. Just wait…
I cannot spoil this movie at all as it has just come out! I don’t want to reveal any information or tell you what happens as you just need to see it for yourself.
We get to see Casey again, and David’s son, also Mr Glass’ mom. She is in Unbreakable too, I just don’t feel I needed to mention her then.
This movie is thrilling, courageous and oh so elegant! It brings together the 3 films beautifully. And I applaud it.
I watched these films in order over the past week and I’m glad I did it this way. I hadn’t seen the first two before this week either. It’s a lot to take on watching all three as they are long movies. To say I didn’t enjoy Unbreakable all to well, and split was good, but just alright. Glass turns the series into a masterpiece. And I’m excited for you to all go and see it. It’s a nice change of pace for what we expect out of a superhero franchise, and it’s refreshing for us who want a little more discussion and realism out of a depiction of a ‘Hero’. No Capes!