16 July 2001 | mikecalla
a consummate clinic in directing,etc.
M. Night Shyamalan seems to be proving himself quite the auteur. Unbreakable was the cinematic experience I had hoped it would be, especially after The Sixth Sense. A quiet sense of wonder permeated each and every scene, accomplished with some of the finest cinematography I've seen in the last couple of years. Director of Photography Eduardo Serra's execution is subtle, understated and absolutely beautiful.
Cinematography legend Greg Toland of Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath fame would be proud of what this film accomplished artistically. I also couldn't help but notice all the long camera takes this film had, reminding me of a few Woody Allen films that let the actors act without the intrusion of the film making process, i.e.; getting a scene covered from multiple and sometimes meaningless camera angles just so the director and editor have something to work with in post production. The characters seem at times to be acting for the benefit of the others on screen rather than "us", the audience, lending a quality of voyeurism to quite a few scenes. The directors intent is quite clear to anyone wishing to delve a little bit deeper into the story and characters while appreciating how such a vision came to breath on film.
With regards to the story, Mr. Shyamalan and his crew have constructed something so rich in visual texture while managing to keep the story subdued and character development full of deep-seated anticipation. Every plot point came perfectly without any extra connotations that usually creep into a story such as this (super heroes?). Without any melodrama both Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson give very authentic performances that help the film keep its "Any Town USA" and "Average Joe Six-pack" feel very much alive.
By virtue of ingenuity and most likely a meticulous preproduction period, Unbreakable manages to be a consummate clinic in directing, writing, acting, and cinematography. One of the best movies in the past decade.