CFS: ‘Unbreakable’

Matilda Swartz

After writing and directing one of the most quoted horror films of all time, there is not much left for a man to do, except strive for a repeat performance.

This is the exact course of action that Philadelphia-native writer/producer/director M. Night Shyamalan pursued with the 2000 release of “Unbreakable,” his follow-up to 1999’s “The Sixth Sense.”

For “Unbreakable,” Shyamalan chose again to work with Bruce Willis, only this time bestowing upon him a different set of supernatural powers.

Willis’s character, David Dunn (equipped with the unassuming alliterated name that most undercover heroes have), is the lone survivor of a tragic train accident, leaving the masses in shock and awe.

Soon after the accident, Dunn encounters Elijah Price, a wheelchair-bound comic book aficionado played by Samuel L. Jackson, who sheds light on why Dunn survived.

Price poses as Dunn’s guru, urging him to accept and utilize his powers for good. Despite having polar opposite personal histories and physical stamina, both men’s lives intertwine as Dunn, a security guard with a subpar family life, evolves into an avenger of justice.

Willis executes his character with the humble, stoic stance that any proper superhero should have. It is impossible not to root for him both in his efforts to save nameless civilians in the Philadelphia area, as well as his own marriage at home with wife Audrey, played by Robin Wright Penn.

Following the archetypal comic book plot trajectory, this hero has flaws to overcome, a surprise villain who will be inevitably need to be confronted and, of course, a day to save.

“Unbreakable,” the seventh film in Villanova University’s Fall 2009 Cultural Film & Lecture Series “Hidden Treasures,” will be shown four times in the Connelly Cinema: Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 8 at 3:30 and 7 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

The Monday night screening will be followed by a discussion led by the movie’s technical director Dan Hunt, who is currently working within Villanova’s advanced documentary filmmaking program.

Admission is free for all students with a WildCard and $5 for all others.