Breaking up ‘unbreakable’

In most comic books, there is a good guy, and a bad guy. When people hear of a hero, they make assumptions about their physical appearance and their personality. For instance, superheroes tend to be brave and bold; they are willing to risk their lives for the protection of others. However, when ever there is a hero, there has to be a villain. The villains are the opposite of the heroes. This means that they will put other people in shear danger to fulfil what ever evil plan they have. This normally involves trying to take over the world.

In shyamalans ‘unbreakable’, the role of the hero and then role of the villain are rather unclear until near the end of the film, however there are hidden clues throughout the film that suggest who the hero and the villain may be. In the dictionary, a hero is described as ‘a person who is admired for having done something very brave or having achieved something great’. A super hero is the same thing but tends to have a special power that enables them to be able to help people easier. A villain is described as, ‘a bad person who harms other people or breaks the law’.

Now days, we have new assumptions of what a hero and a villain might look like, for example, a hero would be wearing a costume that would cover his true identity. A villain may wear dark clothes and cover there identity also, this may be because the hero and the villain tend to be best friends before they take on their role of either good or bad. The ideas of good verses bad may have originated from the bible, with god being the hero, and the devil being the villain. The opening scene of the film ‘unbreakable’ is the birth of one of the main characters, Elijah Price.

This is a scene that begins a strange effect on the film because it represents the opposite of the title. At the birth of Elijah Price, the first thing you hear is the crying of a baby, this may represent pain and sadness. We find out in this scene that the baby Elijah is born with a condition called osteoporosis. This means that the baby was born with broken arms and legs. The condition makes the bones very brittle and they break easily. This clashes with the name, ‘unbreakable’ because the baby is ‘broken’ whereas we are expecting somebody who is not able to break at all.

Most of this scene is shot through the reflection of a mirror that is behind the mother of the child. The mirror is made of glass which is very breakable, so this may be representing the fact that Elijah is a very breakable person. Also, we know that Elijah is very breakable, so if we make the link between the mirror and him, if you break a mirror, you get seven years bad luck. The colours in the scene are very dark, the main colour is worn by the mother, and this colour is purple. The colour purple can represent two things in this film, it can represent royalty.

It can also represent bruises, this is connected with the fact that he breaks easily and is the opposite of the film title; this gives us a clue that he may be a villain because he is the opposite of the main title. The camera used in this scene is hand held; this gives us the effect that the audience is a person in the room and is simply watching the events of this scene. The second scene in the film is the introduction of the main character David Dunn. This scene is shot in a train; it is taken from the point of view of a little girl who is an onlooker to what is happening in this scene.

The little girl is the first colour pop in the film. This means that the outfit that she is wearing is slightly more colourful than the rest of the scene. This makes that person stand out from everything else. In this scene, the main character, David Dunn, is shown as a bit of an unfaithful person; this is because as a woman sits next to him, he takes off his wedding ring. This may be a sign of desperation because he is fed up with the life that he is currently living with his wife. He talks very calm and quietly, giving the audience a sense that he is quite mysterious.

He may be keeping secrets. The use of camera in this scene is mainly from the girl’s point of view. It is a low angle shot that is using a handheld camera. The low angle shot makes David out to be higher up than the little girl. This is a clue that he may be the hero in this story because it is looking up at him. The handheld camera gives the audience the feeling that they are the little girl in a way and that they are there. At points in this scene, the audience can see David through the reflection of the window.

This connects with Elijah because Elijah’s first scene is reflected through a mirror. Near the end of this scene, the camera begins to shake and all the sounds become muffled. David’s movements become slow motion but the movements around him become faster. At this point, we have a close up of David’s face. This gives the audience the idea that something bad is about to happen, however, none of the train crash that happens is shown. The scene flips to David’s son, which is a contrast of scene because the train scene is loud and shaking however the next scene is quite and still.

There is an inverted shot after the train scene of David’s son, this inverted shot is used in other places in the film such as when Elijah is a child when he first gets the comic book and when Elijah is an adult and he sees a comic in the book store, this makes links between these scenes so we can link back to what has happened previously. One of the main scenes in this film is the scene inside the train station when David Dunn begins to develop his heroic super powers.

The camera angles in this scene are linked closely with the camera angles in previous scenes, for example, when David is walking down the stairs, he is silhouetted and it is a low angle shot of him. This type of shot is used when Elijah is walking down the stairs and he falls in the stadium. This makes a link between the two scenes and makes the audience think back to that scene. At the beginning of this scene, we see David walking towards a bright light with Elijah doing a voice over phone call. This may be interpreted as Elijah being David’s mentor and guiding him towards the light of salvation.

In this scene, there are a lot of colour pops. These show the fact that David is developing his powers, these make this show up. Every time that David touches a person, the background slows down and there is a ‘zooming’ kind of sound. This draws attention to the fact something super natural is happening. The sounds and music play a big part in this scene because it is used to create tension and sets the mood. For example, the music is mainly orchestral instruments that build up gradually as a moment of suspense happens, or when an unusual event happens.

I think that the ending of the film shows a good contrast between the heroes and villains. The ending scene brings together the rest of film so that the audience are able to figure out all that they have seen. The entire film is about the first stages of a man discovering his super powers, this is normally only the beginning scene of a super hero film but this film uses that scene for the entire film. The director of this film wanted to create a story about a normal hero and a normal villain. We find out that David is the hero and Elijah is the villain.

Shyamalan uses primary colours mainly so that the film is linked closely with comic books. I think this is very effective. Shyamalan set out to create a life like hero in this film. I think that he did this successfully as David Dunn. He has also created a life like villain as Elijah price. This is successful because people can relate to the hero and the villain without having ‘super powers’ and this makes the film believable on some level. Overall I think that this film was a success and that Shyamalan did well in achieving his goal.