Sunday, June 15, 2008
It seems like there are a lot of "users" (as opposed to critics) out there who loved M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense but were disappointed by the slow pacing and lack of thrills in his following feature, Unbreakable. I waited almost eight whole years to see this or any other M. Night movie because I became so sick of the dominant consumer culture's obsession with "I see dead people" jokes and the idea that a movie is brilliant just because it has a twist that very few viewers see coming. I still remember an ex-girlfriend of mine and her mother, who had already seen The Sixth Sense once before, watching me closely in the dark theater and whispering "Did you figure it out yet? Did you figure it out yet?" No, I hadn't, but thanks for making me feel stupid. That Unbreakable also has a twist ending is a fact that is disclosed very early in the film, and it's a little easier to guess but a lot easier to swallow than the notion that a guy could be fooled into thinking he's not a ghost for sixth months because people just happen to open the door when he's coming. I'm planning on watching the rest of M. Night's films in the near future, and with amateur and professional criticism all over the map it's really difficult to guess what I'm in store for. But Unbreakable really made me smile, from the disorienting opening text about comic book statistics to the last, utterly perfect line. And what it lacks in dead people it more than makes up for with heart.