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UNBREAKABLE
BULLETIN BOARD

UNBREAKABLE
(2000)


This page was created on November 26, 2000
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

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THE SADDNESS OF NOT BEING WHO GOD WANTS US TO BE
Subject: Unbreakable
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002
From: steve

 The key moment in this film for me is during the second interview between Elijah and Dunn at the Gallery. Dunn tells him of the sadness he feels every morning. Elijah tells him IT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT DOING WHAT IT IS YOU ARE MEANT TO BE DOING! So many people, Christians as much as others, suffer because we are not living our lives as God intends us to. Particulary, this message should ring true with believers. If we are not out doing our part to further God's message and love to others, however that may be done, we are not living up to what He wants of us, and the end result will inevitably be despair.

 I forget if you mentioned the Christ-Like qualities of Dunn - the outstretched arms in the final subway sequence, the death-and-resurrection in the swimming pool, the moment when he reveals his identity to his son at the kitchen table and then quickly tells him to tell NO ONE as Jesus also often did . . .

Finally, and you can delete this if you prefer, but it really irks me to see the response from some viewers as seen
below to one of the few black villians on screen in the last few years. Is there any reason why one black villian in a
see of white villians causes such an angered response? You know, it's a movie! That's all.

ABOUT YOUR SITE
Subject: AI and Unbreakable
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001
From: Joshua

Hi!
I had discovered your site when I was searching for reviews about the movie "Pokémon - The First Movie", and curious about how could be a Christian review of the movie, I accessed your site. And I was pleasently surprised :-)

Instead of a lot of articles stating that such and such movie are evil, I found a site that *really* analyse the movie's plot and points and, although I don't agreed with some intrepretations, they always are interesting of read and very thought-provoking. I wish congratuled your review for A.I. and Unbreakable in special because are the one that more understand the basis that the movies are founded on (A.I. = fairy tale, Unbreakable = Superhero Comic Books) :-)

But I had a question: there is no analysis for Professor Hobby, David's creator?

there is a thing that I want sugest: an anime and TV series analysis section. (Actually, I had two sugestion for it: Early Edition and Quantum Leap reviews)
I want for your answer,
Joshua

Response: Thank you for your kind words. Professor Hobby would be interesting. He represents the reason why we should have a cautionious concern toward technology. -David

GOOD VS. EVIL, THE NEVER ENDING BATTLE
Subject: Unbreakable
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2001
From: David Ewing

Hello,
I was finally able to watch Unbreakable the other day. This movie has a mystical semi-gothic pulp hero ambiance about it. Not literally as dark in scenery as say Batman, Darkman, Dark City, or Matrix. What I really found interesting was the comparison and contrasts between David Dunn (hero) and Elijah Price (the villain): .

Both men appear to be severely depressed. David's is a sadness stemming from being less than he could possibly be for the sake or demand of another. Knowing that he could have been or still can be more in terms of his inner identity.This has happened and it is happening to people. Elijah is understandably angry about having a disease that makes his bones fragile as glass. They call him Mr. Glass. This movie could have been called 'Fragile,' and still be appropriate. .

David has certain gifts or talents; superior strength/fitness, a sixth sense and psychometric-like ability to detect evil. Elijah has the gifts of acquiring information, to analyze it and being able to organize it into the big picture. He is a master of deception, manipulation, violence and mayhem. Elijah commits horrible atrocities with the approach of a passive-aggressive criminal.David is modest and self-effacing. Elijah is arrogant and condecending even though he hides this to a degree through most of the movie.

*** Some significant moments in the movie were the scene where Elijah, as a child receives the comic book that his mother gave him. She says to him, "They say there's a surprise ending." This was a message meant for the movie viewer as well. The end of the movie is a surprise ending. .

David's security job allows him to be around the sport that he has a passion for, football. Elijah owns Limited Edition, a comicbook art gallery. This is his passion.

.They both suffer life-death type traumas that make them see the world differently. Elijah with his disease has suffered countless serious fractures to his body. David has been through 4 symbolic deaths and resurrection scenarios: drowning as a child, the car accident when he was a football player, the train disaster, and near drowning before fighting the orangeman. *Was there hint of a baptism here? .

Elijah's mother explains to David about Elijah's view on the villain. There is the soldier-villain who fights the hero with his hands and the evil genius who fights the hero with his mind. Clearly, Elijah is the latter. .Even though both men have Biblical names Elijah Price is an evil prophet or mentor. The name Price reminds me that this character has paid the price for his illness (physical and mental). We as society have paid the price to for him surviving as a mass murderer. David tells his mother that Elijah, "He's kind of a miracle." He said this before he knew Elijah's true nature. Elijah Price is a miracle of evil and a tragic figure who sees his purpose as an embodiment of evil. He feels satisfaction and joy in that fact being affirmed in his mind. How tragic indeed.

Is the special purpose or destiny set by God? Will you embrace it? I've paraphrased your questions David. These are very profound questions. *By the way, my middle name is David, so I found this movie made me curious. If God's special purpose and destiny for me is to fight evil and uphold the good, then I would embrace it. However, if the same God preordained me to be a prince of darkness I would respectfully decline. I prefer David Dunn's destiny to Elijah Price's madness.

***After much thought I concluded that since humans don't know their own destinies the answers to these questions would be a challenge. But from observation on what most humans can do; I can say this: We are the choices, decisions, and actions that we make. We can and do choose who we are. The rest will result in that which can't be known to us till our lives are almost done.

Unbreakable is the Never-Ending Battle for Truth, Justice, and Good that sooner or later we will have to face. Some of us will accept the challenge and win. Some of us will find out that conformity to evil is more to our liking in order to be comfortable. That is tragic.
Samuel David Ewing
SARASWATI@prodigy.net
http://pages.prodigy.net/saraswati/

Good vs. Evil, The Never-Ending Battle II: The Social Message Of Unbreakable.
Subject: Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001
From: "Samuel Ewing"

Hello again,
I took the time to think about an issue that is of concern to me as a African American male. The following movies came to mind; Conan The Barbarian, Stargate, Marked For Death, Ultimate Soldier II, Mummy I & II, Fifth Element, No Holds Barred, and *Unbreakable. There are many other movies I could choose from but these particular ones stand out for me at this moment. They have in them significant deliberately designed elements which are consistent with the Hollywood ideology concerning men of African descent. Unfortunately racial bias towards African American males isn't a new phenomena in Hollywood. I think its time for a serious look at this matter.

When I saw Unbreakable I was reminded of the same prejudicial hostility against African American males portrayed in other movies and this is done with blatant and subtle distortions with African history as well. I will get to these points shortly. A few friends of mine also saw Unbreakable and the negative elements I spoke of was not lost on them. As a matter of fact they spoke out loud what I had been thinking.

Examples? There are too many. *In Mummy I & II the main villain's name is a slight variation on Imhotep. Imhotep was never an evil vile villain as portrayed in these movies. Imhotep was an Egyptian of African descent who was called 'Prince of Peace' because of his great practical wisdom and knowledge in the sciences that helped people. Imhotep was a genius in mathematics, medical science, architecture, administration, pharmacology, and diplomacy. He was second only to Pharoah Zoser in authority, he designed the pyramids of that dynasty, he was a surgeon that recorded knowledge on brain surgery and internal anatomy. Such were his accomplishments that even the ancient Greeks named Ascepulapius, god of medicine. This man was a hero not a villain. Hollywood's obsession with denigrating African cultures doesn't stop there. In Unbreakable itself the African American villain, Elijah Price, is shown sitting behind a mural of Egyptian hieroglyphics which fits in with his discussion on comic books. The connection of Egypt to evil is again subtly implied. In Stargate, the god Ra is portrayed as an effeminate, cruel, possibly child molesting being who persecutes a group of people who evidently represent Semites. Here again Ra, the Egyptian deity, was the Being of Light who fought against Typhon and Set (the embodiments of evil). Furthermore if anyone would care to do the research Ra was one of the epithets for the Biblical Yahweh (the God of the Bible). Contrary to popular belief the Egyptians were fully aware of the Biblical Yahweh and they were worshipping him prior to the Exodus. Egyptian people were Black African who through miscegenation with fairer skinned Semites and Indo-Europeans became similar to the multiracial descendants present in America today.

Elijah Price in Unbreakable is clearly the stereotype of AngloAmerica's fear and hatred of African American males. The reality is that African American males are hardly the threat to this society that they are portrayed to be. The questions come up. How can the projection of Anglo-America's bloody history be projected on to Black males by Hollywood? What is with the obsession to beat down these particular males if the makers of this ideology are in a superior position socially? Superior people shouldn't need to promote such imagery? Elijah Price's character is stereotypical:

1. The relationship with with his mother is clearly contrasted as dysfunctional in comparison with David Dunn and his son. The Mother-Child motif is a very basic element in the beginnings of African and African-American cultures. Historically Black women in Africa were given greater respect and social position in ancient times in comparison with their counterparts in Europe.

2. Elijah is a mass murderer. *Black males are not as a rule mass murderers in the United States.

3. He is criminally insane and his bones break easily. 'The violent black male motif.' *See above.

4. For all his intelligence he is "at the other end of the spectrum." Hiearchy. David Dunn is the superhuman white male while Elijah Price for want of a better word is clearly an inferior who needs David to confirm his own self-identity and purpose.

5. ***I want to note here that the persons who spoke to me mentioned these very points I'm bringing up because of their concern on how Hollywood consistently denigrates Black males. Elijah's infirmities also imply genetic inferiority.

Certainly, Hollywood has produced movies that lend some dignity to Black males but these are quite sparse and too few. The alternatives to the evil genius of Elijah Price in the cinema have too often been:

1. Gangsters, pushers, and pimps.

2. Brute muscle for the crime syndicate or the government syndicates (FBI, CIA etc.). Soldiers.

3. Clowns, buffoons, ne-er-do wells. How many movies has Hollywood cranked out where Black males are ridiculed, mocked, made into parodies. I think everyone knows what I mean.

4. The sidekick that gets killed, is lost without the white hero, who waits to be told what to do, who is the butt of the hero's jokes etc. etc. Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, and Cicely Tyson have commented about this plight. The scarcity of honorable and dignified roles for Black actors to portray.

Considering that African American consumers are a major economic force as movie-goers to Hollywood's great fortune, I constantly recommend that these consumers use a more critical eye in choosing the movies that they watch. No doubt, the effect of these movies on Black children is harmful. Years ago a friend of mine took his two sons to see No Holds Barred with Hulk Hogan. I went as well. In this movie the blonde hero, Hogan gives a severe beating to the African American villain named Zeus. My friend's two sons cheered for Hogan as he was beating down the Black male named Zeus ( a violent killer). The stereotype of the blonde Aryan superman beating down an inferior foe was so obvious to my friend and myself that we left the theater. We explained to his sons the adverse message of this movie and what it could mean for them as Black males. In Ultimate Soldier II, Claude Van Damme beats up a Black man who is superhumanly evil even though he is only a highly conditioned former supersoldier. In Conan The Barbarian, the producers rip off the African Egyptian story of Isis-Heru-Osiris. Conan is put in the place of Heru and Set (Thulsa Doom, incarnation of Set), a black man travels all the way to primordial Europe to wreak havoc on Europeans. *Note that the makers of the film clearly admitted portraying Conan as a neo-fascist Nietschean superman, using quotes from Nietsche, and the Conan character is taken from Irish legend. A number of critics mentioned the fascist element of this film and one commented that Heinrich Himmler would approve of it.

Hollywood is clearly maintaining the status quo of white male superiority over people of color. This destructive fantasy has been the visual symbol for some of the most diabolical exploits performed by such men as Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Napoleon etc. The white male superman is not a hero. He is a monster. Hollywood has yet to be more balanced in its portrayal of people of color and their heroes.

Because of my concern and frustration with this sad state of affairs I have devoted some of my time to find the history behind the legendary heroes of people of color, many of them have been deliberately distorted, represented as European when they never were. When I find this out I have presented this info to Black children so they can receive the facts that have been hidden from them.

Going back again to Conan and putting it under scrutiny the majority of Europe's history from the time of ancient Egypt to the present has been the invasion of Africa, Asia, and other people of color. The results for those people have been horrific. The real Conans invaded Africa and Asia, not the other way around. This is a very sobering subject for me to discuss but the makers of the movies have made their social ideology quite clear for years. Its time for a more factual perspective.

American culture still needs its ethnocentric heroes (Rambos, Commandos, Conans, Batmans etc.) to temporarily calm the atmosphere of fear, and help maintain the elitism that is so dear to its heart.
Sincerely, Sam Ewing
SARASWATI@prodigy.net
http://pages.prodigy.net/saraswati/

ICONOGRAPHY ON THE PANELS
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001
From: Colin

All of which leads to me imagine a comic book formatted in the style of two dimensional stained glass. Comic book art has been experimenting with different visual formats and the traditional heavy black lined shapes and figures have a "gothic" (and I am loosely using that term) effect that is not dissimilar to the more modern "Batman" series. In fact I would find it an interesting litmus test of the original art form. The portrayal of light, importance and motion in a similar visual manner due to the medium would seem to me to feed well into the imaginative environment that lures a reader. Anyone have any NEA money handy?

COMICS, POSTMODERNISM, AND CHRISTIANITY!
Subject: Comics, postmodernism, and Christianity!
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2000
From: Moogly

I was excited to read the review of "Unbreakable." My theology professor at the seminary I attend forwarded the review to me because I have an interest (obsession) with comics. In fact, I use comics in my ministry to kids. I have found that kids do respond to Christian comics in the same way they respond to secular comics. How can we get Christian (or just wholesome) comics in the hands of kids??

COMIC BOOKS?
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2000
From: Brian

Hey, how about a comic book section on this site?

Response: Some day I will. -David

COLORS
Subject: colors
Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2000
From: Fred

I thought you did a wondeful job analyzing The Sixth Sense, especially with the symbolism of colors. Yet you didn't even discuss the most prominent and important color in this movie--purple. Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson) is never once seen in the movie without purple. What is the meaning of this color relating to Elijah? I hope you can help me out.
Thanks. Fred

Response: Just for you Fred, I will do an analyse of the colors in UNBREAKABLE. Give me a few days and I'll post it in the review.

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE GUN
Subject: Great Film
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2000
From: R. Trice

Hi David: I'm a long-time Hollywood Jesus reader, but first-time poster.
Re: "Unbreakable," yours is a great review of a great film.

I had put off seeing this one, as several of my Christian friends had seen it and poo-pooed it. Should have trusted by initial instincts, which is to make up my own mind. Shyamalan is truly developing into another Hitchcock, even down to the cameos he himself plays (the doctor in "Sixth Sense," and the drug dealer here), but with an even deeper moral perspective than Hitch.

I agree with your analysis of Shyamalan's powerful use of color, composition, and camera angle (i.e.. the child's point of view equaling childlike faith). But also juxtaposed throughout is how he shows us scenes when the camera is positioned above the action, from God's omniscient point of view, looking down on scenes of destiny that will force the characters to make life changing decisions (i.e.. the TV news "birds' eye view" of the train wreck; the view of the package on the park bench from Elijah's apartment window; David fumbling in his closet for the gun and the box of newspaper clippings; and, perhaps most powerfully, the scene in the parking lot of the church {huge and looming in the background} when David finds Elijah's card, and the camera pulls quickly away to show, from above, the empty parking lot as David helplessly looks around for a clue to his life; and the "mind's eye" scenes as David brushes against people and "sees" what evil they have committed).

Also note how the camera was often used to show us the characters' view of their lives being temporarily "upside down", perhaps saying that the answer to their quandaries was "hidden in plain sight?" (Elijah's comic book on the park bench, being slowly turned in his hand but still upside down for the longest time; David's son watching television upside down on the couch; Elijah falling down the subway stairs; David being pushed by the home invader from the bedroom window into the swimming pool).

I also noted the symbolic use of guns in the film (perhaps this one is a reach): David owns a gun, but is never seen relying on one in his security job. We see him handle his gun in the closet, but then put it back in its hiding place, perhaps reflecting his inner suspicions that he doesn't really need one to accomplish his destiny. Guns remain hidden in this film (even the man he brushes up against at the stadium never shows his gun; we see it later still strapped to his leg), until David's son points one at him. But even then, it's revealed as the ultimate "equalizer" in our society for those of us who have no "super powers" to protect them. The boy only wants to emphasize this to his father. Once again Shyamalan is showing us that the faith of the child is stronger than that of the adult. It's also interesting that at the end of this scene, the energy that has been expended has reduced all three characters (the son, the father, and the mother) into spent emotional heaps on the floor. They all fall against separate walls and slide to the ground, with the gun on the table between them. I think this is perhaps the great turning point in the movie, where the family is still fragile, separated, and struggling, but finally in the same room together, and acknowledging the power that is within their grasp to either embrace their destiny (to step out in faith into the unknown, unseen) or embrace their ultimate destruction as a family and as individuals (symbolized by the gun).

This is a beautifully crafted and well told story of brokenness, faith, redemption, and triumph over evil. The only letdown I felt was the handling of the ending. Again, as in "Sixth Sense," (where he handled it so well), we are shown Shyamalan's trademark fast-rewind of the film to show us the clues we missed, and to fill in the remaining blanks. (And here, I apologize for talking in circles, but I too don't wish to reveal too much about the ending for those who haven't seen it) This time, however, it seems a little more forced on us, and I felt I was being spoon-fed too much of the ending, particularly regarding Elijah's character. We get such a well-rounded, reflective tour of David's and Elijah's spiritual journeys throughout the film. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I felt as if Shyamalan got in a big hurry to finish up the story, and ran me into a wall of storyboards. The film had flowed so beautifully, up to and including the wonderful dialogue in the gallery between David and Elijah's mother (which gives us some final, disturbing but tantalizing clues regarding the natures of heroes and villains). I was expecting something even more revealing about to happen between the mother and David at this point, but it was just sort of dropped. Then the handshaking business seemed a bit contrived to me. I can see that Shayamalan was perhaps saying that evil is arrogant and eventually boldly asserts itself, but I think the final revelations somehow could've been more subtle, and just a tad less rushed. The freeze frame ending stopped me cold, as did the subtitled plot fill-in, which informed us of the characters' fates. This was a stark jerk back to reality, utilizing written verbiage, and I felt it was totally inappropriate to the beautifully visual tone of the film.

But overall, one small weakness in an otherwise excellent film. I recommend it strongly
. -- R. Trice

CONVERT TO CATHOLICISM FROM EVANGELICALISM
Subject: unbreakable Newsletter_20
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2000
From: Christy

Thanks for your very thoughtful analysis of the lack of visual imagery in Protestant Christianity. As a recent convert to Catholicism from evangelical Protestantism, it's my observation that evangelicals are icon-phobic. They so fear "idol worship" that they err on the side of nothingness and create barren rooms of worship. In my parish, I am frequently inspired and sometimes awestruck as I ponder on the Stations of the Cross that are displayed on the walls (scenes depicting the Easter story). You are right Protestants have done a great job developing the written word and, to some degree, the art of music. But they have little passion for the visual arts. I don't mean to offend anyone (and if you are reading this you probably don't fall into this category) but many evangelicals are not deep enough in their faith to appreciate the visual arts beyond the surface: "Oh, what a beautiful barn scene he painted."

I just saw UNBREAKABLE last night. It did not affect me like THE SIXTH SENSE, but it did leave me thinking a bit about the forces of good and evil in our society. There were some great visuals, particularly two. One was when Willis is standing in that public place thinking about all of the evil deeds each person had committed who walked by him his arms and hands are out like Jesus on the cross. Very symbolic. And then he becomes the savior for those children! Wow! The second interesting image was when he was choking the intruder. Willis' rain poncho gave him a superhero look, but because you couldn't see his face in that scene the hooded poncho also made him mysterious, like a spirit.

Incidentally, I believe LEFT BEHIND was purposely issued on video first to allow momentum to build. It is to hit theaters next year. That was the plan anyway. If it is as horrible as the books, maybe that plan was dropped. I hope so. I don't want people to think that you have to enjoy the types of pseudo-apocalyptic scare tactics the LEFT BEHIND series promotes to be a Christian.
Christy

Response: Thank you Christy. I liked you thoughts on Unbreakable.

WE DID NOT WANT TO MISS IT
Subject: good movie
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 20:06:04 -0600
From: Lisa R.

We rarely go to the movies, but this was one we didn't want to miss. My husband and I saw it this weekend and enjoyed the plot, the subtle storyline and acting, the underlying redemption story, and of course the surprise ending. By the way, I enjoy your website. Just heard about it on Sandy Rios, 106.7 FM WYLL in Chicago.
Lisa R.

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