Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.

12 January 2003

Unbreakable

I know what Shyamalan’s great talent is: writing synopsises. Synopses. Or whatever. The point is, he should just be content with it. It’s the development that gets bad: dialogues are not stupid (with lines like They say this one has a surprise ending) but they’re scarce. And around them there’s just a tiny little bit of action (but really the bare minimum to get the script going) and a lot, an awful lot of void. Then, as far as directing and photography are concerned, it’s all very nice and classy, but also too cold, too artificial, trying to force upon us an atmosphere that doesn’t fit the story that much.

So the idea is excellent: a man walks out, unharmed, only survivor of a huge train wreck (that we’ll never really get to see, for… some reason?). Is he a superhero or not? Are comics actually inspired, like the Bible is, from real stories, real characters, only embellished for dramatic purposes? It’s all a great idea, and could lead to interesting developments; as for the surprise ending, though afterwards it looks even more obvious than in Sixth sense, it’s perfect.

The problem is, the director (and writer) loses his path. He likes to. Sometimes it’s nice to walk away from the obvious, linear storyline and linger on the more human sides of the story. Sometimes. When you have the talent it requires, which Shyamalan doesn’t. I’m bored, so bored, I just want to get on with it, I don’t understand why we’re stopped there, waiting. I don’t necessarily except an action movie, I just want stuff to happen—any kind of stuff. Honestly, if you were out there, wondering whether you don’t happen to be an invincible superhero, wouldn’t your first idea be simply to stab your own arm? I mean, I’d start with a finger, then the arm, then a big butcher’s knife right through the heart. Sounds logical to me. More logical than lifting 200 pounds on the bench. Obviously, it would ruin the suspense. But a script that just chooses to ignore such an obvious possibility can’t be good. Yes, I like to have a bit of credibility—or, rather, coherence—in my superhero stories. So sue me. At least, in an episode of X-Files, we’d have (or we had? the plot so reminds me of an existing episode) the answer in forty-five minutes instead of a hundred. The director wouldn’t have been able to instill all the atmosphere and set up the tension like Shyamalan likes to do, but that’s just what would have saved the story.

And then, there’s the casting. Can you picture Bruce Willis being all torn out inside and hesitant and tortured by the revelation of his destiny? I can’t. Obviously, he can’t either. Not that he’s acting off-key, but you’re left to imagine what it would have been with an actor just a little more expressive. Robin Wright Penn is good, and the kid is excellent (alright, so Shyamalan is not only good at writing a synopsis, but also at casting children), but I found the Mister Glass of Amélie so much more charismatic than this one. Granted, it doesn’t help that I’ve never liked Samuel L. Jackson. But, honestly, I find the character hardly likeable. And I’m not sure it’s intended, at all.

It’s funny that Unbreakable is on French TV the same month as the first episodes of Smallville. Both are lame, but for different reasons. When I see/read stories that I find badly developed, I often like to imagine rewriting the script to make it better and become rich and famous (because that’s what happens when you write intelligent stories—yeah, right). This time it might be a little unrealistic: the story is too original, I couldn’t make another version without the plagiarism being visible. Too bad. I would have liked my first novel to depict the youth of an X-Men. No, not just for the fun of having to cast a younger James Marsden for the adaptation. Because, well, yes, my first novel will become a movie two years later. Goes without saying. Doesn’t it?

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