Thursday 25 November 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - U (Unbreakable)

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T


Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright

Synopsis via IMDB: A man learns something extraordinary about himself after a devastating accident.

Ok, I'm going to start by saying upfront that I didn't by any means hate this film. Now that's out of the way, I will say that it didn't really light my world on fire. There's a lot to like about it, but the story overall kind of left me cold.

I talked to a couple of people about this ahead of writing this up, and my sister expressed a theory that I might highlight here. When M. Night Shyamalan was first making movies, everyone was drawn in and significantly more people were enthused by the various twists and turns his story would take along the way. Then something changed. The twists in Shyamalan's films became a meme. Suddenly people started looking for the twists in the story. Maybe in 2000 when Unbreakable first released, people still enjoyed that relationship with the movies where the twists were still remarkable. For me watching in 2021, it was...fine. Maybe because I got the vibe that one story beat in particular was probable, the impact when it happened was lessened but that almost feels like a validation of the theory.

There's a lot of good stuff to say on the subject of the movie, with all that said and out of the way. The performances throughout are really good, and Shyamalan does a really good job shooting the various scenes; it's a well-executed movie, and the pacing is slow but not plodding. The scene that sticks out involves a little kid, a loaded gun and Bruce Willis. I'll leave it there in case someone else out there hasn't ticked this one off their list and is precious about spoilers (Hey, it's a thing).

In short, I'm very glad I finally got to watching this one; it's a fine movie execution-wise, and it opens up some apparently excellent movies in a connected universe. While the story didn't blow me away, I was engaged throughout and wanted to see how the story unfolded so it must have been doing something right!

I'm conscious of the fact that 2021 is fast coming to a close, and I have 5 letters still uncovered. I am definitely going to stick to one per letter in order to get through the alphabet, as I'd rather get it done than take it into 2022. Annoyingly I've found that my total number of new movies watched this year smashes through the 52 this format would theoretically give me, it's just that I've watched a lot of extras. Maybe honourable mentions after the letters are wrapped up?

It's X I'm not looking forward to. I binge watched the entire set of more recent X-Men movies on a flight a couple of years ago, I'd have had plenty to choose from otherwise. I guess my punishment is to search "XXX Vin Diesel" and deal with what the search engines give me.

Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're a few weeks in and might have to double up to get up to speed, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

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