I loved Unbreakable, it was a surprisingly tense thriller by M Night Shyamalan released in 2000 not long after The Sixth Sense. In my opinion, it’s the best film he’s done so far. The quality of his films took something of a nosedive after this, his insistence on shoehorning in a twist losing its charm, and the nadir of his film run was probably After Earth or The Last Airbender, the latter of which was a clusterfuck given the astoundingly good animated show it was based on.
It looked like he’d basically lost his mojo and be mainly fondly remembered for those initial films which were fresh, but he surprised a lot of people when releasing Split, which played out as more of a horror type film and was anchored by an impressive performance (performances?) from James McAvoy. The big twist being the appearance of David Dunn, the character portrayed by Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, that linked these two films.
The popularity of both films paved the way for Glass which acts as a sequel to both films, essentially having David Dunn taking on The Beast while re-introducing Samuel L. Jackson’s character. It’s one I’ve been looking forward to since it was initially announced and it’s a film that I’ve really tried to avoid hype for as much as possible so as to go in fresh, though I’ve obviously seen some of the mixed reviews it’s been getting.
The first thing I’d seen was that the film struggles to combine the tones of the previous films, to which I’d disagree with. It feels like it’s got more in common in terms of tone with Unbreakable, it definitely feels like they’re going for a tense thriller than more of a horror vibe, and I think for the most part they’re successful on that front. It was definitely impressive just how atmospheric it wound up being both visually and by the use of the soundtrack, which while nowhere near as memorable as Unbreakable’s works well.
The other thing I’d seen judged prior to seeing the film was it’s final third and it wasn’t exactly flattering. While I wouldn’t agree with the view that so much of the film wasn’t great the last twenty minutes or so did very much leave a bad taste in the mouth. Without going into any spoilers there’s a couple of decisions made that almost ruin what has come before in my mind. It feels like it has the same issue I had with Unbreakable and that’s that I genuinely think Shyamalan had no idea how to end either film.
Thankfully the three leads turn in excellent performances, Jackson clearly relishes getting to play Elijah Price again after 19 years and James McAvoy does an amazing job of giving the various identities he portrays distinct personalities, be that with the tone and inflexion of his voice or with his body language, it’s also clear that he’s having a bloody lovely time doing it too. The nicest surprise though is Bruce Willis who is the most engaged he’s been in a film in years, he actually seems to be raising his game to match his co-stars compared to how half-arsed he’s been in a lot of stuff of late.
In summary, I’d advise anyone interested in seeing Glass to definitely give it a go and make their own mind up regardless of what they may have seen. Obviously my thoughts are mine and while I think it’s a great film very nearly ruined by decisions made by the director around the last twenty or so minutes, someone else might love what I had issues with. I’d be really interested to hear what other people who have seen it think.
Beard Score: 6/10