"Unbreakable: A Study of Parallels"

Essay by magick_muse May 2003

download word file, 9 pages 3.0

Downloaded 48 times

Through the use of parallelism within the narrative of Unbreakable, the viewer comes to gain a greater understanding of the characters of David Dunn and Elijah Price, and what motivates them. This in turn allows the film to become more multifaceted and complex than if the narrative had simply focused on one character alone. Throughout the film there are two significant instances of parallelism. The first is the parallelism between Dunn and Price, which focuses more on the variations of their similarities; despite the fact that we are continuously shown the same general aspects of their lives, such as their health, we are encouraged to concentrate more on the differences between these parallels, rather than the likenesses. The second and more striking use of parallelism within Unbreakable occurs between the two main characters and the traits they share with comic book characters. The continuous comparisons that are made between the character of Dunn and his comic book hero counterpart are what drive the main action of the plot.

Essentially, the same is true of Price, whose motivation we can come to better understand with his final revelation, which at the same time reveals the truth behind many of the cues throughout the film.

The opening of the movie focuses on the birth of Elijah Price. We are given the "nondiegetic material" of the setting and time in the form of subtitles, which we can compare with the use of subtitles with the first appearance of David Dunn, indicating that both characters are revealed to the viewer in the same way, and thus already share a loose connection. The scene goes on to reveal to the audience that the newborn baby's legs and arms are broken. A second scene from Price's life eventually follows, in which he is a twelve-year-old...