BY ALEXANDER CASTRO
GRAPHIC BY EMMA CHANG
Heads up! Glass is shattering the competition.
On Jan 18, the final installment of the Unbreakable film series Glass released. The intricate plot, stunning scenery and extraordinary acting weave a tale of mystery and suspense.
To summarize the preceding films, Unbreakable is the story of David Dunn who is the only survivor of a train crash due to his unbreakable bones. David proceeds to use his abilities to become Philadelphia’s chief vigilante.
Additionally, James Mcavoy stars in Split, about Kevin Wendell Crumb, who was abused as a child. In order to protect himself, Kevin creates a separate identity called “The Beast,” an animal like being who possesses superhuman strength and agility.
Glass is not meant to be taken as a superhero vs. villain movie, but rather, an enjoyable insight into the psychology of the characters fighting personal and external battles. This is because Glass is not meant to be a stereotypical good versus bad scenario. Rather, the movie covers topics that lurk just beneath the surface of this intricate thriller. Overall, Glass is a narrative on the power of self-doubt and how the belief in one’s self overcomes doubt and criticism.
During the course of the movie, Dunn, Crumb and Prince are incarcerated in a psychiatric institute. There, they face Dr. Ellie Staples, played by Sarah Paulson, a psychiatrist specializing in people who believe they are superheroes. Throughout the course of the movie, Dr. Ellie plants doubt in their minds, shaking their grip on the beliefs that make up their identity. This symbolizes how everyday people are doubted and judged for what they believe in. Society convinces them that they are less than deserving, and as Mr. Glass, they begin to believe that don’t fit in anywhere and that they were simply mistaken. They feel like they have no place, “Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world, to not know why you’re here. That’s – that’s just an awful feeling,” Glass said.
Furthermore, James Mcavoy’s wide range of emotions and personas provides the audience with both an entertaining and chilling performance. He portrays each of Kevin’s identities with realism and enthusiasm. His performance allows the audience to be absorbed into the film. Each identity ranged in voice range and speech patter. Despite the challenging act, Mcavoy flows easily between them. Samuel L. Jackson also performs his role well as Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass. Mr. Glass suffers from a condition known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which causes his bones to break easily. However, he is compensated with a genius beyond compare. As Mr. Glass begins to embrace his role as the genius mastermind, his performance encompasses the quiet confidence and air of knowledge that comes with controlling all the pieces in an elaborate battle of wills.
In addition to the talented acting, the set design team was highly skilled. The stark contrast between the bright, almost childlike scenes followed by dark action-packed scenes build the suspense and keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
As director M. Night Shyamalan expands his repertoire of thrillers, his prior experience shines through. His expertise can be seen in his selective use of CGI or visual effects to bewilder and amaze the viewers.
Furthermore, the side characters did not steal the spotlight. Rather, they accentuated the lead actors. While the main characters were used to create a mystery, the side characters were there to solve it.
One of the most unique aspects of the film is the characterization of the characters. None of the characters are evil, but rather want to either be left alone, to prove themselves equal or to recover. This places all three characters into the “anti-hero” group. These heroes lack the standard heroic ideals like idealism, courage and morality. This allows the viewers to form opinions about the characters based on their personality traits and conviction rather than the stereotypes of the typical villain. This choice is important because the audience can empathize with all sides and develop attachments to all characters.
In the end, Glass’ use of minimal visual effects, exceptional acting, and startling scenery all add to the shadowy allure of this stark thriller. This film has shattered the glass ceiling.