If you want to hear how M Night Shyamalan planted clues about Split and Glass way back when he made Unbreakable in the year 2000, then stick around to the around to the end of this video. Welcome aboard, this special episode of Things You Missed. And yes, I already know what you’re thinking. No CZ, you can’t cover Unbreakable. It’s not a horror movie. OK, hold on.
Don’t tell me the scene at the Usmani family’s house isn’t terrifying. And second, I’m doing this because I’m covering the entire series, which includes Split. A horror movie. And also, I just want to do Unbreakable, and it’s my channel and I can do what I want. And if you haven’t seen Split, you’ll want to have seen that as well as Unbreakable. So with that being said, let’s take a look at Unbreakable. The first scene shows the birth of Elijah Price, and we first see the child who would later become known as Mr. Glass, through the reflection of a glass mirror. This is a common theme in Unbreakable, we’re introduced to age 13 Elijah through the reflection of the Glass television screen, and we’re introduced to Adult Elijah through the reflection of the glass in one of the pieces at his art gallery. When David meets Elijah for the first time, not only are we looking through a glass window, but the characters are framed in a box, just like a comic book.
“Here by appointment only.” “I got a card from this store.” The reason for these choices is that Elijah sees himself as nothing more than a fragile, broken piece of glass, and his entire purpose throughout the film is to find his real place in the world, and discover why he is the way he is. In the next scene we’re introduced to the protagonist, David Dunn. Note the alliteration of his name like many other superheroes: Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Bruce Banner and several others. One of the first moments of David being on screen has him looking at a child in the seat in front of him, who is upside-down. Like the recurrent theme of glass, inversion is also something that’s seen time and time again in Unbreakable, and to understand it, it’s important to understand the connection between the film’s two central characters.
David and Elijah are opposites in every way but one. One is invincible, the other of as fragile as they come. One gets sick very easily, the other is never sick. One is physically gifted, the other has a hard time even getting around. David is light skinned, Elijah has dark skin. David is very reserved, while Elijah is quite outgoing. And of course, David is the hero, while Elijah is the villain. So when all is right with the world, the camera is upright, as it should be. But when disaster is about to strike… when something bad is about to happen, the camera is inverted in relation to its subject, the upside down girl precedes the train crash, David’s son Joseph watches TV upside-down before learning of the crash, Elijah lays eyes on the comic book that first gives him the idea that he’s a supposed to be a supervillain and it’s upside-down, Elijah falls down the stairs and sees the man with the gun get away with an inverted perspective and Joseph sees his dad lift an impossible amount of weight from upside-down which later leads him to pull a gun on his father.
There’s also an inversion reference hidden in the credits. David’s wife is named Audrey Dunn, but there’s a separate credit for the actress who played the age 20 Audrey before her and David were married, where she’s referred to as Audrey Inverso. Finally, Elijah discovers a comic that helps him find out what David’s kryptonite is and that’s upside down as well. Speaking of that kryptonite, that one weakness that David has, David tells Kelly, the woman he meets on the train, that he’s thinking about getting into male synchronised swimming, which is funny because we later find that his weakness is water. Director M Night Shyamalan also used the idea of water as a weakness in his next film, Signs. There’s also a connection to his previous film, The Sixth Sense, in that Bruce Willis is the star of both movies. David’s wife also mentions that her favorite song is Soft and Wet by the artist formerly known as Prince. Another word for soft is weak, and David becomes weaker whenever he gets wet.
Kelly also asks David if he likes football, and he says, “not really”. We later find out this is a lie, David was a huge football star, and he still works as a security guard at his former school’s stadium so that he can continue to be around the game. Kelly is going to Philadelphia to meet with a cornerback from Temple University, who later appears in the movie, he’s in the park playing football with a bunch of kids, one of which is David’s son. One last thing on the train, this isn’t confirmed, but I’ve got a hunch that this could be Kevin Wendell Crumb’s father, who is said to have disappeared on a train when Kevin was young and never come back.
“But you’ve never met The Beast. Because he doesn’t reside with the rest of you. Because he resides in the trainyard, as the story goes, because Kevin’s dad left on a train. But the fact is: you and Patricia have never met The Beast.” Alright, looks like this is my stop. Alright, always good to be back. So where were we? After the accident, Joseph is seen watching television. “I don’t know how close they’re going to be able to get David, there are woods and trees. It’s going to be a very difficult rescue..” It starts with this Dole commercial featuring a skateboarding Banana, then he flips the channel to Jerry Springer, then the Powerpuff Girls, which is a 90s superhero cartoon, and then an episode of I Am Weasel, another 90s cartoon, this episode is about a smart banana that comes to life, it’s actually a really funny episode. I’m not entirely sure why there are two separate references to a living, sentient banana, perhaps an early foreshadowing of The Horde, whose defining color is yellow. Or maybe something with Banana Split? Could be something there.
I should also probably explain the color scheme for anyone who hasn’t seen my Glass trailer analysis. David is almost always wearing Green, from his shirt in scene two to his iconic rain poncho. Elijah can mostly be found wearing purple and the present from his mother is wrapped in purple. It even goes right down to Elijah’s purple walled office and David’s kitchen with the green cabinets, which looks beautiful when complimented by the orange accents after David defeats the Orange man… oh man we could talk about color theory all day with this movie, but let’s switch back to wherever we were.
Right. The TV. The news of the train wreck comes in on channel 4 news, whose logo resembles the logo of the Marvel superhero group, the Fantastic Four. So David ends up being the only survivor of the train crash, and after the memorial, receives a note from Elijah, which leads him to discover he’s never actually been sick. Then we get the previously mentioned flashback to Elijah’s childhood where he receives the gift from his mother, a comic book titled The Battle With Jaguaro. Jaguaro is a beast like antagonist wearing yellow and a reference to The Beast from Split. Jaguaro is going up against a superhero wearing green, obviously a reference to David. “They say this one has a surprise ending.” Yes, it does. Elijah tries to sell the original artwork as an adult, calling it a classic depiction of good vs. evil. However, when he learns that the buyer wants to get this as a present for his kid, Elijah is outraged.
And I love that little moment where Elijah is explaining that this is an art gallery, not a toy store, and he asks the prospective buyer, do you see any Teletubbies in here? And the guy actually looks, like “oh my God, there’s no teletubbies in here!” But anyway, after David meets Elijah, and thinks he’s a scam artist, which is interesting in itself considering David’s innate ability to sense evil, David goes home and reads the newspaper article about the train crash of Eastrail 177. The photo of the wreck is credited to Kevin Ladson, and he’s actually the prop master of the movie. In the article, the name of the transportation secretary is Kia Dickerson, who is also on the art department of Unbreakable.
Part of the article mentions that the trains had just had an engine check prior to leaving the station, an early hint that foul play was involved. On the right column, there’s an article about raising money to build prisons FOR YOU AND ME TO LIVE IN Excuse me, to house the number of inmates expected in the next decade, perhaps some of the criminals caught by David Dunn will inhabit these prisons. Then David takes a look back at the newspaper highlights from his football career. One of the articles is written by Scott Murphy, Shyamalan’s assistant art director, and the photographer Jim Feng is a reference to James Feng, another assistant art director.
Here’s another reason I love this movie, always good to see the Brewers losing. The article about David’s car crash in college is written by Robert Holtzman, yet another assistant set decorator. He’s interrupted from reliving his glory days when his wife comes knocking on his door asking if David has been with anyone since they started having problems. “I’m prepared for any answer. It won’t affect me.” She’s lying. “The answer won’t affect me.” She’s lying.
“It won’t affect me either way.” She’s lying. “No.” Told you. The next day at work, Elijah shows up and we’re introduced to David’s ability to sense bad people in a crowd, when he predicts that a man wearing camouflage is carrying a silver weapon with a black grip and that he will step out of line, which he does. Elijah sets out to see if David’s prediction is correct.
He steps out of his car which is completely covered in padding, in order to pursue the guy, but on the stairs to the subway, has a bad fall, and the shattering of his glass cane represents his frailty. I already talked about these scenes, so let’s move onto the next stadium scene. A single mother in red bumps into him and he heads the sounds of child abuse. Roll it like the spirit of Philadelphia.
“No….” Maybe… just maybe… this kid is a young Kevin Wendell Crumb from Split, but it might be impossible to know for sure. It is a different actress playing the Mom, but is has been 15 years so it’s just possible that they weren’t able to get that woman who was an extra on set back to play the Mom. I don’t know. Let me know what your thoughts on that are in the comments though. Then there’s a cameo from the director M Night Shyamalan himself. David is called away from work because his son Joseph has an injury at school, when he gets in a fight with two kids, who we later find out are Potter and some other guy. “It was Potter and another guy. They were messing with this Chinese girl in the dressing room.” You may remember Potter is the cousin of the Cornerback from temple.
“He’s Potter’s cousin. He’s starting cornerback at Temple University.” Then we’ve got Joseph’s gun scene. Now supposedly this was inspired by an incident that really happened to Superman actor George Reeves, where a child confronted him with a gun and asked to shoot him to prove Superman was invincible, and Reeves convinced him to put the gun down by telling him that someone might be injured by the ricochet. I don’t know if that story is true, but either way it could have been used as inspiration for the Unbreakable scene. Finally, David revisits the wrecked train cars and remembers the incident he and Audrey went through in college, where we has actually completely unharmed in the car accident.
He decides to become a vigilante, and saves the two girls from the orange man. In the newspaper article that comes out the next day we find out that those girls were tied up like that for 3 days. The author of the article is Nicole Marsella, of course an Art Department assistant. Scott Murphy, the sportswriter from before also has something to say about the breaking up of farmland in this other article, so this man has many passions it seems, and the farmland stuff could be another hint towards Signs being Shyamalan’s next film. Finally, David visits Elijah’s art gallery showing and meets his mother. “See the villains eyes? They’re larger than the other characters. They insinuate a slightly skewed perspective of how they see the world.” These are just a couple final clues towards the reveal that’s about to happen in a couple minutes. Elijah has always seen the world from a skewed perspective through those big eyes of his.
But what’s truly amazing is her next comment. “But he says there’s always two kinds. There’s the soldier villain who fights the hero with his hands… and then there’s the real threat, the brilliant and evil arch-enemy… who fights the hero with his mind.” Shyamalan was planning to bring The Horde from Split into the equation from the very beginning. In fact, he would later reveal that the horde was at one point supposed to be a part of Unbreakable, but he cut the character and saved him for Split because the movie was getting too crowded.
I’ve got one more Thing You Missed, but first remember to subscribe to CZsWorld for new horrors every week. Next week I’m going to be doing Things You Missed in Split, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on that, so make sure your deathbell notifications are on. The final freeze frame of the movie states Elijah Price is in an institution for the criminally insane. Why would it say that if this is not a true story, and Shyamalan wasn’t planning on having Glass take place in that institution 19 years later? I’ll see you in the next one. Assuming we both survive. .
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