Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Character Spotlight- Elijah Price/Mr. Glass- Unbreakble (2000)

**This post contains spoilers**

Obsessed comic book fan? Check. Creepy recluse? Check. Aspiring super villain? Yep.

That's an odd list for Elijah Price, but it's hard to not feel some sympathy for the guy. Elijah suffers from a potentially fatal degenerative bone disease, and his brittle bones earned him the nickname Mr. Glass as a child. Elijah's mother eased her son's pain with the promise of one new comic book every week, but to cash in on his mother's deal, Elijah had to make a promise to end his self-imposed exile from the outside world as a recluse. Elijah's mother promised to deliver the comic book, if Elijah took a short trip outside to a park bench to retrieve his prize. Elijah agreed to his mother's terms, and a love for comic books saved Elijah from an unsuccessful life.

As an adult, Elijah turned his passion for comic books into a career. Elijah owns and operates Limited Edition, a gallery featuring comic book art. Elijah survived all the rough taunting and physical hardships as a child. He overcame adversity to live his dream, so what's missing? Elijah needs to find his counterpart in life to fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle, so he embarks on a mission to find a real life superhero, with some help from his knowledge of comic books.

The top man on Elijah's list of potential candidates? David Dunn (Bruce Willis), an ordinary security guard. David is trying to find some solace in his broken marriage, and fix an awkward father/son relationship with Joesph. David is quick to dismiss Elijah's outlandish claims, but David can't ignore one bizarre miracle: David emerges as the sole survivor from a tragic train accident. Is Elijah right? Is David a superhero, who possesses supernatural strength and powers?

Samuel L. Jackson's portrayal of Elijah is something to remember. As a child, you want to feel sympathy for this kid, who's forced into a life as an outcast. As an adult, Elijah is an eccentric, jaded, and bitter man, who hates the world and almost everyone in it. There's a scene in Unbreakable, where a customer visits Limited Edition to purchase a gift for his son, but there's a little catch. The customer never revealed his son's age to Elijah. The customer's son is a young child, and Elijah values the prestige of his art gallery. He doesn't want to give off the impression Limited Edition is a kiddie shop, so a snobbish Elijah berates the customer, and he refuses to sell anything to him.

David was supposed to be the cure for Elijah. He was supposed to be the one, who completed his life. Well, David eventually accepted the truth, and he embraced his powers and alter ego as a superhero. So everything should be perfect, right? David was able to save a couple of lives using his powers, and Elijah found the answers he was looking for, and he found a new friend in David, but there's one problem: Elijah is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, including David's train wreck. David found the answers using his clairvoyant powers. Devastated and shocked, David informed the police to put an end to Elijah's reign of terror.

Elijah had to lure his counterpart out of hiding, so he lived a secret life as a terrorist. A delusional Elijah believes in his actions, because A. he helped David discover his true identity, and B. Elijah found his counterpart, and C. Elijah found his purpose in life. Elijah believes in his destiny to be David's archenemy, but the police don't share beliefs for obvious reasons.

Unbreakable features a memorable twist, when they reveal Elijah as the culprit, but a one unanswered question bothers me: Why didn't Elijah take advantage of David's trust? David befriended Elijah towards the end, and David lowered his defenses, so Elijah had the chance to strike first before David learned the truth. You have to wonder if Mr. Glass is still contemplating his mistake, but I guess we'll never know the truth about his regrets, because Unbreakable was a one and done deal. It's a shame, because Jackson is the ideal choice for this role, and Mr. Glass had a lot of potential as a villain.

If you're interested, you can follow this link to read my spoiler review for Unbreakable (2000)-

And here's the link for the minor spoilers review-


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