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AQA English Media coursework, Unbreakable by Shyamalan

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How does the opening sequence to Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" prepare us for the twist at the end? Mr. Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" filmed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania uses comic books as a staring point and he aims to investigate the aspects of heroism. The opening sequence of "Unbreakable" prepares us for the ending of the film, which is mainly done by aligning us with Elijah's character. The film starts off in silence unlike most other films. This grabs the audience's attention and gets us in the mood preparing us for the upcoming events. During this few seconds of silence, Aston appears on the screen in reverse block (this makes it stand out). This mentions about Comic books and gives us data and statistics. To a person who was expecting to see the film stars immediately, this will be confusing. The director, Shyamalan has done this by purpose to create defamiliarisation and enigma. This will further gather the attention of the audience who are waiting to clear the ambiguity. Thereafter the frame (with Astons) on dissolves onto the next frame, where people are first shown. Imperceptibly the audience at this point will be conscious about the colour scheme, which consists of sepia colours. The application of these colours gives the audience the impression that it is set in the past. ...read more.


As a result, there seems to be a twist at the end; when things that were not expected happen. With the continuous crying of this baby the frame dissolves again and Aston dominates on the screen (mainly saying about the production). Gradually we hear a score soundtrack (non-diagetic) featuring crescendo and it eventually it seems to sound like a train. Towards the end of this music, the protagonist appears for the first time where he is leaning his head onto a glass in a train (reference to glass made again). This music in this incident connects the scene about the baby to the scene in the train. Meanwhile we hear a diagetic sound of an announcement relating to trains. However, when the protagonist first appears he seems to be frustrated and thinking unlike most other films where they are shown full of energy. This prepares us to the end in some sort, because the movie ends when David Dunn is in a bad mood. The fact that we see only part of him reflects our partial understanding about the characters throughout the film towards the end. This means, it links the opening scene to the twist in the end because we were given a clue implying that we are not fully aware of his abilities. ...read more.


It is only in the end, he actually understands his powers. Next we are taken to a hospital where we find him seated on a bed with full of life. At the same time we see a dying dead body in front contrasting to how David was. This is an early indication to his powers, which shows his survival (since he is the sole survivor of this accident). Even this being an emotional situation, there is a splash of colours in David's t-shirt and again he appears enclosed inside a frame, which relates itself to comics. If we think about the ending, where Elijah's mother explains to David about how a hero in comic books look like, David's appearance in the hospital corresponds to her description. In the end of the film, warm colours are used when the protagonist is shown. This shows how we have become close to him after all this has had happened. At this situation we have finally aligned ourselves with David and Elijah is in the opposition, which means what we thought of was completely twisted around as was represented by the use of mirrors. So, most of the things we see in the opening sequence are an early indication to what comes up and it prepares the audience. However this will not be understood by most of them unless they are sophisticated media analysers. ...read more.

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