Movie Review: Glass

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Movie Review: Glass

Glass is a sequel both to M Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016). At the end of Split, Shyamalan had surprised the viewers by hinting that The Horde (James McAvoy) might exist in the same time and space as David Dunn (Bruce Willis), his protagonist from Unbreakable. In Glass, he takes the idea to its logical conclusion, putting Mr Glass (Samuel L Jackson) in the mix as well. So what we have is a comic book archetype of sorts. Dunn, who moves around in a huge raincoat, going by the name The Overseer, acting as a neighborhood vigilante of sorts, pitted against a brute villain The Beast  and a wheelchair bound master criminal Mastermind (Jackson). In a most bizarre way, over a period of around twenty years, Shyamalan has succeeded in creating his own comic universe. It’s an audacious attempt alright.

Another important player, psychiatrist Dr Ellie Staple, played by Sarah Paulson, is introduced in the film. She believes that the above three aren’t supermen but delusional beings who think they aren’t normal. Her job is to convince them that they are nothing special, so that they can be assimilated in the society. The institute where she works in reminds one hugely of Arkham Asylum from Gotham, Batman’s hometown. She uses unusual and one would say methods reminiscent of those used by the Nazis to convince them of their normalcy. Of course, you can’t put two super powerful individuals and a super genius at one place and not expect them to attempt a breakout. They do so and the resulting fight is worth all the wait. Too bad this showdown comes too late in the film.

The problem with the film is that that instead of being a taut actioner with The Beast and The Overseer pitted against each other and with Mastermind pulling the strings, it wanders into ten different directions and takes too long to come to the point. It’s a case of opportunity gone waste, really. You don’t know what Shyamalan wants to achieve through this film. Is it a Nietzschean rant about man and superman not being able to coexist together in the modern world? Is it his spoof or a homage to comic books, to comic book adaptations? Is it an experiment as to know how much he can stretch an idea?

Whatever his main motive has been, the execution is a bundle of total chaos. Too much screen time has been given to James McAvoy’s character. While he has been superb playing The Horde, we have already seen him doing different voices and physical tricks in Split, which was a vastly superior film, so this is pretty much a case of been there done that. Bruce Willis is given less time and his exploits don’t stand out vividly. Interestingly, his screen son is played by the same actor Spencer Treat Clark, who acted as his son in Unbreakable. Here, he is shown to be his father’s sidekick of sorts, helping him out by monitoring police radio and social media coverage, as also giving him directions over the phone. Samuel L Jackson is shown ultimately as having the soul of an artist who uses carnage to bring out the truth about super beings. All three are consummate actors and look believable in their given avatars.

But good acting alone doesn’t make for a good movie and the truth is that the present film is all sound and fury signifying nothing. It does reiterate the point that Shyamalan is one of our most erratic directors…

Story: Glass, M Night Shyamalan’s third instalment in his Eastrail 177 trilogy, a sequel to Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), is a riveting psychological thriller that works as an intriguing spin-off to Hollywood’s conventional superhero movies. 

Review: Not all superheroes wear capes and not all want to save the world. Some — Samuel L. Jackson as Mr Glass, hope to believe in themselves even as the world perceives them as freaks, while the others — James McAvoy as ‘the beast’ and 23 other personalities, may just want to protect themselves.
Security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man with an extreme case of Dissociative Identity Disorder. He has 24 separate personalities residing in his mind. However, things spiral out of control and the two land up in a psychiatric research center, where they encounter Mr Glass.

Revolving around its three anti-heroes (Glass, the beast and Bruce Willis as the ‘unbreakable’ David Dunn), M Night Shyamalan’s cleverly crafted thriller shatters the glass ceiling in its respective genre. As a matter of fact, Glass isn’t a superhero movie per se. It’s an intense psychological thriller that uses the superhero elements to study the psyche of the extraordinary characters it examines.

Those well aware of Shyamalan’s penchant for tension-driven build-up leading to an unexpected twist in the climax can rejoice here as the filmmaker lives up to your expectations from him. While the climax is rather divisive and bound to evoke polarising views, it is unpredictable and retains that sense of wonder nonetheless. A constant sense of paranoia and suspense coupled by James McAvoy and Sarah Paulson’s incredible performances, make this thriller worth watching. The mysterious equation between its central characters is the heart of the story.

However, Glass has its share of hairline cracks and chips, which over the years are pretty much synonymous to Shyamalan’s movie-making style. He has this fascinating way of engaging you in his story, drawing your unflinching attention and then untimely releasing you from his spell with a thud. What begins as a superb covert character study leads to a seemingly futile emotional roller coaster.

To cut to the chase, Glass is terrific but has its share of underwhelming moments. However, if you are the type who likes the journey regardless of the destination, Glass is your film. It convinces you to decode its relevant theory — faith vs logic, who wins?