based’s review published on Letterboxd:
i'm not a mistake
wastes no time using it's obsessive cues (the rigid constraints of genre placed upon us immediately, the mirror flipping our spacial understanding and hues of purple swaddling the scene of Elijah's birth acting as destiny) to show that it has begun - the world in which we, the broken, are born into has no room for us, or rather that it was made without us in mind. Shyamalan's form here is a shadow of the brutal discipline that would dominate Split and Glass, and is the blueprint of those films' construction of complete sociological austerity. Elijah Price, in his third introduction, is introduced analyzing the depiction of heroes and villains down to their physique, the right way and the wrong way to be, entirely convinced of perception as the purest material. t̶o̶ ̶El̶i̶j̶a̶h̶, it's the realest thing in the world. Elijah's second introduction is the posed in the question "HOW MANY DAYS OF YOUR LIFE HAVE YOU BEEN SICK?", asked to his opposite David Dunn, left on a car windshield indiscriminately during a mass funeral. a confrontation from one broken person to another - unable to cross an invisible bridge.
that little bit of sadness in the morning that you spoke of... i think i know what that is
visually and sonically sublime, and manages, like Mann's Heat, to possess a certain, er, aquatic quality, if you will - such a lucid, medicated film, defined within deep rippling blues and gentle slightly-bleached light; long gently held takes cut thru in a way both precise and weightless. Shyamalan reverses his horror-centric language into something that isn't (entirely) eerie and transforms it into something of pure melancholy, like the weight in your chest placed on screen in monumental images, shadow and figure becoming one. David Dunn has been caught in a daze for his whole life: Elijah Price is continually in a state of hospitalization. both of them build a brooding fortitude around them in every way, be it distance or silence through their bodies or their minds, from the world around them, including those they love (when David is unable to answer Audrey's question on his avoidance... man...). i could never blame David for trying to avoid his invincibility: his status as a sole survivor of the eastrail 177 crash is traumatic enough, but it's frightening to not know your place in the world, or to have your place redefined - to have to come back to life as something more than you were before... may be one of the truest struggles the human soul can know. each of David's confrontations grow in drama as they succeed each other. the ending of the film, beyond the shock (mellowed once again by James Newton Howard's magnificent score which turns the scene into something truly moving - Shyamalan remains unmatched in intense highwire tonal balances), suggests instead that the redefinition of one's identity is the one of the only freedoms we have left.