|Appeared in:||Unbreakable, Split|
David Dunn is the main character and protagonist of Unbreakable.
David Dunn was born in Philadelphia in 1960. Little is known about his past except that he nearly died by drowning in a pool at his elementary school. Since the incident, safety precautions around the school's pool area have been more strict, and Dunn's story has become an urban legend among students. As a result of the trauma he endured, Dunn developed a phobia of water.
As a student at Philadelphia University, Dunn was a star athlete and aspiring professional football player. However, what could have become a promising career was derailed after a near fatal car accident involving his girlfriend and future wife, Audrey. Although he was uninjured in the crash, he used it as an opportunity to feign a career-ending injury so that he could have an excuse to give up football and remain with Audrey, who despised the sport. Audrey and Dunn eventually married and had a son named Joseph.
After years of marriage, Dunn's relationship with his wife has strained to the point where they are planning for divorce, and Dunn has decided to seek employment in New York City after having worked as a security guard at the stadium where he used to play.
One day however on a ride back home to Philadelphia, David is a passenger on a train that crashes, resulting in the deaths of 131 passengers. Not only is he the sole survivor, but he emerged from the accident completely unscathed. He reunites with Audrey and Joseph as they wait among other families of victims at the hospital. He later attends a mourning service for the deceased passengers. After the service, Dunn finds a card on the windshield of his car with the words "Limited Edition" engraved on the front. Hand-written in black marker on the inside of the card is the question "How many days have you been sick?". David asks both his employer and wife Audrey the very same question, yet neither can recall him ever being sick.
Dunn takes his son Joseph to the Limited Edition comic book art museum, where he meets the man responsible for the card: Elijah Price. Elijah explains that he has a disease known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 1; which results in frail bones that are easily breakable. He tells Dunn that he had theorized that if there was someone like him in the world then there must be someone who is the opposite of him, someone who is unbreakable. He goes on to explain that he had been paying attention to the city's recent disasters--a plane crash and a hotel fire--waiting to hear a particular combination of words. He tells Dunn that he's finally heard them regarding the train crash--"sole survivor" and "miraculaously unharmed" and that he believes that he has found the man he was looking for. This interests David at first until Price mentions that he believes Dunn to be a modern day superhero, someone that comics based themselves on. This throws Dunn off and he accuses Price of being a scam artist. He then leaves with Joseph to go home. At home, Audrey tells David that she believes it is a miracle that he survived that train and wishes they could start over again, even going as far as asking him out on a date.
One day at work, Dunn gets a call that someone is trying to get in the stadium on a bogus ticket. He goes to see the person who reveals himself to be Elijah, who finds it strange that a person that doesn't think he is a superhero, takes a job that requires him to protect people. Dunn gets him a seat at the game and along the way, he gets a vision of a man with a camouflage jacket was carrying a silver gun with a black grip. Although David's vision was accurate (later confirmed by Elijah.) it doesn't help shake his skepticism. David returns home from work to workout with Joseph helping him with the weights. It is there, where they discovered David has limitless strength. Dunn later tries to test Price's theory, when he gets a vision that one of the customers is selling drugs. After searching the man finding nothing, he begins to doubt himself. Dunn then gets a call from Joseph's school, that he got hurt in a fight defending a girl. While in the office the principal remembers Dunn from back when she was a school nurse. She reminds him of the time he almost died in the swimming pool, which answers Elijah's sick question.
Back at home, Audrey tells David that Elijah has been stalking her telling her his theory. Before he can react, Joseph enters the room with his gun intending to shoot David to prove he is a superhero. David manages to convince him not to, by threatening to leave and go to New York. Dunn confronts Elijah over this and tells him he has been sick from drowning. Before leaving David warns him to stay away from his family. After a date with Audrey he gets a message from Price stating that every hero has a weakness, and David's is water. David later goes to the train yard to see the remains of his train in the accident. He looks and sees a big hole where his window seat used to be. Dunn later remembers the car accident where he was able to rip the door off to save Audrey whilst he was unharmed from it. Dunn later calls Elijah asking for advice. Price tells him to go to where people are and that the rest is up to him.
Taking Elijah’s advice David decides to go to the subway station where he reaches out making sure everyone touches him. He sees visions of a woman in red stealing, a man in yellow assaulting an interracial couple, a college student about to commit sexual assault on a passed-out girl, and a janitor in an orange jumpsuit invading a family's house. Dunn follows the man to the house using his rain poncho as a disguise. While sneaking in he notices the father dead at the top of the basement stairs and two children tied up in a bedroom closet. Dunn unties the kids and goes to the master bedroom where he sees the mother tied to a radiator. He looks around the room for the janitor who sneaks up behind him and knocks him out of the window. David lands on the cover over the pool and nearly drowns, but the kids save his life. Dunn later goes back and kills the janitor by strangling him to death. When he unties the mother she slumps to the floor, sadly having already been killed. Dunn wakes the next day not feeling sad anymore.
The next morning David having accepted becoming a hero secretly shows Joseph a newspaper of his night out, advising him never to tell Audrey. Dunn later goes to Limited Edition during their exhibition, where he meets Elijah who congratulates him on his first night as a full fledged super hero. Elijah then shakes his hand, giving David a vision of him being the cause of each of the aforementioned disasters, including the train wreck. There are several plans for explosives and other evidence of terrorism displayed around his room. Revealing Elijah had caused all these horrible accidents with the intention of finding his unbreakable counterpart, and that he has succeeded in finding Dunn. Elijah explains that he is the villain in David's story, and that he himself has a newfound sense of purpose as a result of finding his place in the world. David alerts the authorities of Elijah's crimes, and he is sent to an institution for the criminally insane.
Fifteen years later, while having breakfast in a small diner, David hears news of the atrocities committed by a Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with 24 distinct personalities including a nearly superhuman murderer named The Beast. The media dubs Kevin "The Horde," and advises that he is at large. Whether David is already in pursuit of Kevin is unknown, but his reaction suggests that his duties are far from over.
- Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan always had Bruce Willis in mind to play the role of David Dunn