Unbroken – ★ ★ ★ DVD Review
The real life story of Louis Zamperini, US Olympic runner, WWII bombardier, POW. It was a fascinating and inspiring story, but I personally didn’t think it was all that great of a movie.
We see the young Louie as a juvenile delinquent get brought into the sport of running by his older brother Pete who sees that the young boy needs to change his life and gain focus. Teaching him the mantra that if you can take it, you can make it. Louis does turn his life around, and ends up going to the Olympics in Germany. When the United States joins WWII, Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) joins the Air Force, and excels as a bombardier under the his pilot Russell “Phil” Phillips (Domhnall Gleeson). After a few close calls, and a crash landing after a particularly harrowing bombing run, Louie and Phil and their crew take to the air again in a barely flightworthy craft on a search and rescue mission which ends with them crashing in the Pacific where along with one other surviving crewmember (Mac played by Finn Wittrock), the pair are adrift in life rafts for 47 days until Louie and Phil are taken prisoner by the Japanese naval craft that discovers them. Their rescue takes them to several POW camps, where their bodies and spirits are tested to the breaking point. The worst of these camps was run by an officer they called “The Bird” (Takamasa Ishihara) who abused the prisoners regularly, but particularly focused on “Zamp”. Once the Bird is promoted, and sent to another camp, you’d think things would get better, but after an Allied raid, the damage to their camp forces them to another one, of course under the command of the Bird again. This time they are put to work in a coal yard, where the physical and mental strains increase, though the end of the war may be near.
It was a very emotional, uplifting story of the human spirit and human perseverance and one of forgiveness, but my problem was that it just seemed to take too long to deliver that message to the audience. When we learn of Louie’s 47 days adrift in the ocean, it felt like I was watching a 47 day long movie. I realize that the real Louie discovered a lot out about himself and discovered for the first time faith in a higher power, and I get it was really a turning point in his life, but it felt like everything on the screen I had seen in other movies and not that long ago. Life of Pi and All Is Lost and even Kon-Tiki did a fantastic job of showing us the hardships of being adrift and alone at sea, so I thought that this segment could have been sped up significantly. If those other films had come out ten years ago and not been so fresh in my (and presumably others’) memory it might have made more sense to have such a large portion of the film dedicated to it. While the story moved slowly at times, it seemed to advance too quickly. There were really no scenes to show the progression, transitions or changes in motivation. After watching the bonus features, I discovered that Zamperini was indeed a fascinating person, who suffered when he returned from the war, nearly ruining his marriage but found solace and dedicated the rest of his life to helping and inspiring others; unfortunately in the body of the film brings very little substance to his background.
Bottom Line: An Angelina Jolie film without Angelina Jolie in it. Interesting. While I may not have loved this one, she is quite a good director. The shots were all very good, and the actors were guided well, I mainly had problems with the pacing and the overall length of the film.
Posted on 15-03-23, in 3 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged Angelina Jolie, Domhnall Gleeson, Ethan Coen, Jack O'Connell, Joel Coen, Louis Zamperini, Takamasa Ishihara. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.