Inspirational and true-to-life, “Unbroken” depicts the story of Louie Zamperini and reflects the power of the human spirit and the value of never giving up.
“Unbroken” is a true story about Louie Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) and his journey towards being an Olympic runner and surviving the war as a US Air Force soldier. Set during WWII, Zamperini grew up being bullied by other kids, which leads him to be misunderstood by his Italian parents played by Vincenzo Amato and Maddalena Ischiale.
It was Pete, Louie’s brother (played by John D’Leo and Alex Russell in different ages), who noticed his unbelievable talent and speed and encouraged him to train harder. Not long after, Louie was named as “The Tornado of Torrance,” gaining the admiration and respect of the people and his parents.
On May 27, 1943, Louie, together with pilot Phil (Domnhall Gleeson) and Mac (Finn Wittrock) got stranded at sea for weeks after receiving a series of vicious fires from the enemy, which causes their plane to crash into the Pacific. Mac expires, while Louie and Phil struggle to survive until they wake up with a Japanese warship in front of their eyes and get captured.
Louie faces the sadistic camp commander Wantanabe “The Bird” (played by Miyavi) and gets hit several times as he continuously refuses to follow the commander’s instructions. He then gets transferred to another camp, which becomes Louie’s breaking point.
“Unbroken” is Angelina Jolie’s second outing as a director, together with Matthew Baer, Clayton Townsend, and Erwin Stoff. It’s a true-story adaptation of the best-selling biography by Laura Hillenbrand.
“A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory,” Louie’s brother tells him. “Unbroken” pretty much revolves around the theme of not giving up in the face of adversities in life.
The scene wherein Louie, Phil and Mac get stranded in rafts resembles that of the movie “Life of Pi.” This half-hour scene shows their efforts and struggles to survive; yet when compared with the book’s version of the men’s agony, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter describes the movie’s portrayal of the scene as “a little slack during this central stretch.”
Some parts of the book were skipped out in the movie — parts wherein Zamperini suffered from dysentery, but if there’s one thing that the movie never failed to convey is the character’s strength and courage to never give up. “Jack O’Connell is a pleasure to watch,” says Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter.
Miyavi has played the role of Wantanabe fairly well, although it would have been great to see more of the dread and torture he imparts on Louie.
Justin Chang of Variety describes the film as, “an extraordinary story told in dutiful, unexceptional terms, the passionate commitment of all involved rarely achieving gut-level impact.”
“Unbroken” is getting mixed reviews from critics with an average rating of 56 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer.
That’s it for our review on “Unbroken.” Stay tuned on Movie News Guide (MNG) for more reviews and updates.
Director: Angelina Jolie
Screenwriters: Richard LaGravenese, Ethan Cohen, Joel Coen
Cast: Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Miyavi, Alex Russell, Finn Wittrock, Garrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney, Ross Anderson, John Magaro
Runtime: 137 min.
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons/Eva Rinaldi