Monday, February 23, 2015


Year: 2014
Director: Angelina Jolie
Cast: Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Takamasa Ishihara, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney

Plot: The true story of Louis Zamperini, a former US Olympic athlete and military bombardier who survived 47 days on a raft in the ocean after a plane crash, only to be captured by the Japanese during WWII.

Review: Being the humanitarian that she is, a story like Unbroken is pretty much expected to be right up Angelina Jolie's alley. In fact, it's no secret that this film is her pet project.

Unbroken tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, a US bombardier who survived on a raft in the ocean with two other crewmates for 47 days, only to be captured by the Japanese and sent to a POW camp, where he was tortured by an officer nicknamed 'The Bird'. The film also explores Louis' troubled childhood, until his brother finally convinced him to be a track runner, which led him to the Olympics in Berlin.

For the most part, Jolie's direction is steady. She sort of divides the film into three sections: Louis' childhood and training for the Olympics, his ordeal at sea and his time at the POW camp, with flashbacks here and there. Each section is well handled and near seamlessly put together to tell his story thoroughly. I thought that his experience at sea was the best part of the three.

The cast themselves put in competent performances overall, with Jack O'Connell and Takamasa Ishihara aka Miyavi standing out the most as Louis and The Bird respectively. O'Connell is capable enough to display the right emotions while telling Louis' harrowing experience at sea and at the camp, with Miyavi doing an equally good job being sadistic and cruel in the shoes of The Bird.

However, despite all that, the film doesn't quite say enough about the man. Jolie and her cast do all they can, but they can't quite tell the audience what makes the man tick. They also can't tell the audience exactly why The Bird loves picking on Louis at the camp. Jolie keeps the man beyond an arm's length from the audience, and thus we're only scratching the surface on the man's true story here. It's a great story for sure, but not very comprehensive on the man behind that story. His real motivations remain hollow to me, at least as far as this film is concerned.

As far as being an incredible true story goes, Unbroken hits most of the right notes, but it needs more meat in that story to really stand out. (7/10)

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...