What’s it about?
Unbroken follows the life of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, from running at the 1936 Olympic games at Berlin to being interned at a Japanese prison camp during World War 2.
What did we think?
Unbroken opens strong with a thrilling dogfight. The speed of the plane, the sudden sprays of bullets and the massive drop to the ocean below are almost palpable. It’s a shame that the rest of the film doesn’t follow this lead. Hamstrung by an uninspired script (despite being co-written by the Coen Brothers) director Angelina Jolie focuses on Zamperini’s physical torment, namely his being punched in the head many, many times. It makes for a grueling film that fails to reward the viewer. Any attempt at exploring Zamperini’s internal life or the moral complexities of war are studiously avoided. The prison warden, for example, is an offensive cliché of the inscrutable and effeminate Asian man. Unbroken may be Jolie’s love song to Zamperini, who died this year, but in its reluctance to describe the mental and spiritual tolls of war, the film’s messages about self-belief and forgiveness lack impact.