Unbroken

"Excellent"

Unbroken Review


With a true story that's almost hard to believe, this inspiring biographical drama is made with attention to detail and a remarkable resistance to sentiment. And strong acting helps bring the characters to life, even if everything feels a little too carefully staged. But it's the real-life aspect that grabs the attention, and a central figure who's a remarkable example of the indomitable human spirit. The film also marks an auspicious step forward for Angelina Jolie as a director, telling a big story without giving in to the usual sappy moviemaking pitfalls.

Son of Italian immigrants, Louie Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) grew up in 1920s Southern California and by the time he hit his teens is on the way to becoming a criminal. But his brother Pete (Alex Russell) helps him channel his energy to running instead, and his natural skill make him a local champion as well as an American record-holder at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. When the war breaks out, he enlists and serves as a bombardier in the Pacific, surviving a plane crash before later going down at sea and drifting with two colleagues (Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock) for 47 days before being captured by the Japanese. From here he endures a horrific stint in a prisoner of war camp, taunted by the cruel commandant everyone calls The Bird (Miyavi), who takes particular notice of Louie simply because he refuses to break.

Jolie assembles the film as a big-budget epic, with massive set pieces as the plot cycles through several outrageous episodes before settling in on the prison years. Cinematographer Roger Deakins carefully contrasts Louie's sunny California youth with the much starker visit to Nazi Germany and the astoundingly bleak Japanese prison camp, with those endless days baking at sea in the middle. So the film looks terrific, drawing us into each chapter in Louie's story while building a sense of momentum. It's not quite as complex as it looks; Louie's darker moments feel a bit superficial. But O'Connell adds some weight to each scene, offering a kick of emotion as well as the charisma that convinces the men around him to draw inspiration from his tenacity.

The best thing about the film is its quieter moments, as Jolie resists indulging in rah-rah patriotism or soaring violins like most filmmakers would do with the same material. Instead, the camaraderie is conveyed through silent glances, while Alexandre Desplat's score resists manipulating the emotions. And as the script finds moments of gritty humanity and snappy humour along the way, what's most remarkable about the film is how honest Louie's heroism is: this isn't a super-human man with nerves of steel. He's a normal guy that anyone can identify with.

Unbroken Trailer



Unbroken

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 137 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th December 2014

Budget: 65

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Legendary Pictures, 3 Arts Entertainment, Jolie Pas

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Louis Zamperini, Takamasa Ishihara as Mutsuhiro 'The Bird' Watanabe, as John Fitzgerald, as Hugh 'Cup' Cuppernell, as Russel Allen 'Phil' Phillips, as Francis 'Mac' McNamara, as Frank A. Tinker, as Pete Zamperini, as Harry Brooks, as Miller, Sophie Dalah as Virginia, as Young Pete, as Cynthia Applewhite, Sean O'Donnell as Boy(s) (voice), Maddalena Ischiale as Louise Zamperini, as Frank A. Tinker, C.J. Valleroy as Young Louis, Ross Anderson as Blackie, as Anthony Zamperini, as Omori officer, Savannah Lamble as Sylvia Zamperini, Travis Jeffery as Jimmy, James McEnery as Marine at Airbase, Jordan Patrick Smith as Cliff, Stephen Stanton as Berlin Olympics Radio Announcer (voice), Talia Mano as Young Sylvia, as Radio Tokyo Man, Dylan James Watson as Green Hornet Engineer, Hisa Goto as Omori guard, Hiroshi Kasuga as Naoetsu Guard 1, Akira Fujii as Japanese Athlete, Chris Proctor as James, Shinji Ikefuji as Japanese Translator, Brodie Henson as British p.o.w, Michael Whalley as Stanley Pillsbury, Shingo Usami as Corporal Kono, Stefan Mogel as SS Guard, Clay Zamperini as Torch Bearer, Jess Terrell as American POW, Sean-Ryan Petersen as Boy, Ryan Ahern as Mitchell, Toby Fuller as Spike Runner, Conor Fogarty as American POW, Jack Marshall as Bully, Ross Langley as Mitchell, Louis McIntosh as Lt. William Harris, Taki Abe as Radio Tokyo Man, Marcus Vanco as Lambert, Keiichi Enomoto as Omori Guard, Stephen J. Douglas as Clarence Douglas, Taka Uematsu as Kwajalein Guard, Yoji Tatsuta as Naoetsu Guard 2, John Michael Burdon as Man in Stadium, Ben Rossberg as British POW Officer, Sean Edward Frazer as US Officer p.o.w, Yoshinao Aonuma as Kwajalein Guard, James Storer as American P.O.W., Joel Knights as British POW Officer, Kristopher Bos as U.S. Officer P.O.W., Katsu Nojiri as Omori Guard, Matt Hurley as US Officer P.O.W, Shane Leckenby as British POW, Connor Clarke as American P.O.W, Steven Carnuccio as Church Attendee, Matthew Crocker as Australian P.O.W, Connor Zegenhagen as British Soldier, Nicholas Farris as Olympic Race Starter, Sarah Alison as Virginia, Mathew Hislop as Australian POW, Matthew McConnell as American P.O.W, Dougal Walker as British POW, Jack Alcock as American POW, Darren Wyer as Infirmary p.o.w, Andy de Lore as Infirmary POW, Mitch Christen as British POW (uncredited), Matt Clayton as US Enlisted POW (uncredited), Graeme Ford as British P.O.W. (uncredited), Darren Gallagher as Soldier (uncredited), Kent Lee as Olympic spectator / Japanese Olympic team member (uncredited), Beau Paley as American POW (uncredited), Craig Walker as Berlin Olympics Spectator (uncredited)

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