The reviews are in for Unbroken and the film, directed by Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie, has received a mixed reception from critics ahead of its release on Christmas Day in the US and Boxing Day in the UK.

Jack O'Connell stars in Unbroken as Louis Zamperini.

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Unbroken stars Jack O'Connell as Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini. Based on a true story, Unbroken follows Zamperini's early life as a small time criminal before he is encouraged to channel his energy into running. Zamperini competed for the US in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and even met Hitler personally. 

However, the majority of the film centres on Zamprini's experience during the Second World War. Zamperini became a bombardier when the US declared war on Japan in 1941 and was flying over the Pacific when his plane crashed. He and two other crew members spent 47 days adrift at sea before being picked up by a Japanese ship. He then spent two years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. 

The plot certainly has the makings of a war time classic but have the critics approved of Unbroken? Here's a quick rundown of what they're saying: 

"It's a difficult story to endure." (Sean O'Connell, Cinema Blend)

Zamperini's harrowing experiences and their portrayal have both appealed to some critics, including Cinema Blend's O'Connell, but seemingly disturbed others. There is an element of violence to Unbroken, which is obvious even from the trailer, as the majority of the film focuses on Zamperini's two years in a PoW camp. 

Zamperini came to the attention of one particularly sadistic guard, Mutsuhiro "The Bird" Watanabe (played by Japanese musician Miyavi), and some reviewers have criticised the emphasis on the extent of the brutality conveyed in Unbroken. For instance Mike LaSalle (SF Gate) claimed Jolie "lingers" on the "torments Zamperini suffered". "A good 45 minutes of the movie consists of showing Louis getting beaten up, then healing; getting beaten up, then healing, over and over," LaSalle wrote. 

"For many reviewers, the build-up led to a big breakdown when they finally saw it. Unbroken was just... a movie." (Richard Corliss, TIME)

Unbroken has been one of the most widely anticipated and publicised movies of the year and this may not have necessarily ensured its success with critics. Certainly the more publicity the film generates the more likely it is to do well at the Box Office. However, critics were expecting a film of mythic proportions and Corliss, for one, believes 'the Unbroken needle stops at Impressive and doesn't quite rise to Enthralling'. 

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Jack O'Connell and Angelina Jolie
Jack O'Connell and Angelina Jolie at the London premiere of Unbroken.