Director: Angelina Joli
Cast: Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Mijavi
Genre: Action Drama Sport
Country of Origin: USA 2014 137 mins.
Released by UNIVERSAL PICTURES
'A biopic war drama epic tale of Olympian Louis Zamperini.'
This biopic war drama epic based on Laura Hillenbrand's book follows the larger-than-life story of Olympian long distance runner and war hero Louis 'Louie' Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who with his two fellow crewmen, Phil (Domhnall Gleeson) and Mac (Finn Wittrock) miraculously survived in a raft at sea for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in World War II after their B-24 went down in the Pacific only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to the hell of a prisoner-of-war camp for two years.
Flashbacks to his childhood in Olean, New York with his brother Pete (Alex Russell) coaching Louis on the racetrack, success at the 5000 metres at the 1936 Olympics and meeting Hitler which we don't see, enlisting in the American Air Corps and surviving the indignities and brutality of the prison camp, Angelina Joli ends with the war.
Lavish and powerful, beautifully shot by Roger Deakins and opening with a memorable edge of the seat aerial shot of a bombing run, 'Unbroken' methodically trails Zamperini's extraordinary life story with a stand out performance from Jack O'Connell and the Japanese singer-song writer Mijavi who plays the brutal sadomasochistic camp guard Mutsuhiro 'The Bird' Watanabe with homoerotic overtones who singles out Zamperini for special treatment. He suffers greatly but holding a wooden plank above his head all day defying his captors and referencing christian martydom maybe stretching it a bit too far. With screenplay rewrites by Joel and Ethan Coen after earlier drafts by William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese, surprisingly for such an incredible life, the film lacks dramatic impact being presented as a factual resume that only scratches the surface.