Unbroken (2014) Mini Review

unbroken

This is my last film of 2014 and I saw it earlier today to make sure I had covered everything I wanted to before finalising my top ten lists and handing out my awards.  I was really looking forward to this film on the basis of the trailer and what I understood about the story.  Unbroken tells the story of the real life war time experiences of a bombardier Louie Zamperini (played by Jack O’Connell) who served in the US Air Force.  We see his early life as a son of Italian immigrants struggling with prejudice before turning his life around through athletics and appearing in the Olympics.  His plans to race in Tokyo are put on hold due to World War II and ‘ironically’ he finds himself a captive of the Japanese.

Mr Zamperini has clearly had one hell of a life but I don’t think this film was the best celebration of it.  He faced great obstacles and inhumanity in his life which he overcame (hence the title) but there is something missing.  This could and should have been an Oscar contender but it won’t be troubling any of the Academy voters.  I think the problem is that Angelina Jolie fell in love with the story too much and was so intent in recording the main characters life she failed to provide a film with any drive or conviction.  What was she trying to say about this heroes experiences?

I would like to have known a little more about his childhood and what happened after the war as Mr Zamperini reconciled with some of his captors.  We never truly understand the full motivations of the main Japanese antagonist, Corporal Wanatabe (Takamasa Ishihara), and there is little tension between the two of them.  My comments to date make it seem like I am really hating on this movie but I don’t.  I recommend going to see it to understand how easy we have it and what true hardship is.  I think I am so upset because I wanted it to be so much more.  There is an exciting film, or films, to me made from the material.  Must try harder.

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