- RatedPG /GenreBiography, Drama, War
'Unbroken', an adaptation of the book of the same name by Laura Hillenbrand, is the second film directed by Angelina Jolie after 'In the Land of Blood and Honey'.
It tells the extraordinary story of American track star Louis Zamperini's life.
Jack O'Connell plays the Olympic runner who served as a bomber in World War II, surviving 47 days out at sea, only to become a prisoner of war at the hands of the Japanese.
The film is focused on Louis' and his fight to stay alive through his many unfortunate experiences.
“If you can take it, you can make it,” his brother Pete says. Louis clings onto those very words, using it to bring himself through many an ordeal, especially when he is tormented by his chief nemesis, a Japanese corporal, Mutsuhiro "Bird" Watanabe (played by Japanese rocker Miyavi).
Throughout the movie, it's easy to see how Jolie already has a rather deft hand for directing movies.
'Unbroken' is very elegantly shot and has some spectacular sequences. In particular, the film opens with a very thrilling bombing scene.
This film definitely doesn't lack anything in the visual department, with the work of cinematographer Roger Deakins lending the film a bleak yet hopeful colour scheme. It's dark and grimy, as war is.
Yet, the colours of the dawn matter so much more in this movie, symbolic of the themes of hope and determination that are so central to the film.
Also a highlight is Alexander Desplat's score – a pleasant, elegant piece of work that explores the highs and lows of human drive and determination.
Louis Zamperini, played by Jack O'Connell (left) and his fellow airmen, Phil (Domhnall Gleeson) in a scene from 'Unbroken' | Photo: United International Pictures
Technically, the film is very well put together. Where the movie falters, however, is in its presentation of the story.
Even with the great material, the screenplay (interestingly, co-written by the Coen brothers) does not take the viewer anywhere other than within the safe confines of standard prisoner-of-war movie fare. This is not to say that the movie is terrible, but watching a man get tortured repeatedly over the course of two hours, no matter how brutal, can get old really quickly.
In many ways, 'Unbroken' is an excellently made film, but its only flaw is also its biggest flaw.
The amazing story of the lead character could have been explored a lot more, but in this incarnation, it is quite a one-note movie that harps on the value of bravery and persistence a little too much.
'Unbroken' opens 5 February 2015