Last updated on March 16th, 2017 at 12:59 am
In a time in which the mainstream film industry is saturated with larger than life superhero films, we get the story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), an olympic athlete and World War II hero. His accomplishments truly are larger than life and are a testament of the capability of the human spirit to remain unbroken despite unfathomable amounts of torture and distress.
Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, her second film as a director, was a beautiful homage to the late Louis Zamperini. His review and “ok” of the film shortly before his passing in July of 2014 were what led me to decide to watch this film. Every detail of the film was ran by him to assess an accurate representation, and this level of attention is always delightful in a biopic.
While the entirety of Louie’s life is inspiring and movie-worthy, the plot of this film solely covered up to the end of the war and his return home. Unfortunately, the amount of plot that was covered was still so much that it did not allow room for proper escalation of character development. This made it feel as though the surface of what this man’s life had to offer was only barely scratched.
It simply wasn’t quite as engrossing as it could have been. There were points that could have been stressed further and explained in greater detail and were instead subtly noted. The sadistic tortures Louie underwent were far too focused on and caused the plot’s advancement to suffer. And while the torture should not have been left out or diminished in importance, its repetitiveness certainly did numb the audience and was not as impactful as it should have been in order to cause a greater emotional response.
Perhaps if the whole story on which this film was based had been recreated, the film would have felt complete. The book by the same name went on to tell of Louie’s life after his return to American soil. Had the film done the same it would have brought his story of redemption and forgiveness to a full circle.
Jack O’Connell, the Irish actor who took on the leading role, was superb. His talent could have been further explored and showcased.
Overall, I believe Jolie’s respect for the story was clearly evident in this well-intentioned film and it made for an assured viewing experience. Unbroken had all the elements of a great epic: incredible story, great actors, beautiful score, melancholic landscapes…but it still fell short and left much more to be desired.