Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Unbroken Review - 2½ Stars

Angelina Jolie approaches “Unbroken” — the Laura Hillenbrand biography of Louie Zamperini —  with reverence.  Her film painstakingly recreate his childhood, his 1936 Olympic experience, and his World War Two adventure, capture, and torture by the Japanese.  Jack O’Connell does a fine job portraying Zamperini.  The Japanese rock singer Miyavi stands in for the POW camp warden determined to break Zamperini’s spirit.  The film captures the feel of the 1930’s and 40’s, but the torture as shown overpowers everything.  Zamperini’s life is an amazing true story that doesn’t transfer well to film. Hillenbrand’s book follows him after the war.  His suffering led to a  religious conversion based on forgiveness.  But the movie glosses over Zamperini’s post war life.   “Unbroken” feels reverent but clunky.  The subtlety and humanity of the man lose out to the shock of watching his torture.  Does it deliver what it promises?  World War Two drama of capture and survival.  Is it entertaining?  Feels long and slow and often hard to watch.  Is it worth the price of admission?    A well intended but mixed result