Reviewed By

Lee Trotman
This was the second World War II movie that I have seen in a week, and to be honest, I didn't really want to see it.  During Christmas, there are always uplifting movies to see, and for some reason, that really wears thin quickly.  Plus, the whole Sony data hack and Angelina Jolie's name being mentioned frequently, etc.  Sometimes actors-turned-directors make a solid first effort, and sometimes you just wish they would stick with their day job.

Fortunately, Jolie's efforts are not wasted, and "Unbroken" is not only watchable, but kind of interesting to boot. Another true story set in World War II (I just finished "The Imitation Game" review) about Louis Zamperini, this movie was not dead set on being uplifting.  In fact, most of the movie demonstrates that Louis has lived a harrowing life, but the only victory has been not getting killed.

Played by Jack O'Connell, Zamperini was an Olympian that served in the war and survived 47 days in a raft with two others after being shot down.  Their rescuers were the Japanese army, and I use the word "rescuers" loosely.  The proverbial out of the frying pan and into the fire ensues, and the sad part was that I don't think his experience was unique.  I used to live in Japan as a kid, and this movie reminded me why Japan is forbidden from ever having a standing army.  This is one movie based on a true story that probably downplays his time in an internment camp just to get a PG-13 rating.
Back to the FCU
Let Lee know how Wrong He Is
Don't Be Square...
Like Totally Twisted Flix!

I can't even call the camp commandant sadistic because his abhorrent behavior was probably par for the course.  And don't forget, you have to compare their behavior to Nazi's, so the feeling that Louis will be killed at every turn dominates the mood, but at the same time EVERYONE is about to be killed.  This type of inurement is very similar to listening to music at 200 decibels; after awhile, you become tone deaf to nuances.  And I think this is what this movie lacks.

I know to save time, the story must focus on the highlights of the story, and yes, there are some quieter moments, but overall the movie is set on level 8 out of 10.  Meaning, the movie glosses over his Olympic athlete days, goes straight into being downed and spending 47 days in a raft, and then years spent in a P.O.W. camp being tortured as "an enemy of Japan."  Before seeing the movie, I had heard that the real Zamperini died this year, so that's kind of a spoiler.  But to spend only a minute or two at most updating the audience at the very end of the movie about what happened to him after the war ended kind of left me cold.  Uplifting this movie is not.

And again, movies about real heroes always destroys your confidence in the karmic justice system.  Watch any WWII  war trials, and you will sadly discover that against overwhelming evidence, war criminals by and large got to live their lives out and die of old age.  I guess our heroes are more forgiving than I could be, so Zamperini's life is inspirational for those that can forgive atrocities at the hands of others.

No spoilers here, I give it 77 points out of 100.  Commendable, but a movie you have seen before in various incarnations, plus a watered-down PG-13 doesn't help.  It lacks the brutality and immorality of finer war movies, plus destroys the illusion that war criminals actually received justice commensurate with their behavior.  Not the fault of Jolie, but to tell a tale such as this, it needs to be a bit more stunning to register on my meter. 
Don't Be Square... Like Totally Twisted Flix!
Real Time Web