Sunday, January 4, 2015


By: Connor Glowacki
The real life Louis Zamperini passed away
last July at age 97.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.
     The release of the American war drama film, Unbroken, was Angelina Jolie's second film that she had ever directed. Based off of Laura Hillenbrand's bestseller novel, Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival, Resilience, And Redemption, Jolie was able to bring the incredible life story of Louis Zamperini to the big screen. Unbroken focuses on Zamperini's troubled childhood, being trained by his older brother to become a runner, competing as a distance runner in the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, Germany, and his terrible experiences as a soldier during World War II.
     While Unbroken does showcase glimpses of Zamperini's childhood and Olympic accomplishments, the majority of the film focuses on Zamperini's experiences during World War II. Mainly when Zamperini's United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator Bomber malfunctions and crashes in the middle of the ocean during a search and rescue operation.
     He and two other survivors from the plane crash drift along the ocean for a whopping 47 days desperately waiting to be rescued. It transitions to Zamperini and the survivors being discovered by Japanese forces and placed in several prisoner of war camps. In these war camps, Zamperini is aggressively tortured by the sadistic Mutsuhiro 'Bird' Watnabe because of his notoriety as an Olympic athlete.
Jack O'Connell portarayed
Zamperini in 'Unbroken'.
Photo Courtesy of IMDB.
     Jack O'Connell was absolutely brilliant in portraying Zamperini. The way that he transformed his physical body from a healthy athlete into a weak and starving prisoner of war, during the filming of Unbroken, is remarkable and it was very easy to witness the various emotional states that O'Connell put into his character.
     Another great acting performance was from Japanese actor Miyavi, who did a great job selling the evil, ruthless personality of Watnabe. It's amazing because Miyavi was originally known as a well-renowned singer-songwriter and guitar player in his native Japan.
     In terms of Jolie's job as the film's director, the incredible life story of Zapmerini and the main underlying theme of outlasting adversity and overcoming all odds were definitely great building blocks to work with.  Unbroken is meant to be a film of inspiration, hence the title.

     While this main theme was consistently stated in various ways throughout the film such as when Zamperini's older brother tells him in the beginning of the film that, "An initial amount of pain is worth a lifetime of glory', it can start to feel cliche and, at times, too similar to other underdog stories. But I can't fault Jolie for this because Unbroken IS the ultimate underdog story. Jolie and the production crew did a solid job at presenting the prison camps and the film's time period with an authentic feel.
'Unbroken' marked Angelina Jolie's
second film as a director.
Photo Courtesy of
     I was disappointed to learn that there were many parts from the book that weren't included in the movie version. Some of those events from the book included events after the war, such as Zamperini suffering from nightmares of the tortures in the prisoner of war camps or how rededicating himself to religion ended up keeping him alive by learning that the only way he could move on from this traumatic period in his life was through forgiveness and not revenge.
     Also left out was the more descriptive attachment that Watanbe had towards Zamperini in the torture camps. It's understandable because the film already ran well over two hours, but those were several key points from the book that could've made the film version even more stimulating. And I would've preferred seeing more of those left out scenes instead of watching Zamperini get physically and mentally tortured in various different ways throughout the film.
     In the end though, Unbroken does it's job at being a film that can not only inspire everyday people to be better, but also as a note for citizens to be way more appreciative, understanding and supportive of all veterans that risk their lives to serve our country. It gives viewers somewhat of a look at how soldiers were treated in these prisoner of war camps, how YOUNG a lot of the soldiers fighting in World War II were, and the physical, mental and emotional abuse that soldiers, like Zamperini, were put under.  
     Unbroken isn't a perfect movie, but it is very good at what it sets out to do and gives the entire world a little more insight into the courageous and inspiring life of Louis Zamperini. And I have to applaud Jolie for doing simply that because his life was a story that was made to be put on a movie screen and it was a story that had to be told.

RATING: 3.5/5

     If you saw Unbroken, what did you think of the film and did Angelina Jolie succeed at telling the story of Louis Zamperini? Leave a comment below or tweet me your comment on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.


  1. Thanks for the detailed review. I hope to see it!!

  2. Sounds like a really good movie!