Unbroken (2014)

Ⓒ 3 Arts Entertainment/Jolie Pas/Legendary Pictures
Ⓒ 3 Arts Entertainment/Jolie Pas/Legendary Pictures

Director: Angelina Jolie Cast: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Takamasa Ishihara

Based on true events, Unbroken tells the story of former Olympian Louis Zamperini, who became a famous name after the 1936 Olympic games only to find himself deployed to Japan during the Second World War. After a plane crash, he and two friends are left to survive on the open ocean for over a month until they are captured by the Japanese, and sent to various internment camps. The story shows the determination of Louis as he is beaten, starved and individually targeted by the nasty Japanese camp leader.

I have to say I didn’t love this film. The story itself is pretty good, but no one can really get credit for that since it’s based on true events. Obviously, this is how it is with biopics- but the way the film was put together didn’t really pull me into the story, and I think all in all it could have been done better. For a start, the film really does drag on. I reckon some bits could have been cut down (especially the length of time they spent on a raft in the middle of the Pacific, clearly not a lot going on there), because towards the end I was checking my watch wondering what time it would be over. One of the scenes I always think of when movies go on for too long is the bit at the end of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when the three of them just stare at each other in the stand-off- there was bit at the end of Unbroken when the camera just keeps panning to people’s expressions. 45 seconds of my life I’ll never get back.

The other main gripe I had with this was the way the timeline was organised. The film starts in roughly the middle of the story, before the plane crash but after Louis has become famous doing his Olympic thang. So it has a few flashbacks, explaining who Louis is etc etc, which kind of make sense. But then we run out of things to flash back to, and from then on the film is linear. I feel like if flashbacks are going to be a thing, at least make it flash-back type movie, rather than just kind of leaving it there, you know?

So to sum up, not a great film but the storyline just about saves it, given that it’s pretty spectacular to think that it all happened to a real person. I just think the actual production of the film was not really up to scratch, and I probably wouldn’t recommend it unless there are literally no other options.

2 stars

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