Directed by Angelina Jolie.
Starring Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Miyavi, Jai Courtney, Alex Russell, Finn Wittrock, Garrett Hedlund and Luke Treadaway.
The true and inspiring story of Louie Zamperini, Olympic athlete and WWII vet who survived air raids, 45 days in open sea with no food or water, and two years in Japanese POW camps under torturous conditions.
Louis Zamperini may have bee an inspirational poster boy for never giving up against all odds and keeping the human spirit alive, but Angelina Jolie’s adaptation of his true-story is one that cannot deliver justice to the actual happenings. It’s a shame too because it is evident that Louis lived a life full of excitement and hardships, from Olympic running to surviving brutal torture in a Japanese POW camp. In Unbroken however, all of these periods of his life come across as a blur poorly edited together, never really emotionally connecting with the viewer.
There are two fatal flaws within the film; the first being that it is again just a bunch of scenes that are horribly strung together, and by extension it also comes across as one of the most boring films of the year. Simply put, it lacks direction and suffers greatly because of it. To put this in perspective, Unbroken opens up with a dogfight action sequence – which by the way is awfully choreographed to the point where you can never tell what is actually happening – and then flashes back to scenes that smash together years of Louis’ life and introduction to running into a span of 30 minutes. It then flashes forward back to the war.
None of the parts come together to create a cohesive unit, and half the time it feels like you are just watching pages put to a screen. Unbroken at times doesn’t even really tell a story, but is rather just glimpses of what was in actuality an extraordinary story of triumph, yet in this film is painstakingly boring and monotonous. For example, the stretch of the film were Louis and his comrades are stranded on lifeboats feel like they go on for an eternity and cannot muster up a single compelling moment. It doesn’t help that none of the characters have any real chemistry together or are interesting, and that most of the scenes are compromised of ridiculous moments like beating up a shark with paddles.
Thankfully, Unbroken does fair a little better when Louis does get to the internment camp and is endlessly tortured by a ruthless leader, but that too becomes incredibly boring once you realize that the villain has no motive, and that you are watching the same thing over and over again. Unbroken goes out of its way to show that Louis Zamperini survived a hell of a lot, but has horrible execution and never really makes true on its point to showcase just how strong the human spirit can be, save for one scene towards the end.
Furthermore, it’s just a very bland Oscar baity film in general, featuring some of the most over exaggerated and cheesy inspirational music in a while. Everything about Unbroken feels manufactured to appease Academy Awards voters, but that isn’t going to happen because the film is quite frankly horrible. Truthfully its only upsides are the acting performances from Jack O’Connell who does a great job expressing his prolonged pain and determination to fight through every obstacle put in his path, and the production sets which create a believable atmosphere for a POW camp.
Despite that, Unbroken is one messy film that is poorly edited, a collage of scenes that never really come together as a whole, and an overly long repetitive pile of boredom that will fill you with happiness when it’s over. Louis Zamperini sounded like an amazing man so it’s heartbreaking that this is what came out of depicting his life. He deserves a story put together on-screen by a much more competent team of filmmakers.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. He currently writes for Flickering Myth, We Got This Covered, and Wrestle Enigma. Follow me on Twitter.