WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Based on a true story, director Angeline Jolie gets behind the camera to tell us about Louis Zamperini’s unwavering spirit as he endures the harshest treatment as a prisoner of war during World War 2. Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) grows from a young and weak Italian-American boy in Torrance, California to an Olympic runner and record holder. He quickly joins the US Army Air Forces during the second World War, and his bomber crashes into the sea, killing all crew members besides him and Russell Phillips (Domhnall Gleeson). The two are captured by Japanese soldiers and taken to a prisoner of war camp with countless other American and British soldiers. There, Zamperini’s high profile status as an Olympian makes him a personal target of camp commander “Bird” Watanabe (Takamasa Ishihara) who ruthlessly punishes him. But the spirit of an Olympian is not easily broken, and Zamperini is determined that if he can “take it”, he can “make it”.
WHY SKIP IT: As talented an actress is Angelina Jolie, she has not yet made a name for herself as a director, and Unbroken is certainly not going to help her get there. In fact, it is a step backwards. Unbroken has inspiring source material and a decent cast to work with; with Steven Spielberg or Clint Eastwood at the helm, it could have easily been a Best Picture Oscar contender. But the movie’s execution is so terrible that it is downright boring. It has some of the most anti-climactic race scenes and unemotional torture scenes you will see on screen. The way Unbroken is shot and pieced together destroys the movie so much that even a greater script would not have saved the film. The result is uninteresting and uninspiring, and this is such a shame when one considers what a movie about Louis Zamperini’s extraordinary life could have been like.
WHY WATCH IT: Truth be told, no one should pay to watch Unbroken. It is neither an inspiring drama nor a feel-good movie (obviously), so there really is no reason to watch it. If we are to be harsh, perhaps film students should watch Unbroken to take note of things one should never do when making a movie.
Rating: 2.0/5 (TALK-o-meter: “That’s a thumbs down, Gladiator-style.”)