Skip to main content

Unbroken (2014): Jack O'Connell, Takamasa Ishihara, Domhall Gleeson,Finn Wittrock

 

"If you can take it, you can make it."

Louis Zamperini (1917 - 2014)


Unbroken is based on the true story of Louis Zamperini,  an Olympian track runner, WWII bombardier, who overcame the horrors of war, was an alcoholic, family man and a spokesperson that lived an extraordinary life.   This mesmerizing tale is about an incorrigible youth who channeled defiance into running and became a track star in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.  A month later as a B-24 bombardier in WWII, Zamperini finds himself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a raft without food for 47 days with sharks circling only then to become a prisoner of war (POW) in a Tokyo, Japan and thus the saga unfolds.  

 

Jack O'Donnell - Louis Zamperini


    
     

        


    

The movie opens promisingly "Spielberg-like" with Zamperini, Jack O'Connell, as a bombardier fighting the Japanese in a harrowing airshow of planes and bullets.  Phil, Domhall Gleeson, is a pilot flying the plane over Japanese territory.  The flashbacks to Zamperini's childhood sets the tone of the film with scenes of a troubled teen and brother Pete, Alex Russell, encouraging Louis to take up running and track.  The mantra, "If you can take it, you can make it" becomes a lifelong mantra that is carried out during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany and now in the sky over the Pacific Ocean.  Eventually, the plane lands only to be sent up again on a futile rescue mission that ends with the crew crashing into the ocean.   In two lifeboats, Phil, Louis and Mac, Finn Wittrock,  remain struggling to survive for 47 days, only to be rescued and escorted to a Japanese prison-camp with a sadistic commander Watanabe, (Japanese pop star Miyavi) at the helm creating unrelenting evil.  

    


    

Angelina Jolie, director, carefully crafted the filming of the movie with a keen eye on detail from the sky, to the ocean and ending with the brutality of the prison camps. The flashbacks provide a glimpse of young Zamperini who was fearless, unruly, lawless and determined. The film is visually stunning with the sharks circling the boat, special effects, stylized shoots from different angles to the subtle references of God throughout the film.  Additionally, an optimistic theme of survival is interlaced throughout every scene. When the men are first in the lifeboat, Mac exclaims, "We are all going to die!".  Louis and Phil instead have an optimistic view and refuse to give into defeat or hold onto negativity.  No whining or moaning were in these born fighters thoughts or vocabulary.    Louis makes a pack with God and is on a mission to survive no matter the cost.  Jolie also paints for the audience that Zamperini was part of a collective team and not out for himself.  For instance,  when Mac had eaten all the chocolate on the lifeboat, Louis forgives him and when Mac is on his last legs, Louis gives him the last piece of chocolate.  Or at the Japanese war camp, when Louis is brutally beaten by all of his peers in order to save one man, the audience understands that Zamperini took a sadistic beating for good of the whole, saving one man from brutal pain rather than saving himself.  Conversely, Watanabe, was self absorbed, self focused, wartime cruel and obsessed on breaking the mentally tough Zamperini.   Watanabe deep down understood that Zamperini embodied everything he was not.


        



    


Jolie hits strong notes of compassion, a collective collaboration of humankind and portrays the inspirational spirit of Zamperini with gusto.   What is lacking in the film is thorough character and story development.  Questions arise as to why Zamperini was so positive?  Was it genetics?  What made him so special? Was it family origin where the Italian Zamperini family desperately wanted to fit it? Did this spur Zamperini on to survive no matter what?  More importantly, after the war when drugs and alcohol almost cost Zamperini's his marriage, what saved him?  Of course, the book builds upon (not the movie) Zamperini's strong faith in God and finding religion after the war through a Billy Graham revival.  The movie could have taken a deeper turn and perhaps focused on the aftermath where Zamperini grows and finds forgiveness and reconciliation.  However, the film is  about Zamperini's childhood and the horrors of surviving the war.  The remainder of Zamperini's life is encapsulated in real life photos and words.  

O'Connell, is brilliant as Zamperini, and should have been nominated for a Golden Globe.   Ishihara, also is mesmerizing as "The Bird".    The chemistry between these two actors was well played.  Jolie, director, and friend of Zamperini's, captured the essence of Zamperini's wartime experiences but misses an overall satisfying finale.  The film is moving, stunning, violent and an adventure drama where suffering is the central theme versus heroism.    It just seemed a bit lacking that the best part of Zamperini's life was not examined.  Perhaps this alludes to a second film or perhaps since Louis Zamperini, who passed away this summer at age 97 lived such an extraordinary life that it was impossible to encapsulate a rich, vibrant and almost unbelievable tale into 2 1/2 hours.  Either way, Jolie, is definitely on the right path of becoming a great storyteller and filmmaker.  And, O'Connell, British, is the new and rising star in Hollywood.



    


    

    


"Perseverance is important to everybody."
"Don't give up."
"Don't give in."
"There is always an answer to everything."


 

Louis Zamperini (1917 - 2014)

 

Comments

Popular Posts - Last 30 Days

Office Space - Kate Spade

This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Spice it up for Spring Do you ever wonder why some people exude self-confidence?  Or why they walk into a room and sparkle?  Perhaps the self assured set the stage at the beginning and end of each day? Do you remember that life is an adventure, a new challenge and  opportunity to spread wings and soar?  Have you seen Caddyshack (1980) and do you recall the line "Be the ball" ?   In 2016 be the ball and begin with the right footprint at home, at work or even in your car.   The office or work environment with a savvy work space will definitely add focus and positive energy.   Which designer has cornered the market on fun, zip and zing desk accessories? Drum roll please:   Kate Spade of course.  And, what other office tips and tricks make the art of creation more enjoyable and promote daily self-confidence?  Let's begin with these five Forever Chic Style

Classic Coach for Fall

  Summer Ending "We cannot direct the wind. But we can adjust the sails." Aristotle Summer is winding down as the weather cools, leaves are turning into glorious hues and breathtaking flowers are slowly wilting.  You can feel the shift in the air. Embrace the pending change with anticipation for pumpkins, colors of red, gold and yellow, falling temperatures, spider webs and the end of summertime.  Once again, we long for cozy sweaters, boots, coats, scarves and apparel designated for a fall landscape. Additionally, we are gearing up again for another roller coaster autumn.  Many events, trips, world upsets, work environments and basic daily life is shifting with uncertainty.  Of course, we cannot predict the future, yet Covid remains intact.  Hopefully more will become vaccinated, which in turn, helps end the present and immediate crisis.  The virus will become endemic with perhaps less fear and instead similar to the annual flu vaccines. To put this is perspective, the Spani

Kendra Scott - Jewels

"A Girls Best Friend"  Jewelry is equated to icing on a cake or a finale to a play or the ending of a scintillating novel. In other words, an outfit is just not complete without a dab of bling.   Whether wearing jeans, sporting work out gear, getting ready for work, an evening out or absolutely anything, a bauble of jewels is a necessity.  Or course, it is a juggling act because too many jewels makes one appear a bit desperate for attention.  You know the person, they walk into a room and everything from head to toe is sparkling and wiggling so that all is seen are the multitudes of  jewels rather than them.  The well dressed are always sporting minimal jewels.  Check out Golden Globes 75th - Fashion Highlights   for ideas from the red carpet.   The right amount is essential. Just what is the right amount?  Well, here are a few Forever Chic Style  rules at your fingertips: Basic Rules:  Wear either real or faux jewelry.    Engagement ring is always real an

Pink Obsession

Pretty in Pink 2019 Are you obsessed with the hue pink?  In 2018 and now in 2019, I am enthralled with the color pink.  My list extends from from pink flats, pink jackets, pink tops and rosy pink lipsticks though I am still fixated on red.  The message this Spring is to cloak yourself in a beautiful shade of pink.  The actual hue of pink conjures success, nice, romantic, approachable, feminine, bubble gum, cotton candy and a love for self and others.  Do you have your pink on?  Here are few favorites to set the stage for Spring 2019.  Strike a Pink Pose A pink coat is flattering and pretty all at once on the owner.   Here are a few that fit the bill. The Trench Moon River Draped Trench Coat Something Navy Easy Oversize Pink Trench Burberry Kensington Hooded Trench  The Classic Coat Something Navy Patch Pocket Coat Dolce & Gabbana Wool Coat The Joyous Jean  AG The Prima Ankle Cigarett