Unbroken (2014) Poster

(I) (2014)

User Reviews

Review this title
394 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
8/10
A good introduction to the book
I never compare books and movies, but one thing the book has over the movie was the distinct unpreparedness we had for war. The planes were flying deathtraps, and the supplies were totally inadequate.

Angelina Jolie had to make decisions about what to include and exclude in a two-hour film, so we missed a lot of important information that was in the book. No matter, the film itself was well worth watching. Not a great film, but entertaining.

If you want to be shocked and angered at the aircraft manufacturers, the military that failed to supply the troops ( where have we heard that before?), and the absolute barbarity of the Japanese in their prison camps, buy the book.

Come to think about it, watching the film will help you appreciate the book so much more.
20 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Fabulous story, and troubling, but also weirdly bland, despite first rate filming...
secondtake10 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Unbroken (2014)

Heartbreaking, inspiring true story, told and directed in straight up high quality realism. There is some true intensity in the fighting scenes, in the survival scenes on the raft, and in the prison camp with its torture and hardship. And this is balanced by determination and hope.

If that sounds generic, in a way that fits—the movie follows some tried and true formulas. The beginning has us with the hero, Louis Zamperini (played by Jack O'Connell), in a big bomber heading for some targets against Japan in WWII. As trouble begins, leading to the crash which makes up the real start of the movie, we also get flashbacks to his simple Italian-American childhood. This is effective, but it's sentimental stuff. And it lets you know the kind of wholesome intentions of the movie.

There is a lot going on here, in three main sections: running, surviving on a raft, and the prison camps. That Zamperini suffers and endures is the point of the film, and in that way the narrative is very straight forward. There are villains and buddies. The skies rain bombs and the sea is full of sharks. Some people are merciless, and others kind. But in the middle, through every turn and travail, is Zamperini. "If you can take it, you can make it," is a mantra in the film, and that's the message.

The direction and photography were first rate…very subtle in a spectacular way (or vice versa). It's a truly fine film, and director Angelina Jolie (in her second feature, after a terrible first try) does a really good job. The story, co-written by the Coen brothers and others, based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand, is a great bit of history, quite sensational stuff.

So why did we leave the movie feeling just so-so about it all? I'm not sure how to nicely say this, but it's really a good story, well told, lacking some quality of surprise or depth it really needs to rise above. As amazing as the photography and editing (and so on) are, it's all in service to a fairly ordinary kind of story. Not that this man's life is ordinary at all, but the way it develops and is told is oddly routine, as narrative storytelling.

Good stuff, for sure. It's a bit hard to take sometimes for its brutality--there is a lot of graphic, personal violence--and the Japanese camps are portrayed as truly cruel (which many in Japan object to). But it's an impressive movie in many ways.
45 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Unbroken
christopherhitchcock234 February 2015
I cannot understand the negative reviews of this movie ,are the themes of bravery,endurance and forgiveness outdated?It is well known that the regeime of Japanese prison camps was cruel to say the least.The acting of the lead players was faultless proving again that British and Irish actors can play the roles of Americans.I found the movie moving, inspirational. Yes it was violent but not gratious. Ms Jolie is to be congratulated on her directing. One question did the leads fast for their roles or was CGI used to give the impression of their skeletal frames.The ariel dog fights did use use computer enhancement as did the plane crash.I found this movie much more watchable than the much praised"American Sniper"
93 out of 131 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Little / No Character Motivation or Progression
brentn328 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
!May contain Spoilers!

This movie does little beyond telling the story of Louis Zamperini - and it does so with a lot of missing details, no character growth, and contains little else than drawn out scenes of suffering.

The movie is very similar to The Passion of the Christ in that the film shows little progression except when the main character is shown suffering in some way. The characters shown in the movie, Louis and "The Bird" being chief among them, have little to no backgrounds, motivations, or growth / story arcs.

Louis is shown first as a troublesome child, then a youth learning to run, then an Olympian, and finally a soldier; between these scenes, however, there is no transition, no story about him deciding to go for the Olympics, and no story on whether he was drafted or voluntarily signed up to be a soldier. This results in the movie being very oddly paced and Louis having little substance to his background.

Louis, while suffering in the Japanese prison camp, is never shown thinking "I can't do this" or progressing to the point that he determines "I will make it out alive no matter what." He is simply tortured, repeatedly beaten and humiliated, and finally the war simply ends.

Strangely enough, no other prisoners or "extras" are shown being killed / executed at the camp, which does little to help show the brutality of their conditions.

Finally, the movie ends with written paragraphs on-screen which detail his life back in the US and how he forgave his captors. One of the biggest rules of film is to "show them, not tell them," and considering that the written part of the story at the end contains more interesting parts of his life than most the movie, it seems the film was barely able to "show us" as well.

The source material for the movie; Louis's story, is extraordinary and exciting, its unfortunate that the movie does very little to give it justice.
117 out of 174 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Where is the rest of the story?!
juliecharbanic26 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
***May Contain Spoilers*** The story of Louis Zamperini is only half told in Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken." After watching a screening of this film I did a little internet research on Mr. Zamperini and found that his life post-war, in my opinion, was equally emotional, meaningful and film worthy as his POW years. This film, while beautifully shot, lacked the true depth of Zamperini's life. In the beginning of the film, Angelina Jolie goes overboard in showing the viewer his early life and his Olympic journey. Next up are the war years and POW torture. The End. In addition to not feeling anything toward Zamperini's chief brutalizer, the torture scenes were way too long. After a few scenes viewers will get the point that this man went through Hell. What happens after the war is where the real story begins and where "Unbroken" stops. Louis Zamperini's struggles continued for quite some time until he found God. This new journey took him back to Japan where he sought out his captors and forgave them. However, his nemesis, the Bird, did not want to meet him...but Zamperini tried. I would have liked to see more of Zamperini's post-war PTSD struggle as this is such a relevant topic today, culminating with his will to forgive which ultimately saved him. For those who are only interested in Zamperini as an Olympian and POW, then you will appreciate this film. I found this film failed to address the full life of Louis Zamperini and felt his wikipedia entry would have been a better guide for Jolie.
108 out of 161 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Incredible story, horrible screen adaptation
bison_burger2 January 2015
Louis Zamperini's story of survival was robbed of all feeling and emotion in this screen portrayal. Jolie has cast a very flat, laconic, and unconvincing crew of young Abercrombie models who lack the depth of seasoned actors who would have otherwise convinced us that there was actual pain and suffering throughout this. After a month afloat on a raft the three men's hair was well-groomed and one even had a goatee (are there razors in the survival kit?). I felt like I was watching Casper Van Dien in Starship Troopers; if you have seen this movie you will know exactly what I am taking about. Read the book - it will give you the emotion and satisfaction you are entitled to from this survival story.
231 out of 366 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A story to admire
paul_3-960-89677419 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
When I first heard about this film, I got really excited about the story but the mix reviews had me walking into the theater ready to nitpick.

Some people might not agree with me but the film was masterfully directed. It showcases the war, in all its aspects battles, death, starvation, and torture without inflaming the audience. I've seen documentaries that left me wanting vengeance for the oppressed. Unbroken is about Louie's forgiveness, his resilience despite what was done to him and the film does just that. It's sturdy and infused with darkness, shows the gruesome and the brutality but it does not make you angry, hopping for Japan to burn for what they did to him. On the contrary you hope for Louie to stand strong and stick it out.

Watching the movie there's an implied understanding for both sides, you won't like that Louie's brutalized and mentally tortured but at the same time you're not hating the guys brutalizing him. It helps to know how it'll end, which also explains the lack of emotional involvement, but it's about Louie during WWII. Louie is not depicted as a victim but as a person. I know the general consensus would be to almost break him down in order to build him back up but that would have been like blowing things up like a Michael Bay movie.

The performances throughout the cast was good, Angelina Jolie got the what she needed from the cast to tell this story in this particular way. The pace of the film fits to the story, the rhythm matches its narrative structure because it all flows together, it kind of sucks you in and bring you along for the ride. The side stories flows well in the overall narrative structure of the film. It's very easy to watch with its amazing array of beautiful colors and shots. There is a lot of potential in Angelina Jolie as a director.

Unbroken is a beautiful movie all around, the shots are mesmerizing, even the CGI ones, and the cast is on point. The story is inspiring and feels real. It's a big studio movie but it manages to feel intimate like an indie.

Tweet me @wornoutspines
22 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Not as bad as they are all saying
patbradley43525 January 2015
Okay, I've read Hilenbrand's book, which is simply riveting. Louis Zamperini's story is almost unbelievable and the movie cannot possibly do it justice in just over two hours. This could easily have stretched to four hours, but today's cinema-going public haven't got that kind of patience. The film is well done and I was certainly thoroughly entertained by it, knowing in advance it would never be as good as the book, but it certainly didn't leave me cold, demanding my ticket price back. Just watch this for the good movie that it is. Yes it could have been better, but it's a very good attempt by Jolie at the book. I just cannot understand why so many people have given it bad reviews. IMDb puzzles me greatly at times, especially when some awful movies get glowing reviews. Is there some sinister network of people out to sabotage certain movies? I really don't know. This is a very decent movie and Jolie should be proud of it.
39 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
What a waste of a good story.
sarahehallmark25 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot begin to list all the things wrong with this movie. Granted the acting was very good, however, it was the longest 2 hours of my life. I kept waiting for something 'good' to happen and it never did. I believe this could have been a wonderful American story, but was nothing short of a huge let down. Really disappointed in how much this movie was hyped up. Painfully slow, and felt like two hours of literal purgatory. I am sure that his true story was much better and could have emphasized what his family was going through at the same time. Or possible they could have shown what the news had reported about him, and what the airforce was doing to look for him. Wish I could erase this one from my memory. The worst part is I feel this man was done a real disservice to his memory and honor.
139 out of 228 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A True Story of Courage
claudio_carvalho6 January 2016
During the World War II, the bombardier Louis "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) and the pilot Phil (Domhnall Gleeson) are assigned in a rescue mission in an old plane immediately after a successful bombing mission. Soon two engines blow up and the plane crashes in the sea, and only Louie, Phil and Mac (Finn Wittrock) survive. Louie is a former Olympian from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and stubborn since he was a kid, and he encourages his mates. After a month on the sea surviving in two rafts, Mac dies. A couple of weeks later, they are captured by the Japanese marines and sent to a P.O.W. camp in Tokyo. The commander Watanabe (Takamasa Ishihara) is a sadistic and frustrated man and treats Louis with cruelty since he was Olympian. But Louis is hardheaded and brave and is not broken by Watanabe, resisting his torture and inspiring his mates in the camp.

"Unbroken" is a film directed by Angeline Jolie based on the impressive true story of the former Olympian Louis "Louie" Zamperini. The story is engaging and the screenplay is well written, showing the personality of Louie through flashbacks. The reconstitution of the period is also excellent. However, there is lack of emotion and the film does not touch the heart of the viewer. The only feeling inspired by this film is anger and hatred towards Watanabe. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Invencível" ("Invincible")
13 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
It's Fine
rockslideproductions13 December 2014
Just came out of a pre-release screening. It was fine. Above all, the word I would use would be "safe". It was a movie created not to fail, and it doesn't. Watching it is a reasonable way to spend 2 and a half hours. A bunch of bad stuff happens to Zamperini, he survives it in an inspiring way, the end.

IMDb movie reviews have to be 10 lines, but Unbroken doesn't really deserve it. There's more to be said about Zamperini the person than the film itself. It was narratively predictable, but that's forgivable given the nature of the film. The problem is it was visually predictable too. If someone were to right a textbook on how to make an inspiring movie, they could dryly and apathetically describe this movie shot for shot. So...hoorah I guess. It was fine.
173 out of 313 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A triumph of the Human Spirit: Endurance and Perseverance
romanorum131 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Unbroken" is based on the excellent award-winning inspirational book (2010) by Laura Hillebrand, who has an eye for detail and description. It is a biography of the exciting life of Louis Silvie Zamperini of Torrance, California. This review includes several details that were omitted in the movie, included to clarify certain situations.

Louis Zamperini (C.J. Valleroy as young Louie, Jack O'Connell in the title role) was restless and incorrigible as a Californian youth. Bullied, he was a juvenile delinquent. His older brother Pete (John D'Leo, Alex Russell), however, began to take more interest in him and became his mentor when Louie decided to run track. Pete rode his bike as Louie ran alongside him; later he ran far ahead. By high school Louie was setting state and national records: "The Torrance Tornado" became the fastest high school runner in US history. At age 19 he was already in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games even though his body was still too young (undeveloped) to win a medal. Nevertheless he surprised even Hitler when he ran the fastest last lap of the 5,000-meter race in 56 seconds. Although robbed of his chance to break a world track record and run an under four-minute mile at the now-canceled 1940 Olympics, Louie continues to train in the vain hope that war will end by 1944, the next scheduled games.

At film's beginning Louie is a flight lieutenant, a World War II bombardier on a B-24 Liberator that has just completed a successful raid on the Japanese-held island of Nauru in the south Pacific (1943). Although the airplane is shot up and crew members are wounded, the crew limps back successfully to base at Funafuti (now Tuvalu). The next mission involves rescuing a downed B-24 crew near the island of Palmyra. But Louie's crew is given "The Green Hornet," an airplane that was not really fly-worthy. Sure enough an engine fails at an inopportune time and the plane has to be ditched over the vast Pacific Ocean (27 May 1943). There was no bail out because of the notorious shark-infested waters. Three of eleven crew members survive (Louie, Phil, Mac); they occupy two rubber rafts lashed together. One of them, friend Allen "Phil" Phillip (Domhnall Gleason) has a head wound. The scenes involving the albatross and sharks are as described in the book. Sharks constantly ran their bodies and fins along the raft bottom; the men could feel them (Yikes!). The book describes how more than one of the smaller sharks actually leaped onto the raft; a timely oar saved Louie's head. Then a twenty-foot long Great White slammed against the raft bottom, sending three men into the air. Luckily they landed atop the raft. Francis McNamara ("Mac," Finn Wittrock) eats all of the rationed chocolate, the only food. Eventually catatonic, he expires. In violation of the Geneva Convention, a Japanese Zero strafes them. After a record 47 harrowing days of thirst and starvation at sea on rubber rafts, the two survivors receive both good and bad news: they are rescued by the enemy.

After interrogation at notorious Kwajalein, where prisoners were previously executed, Louie and Phil are eventually sent first to Ofuna Prisoner of War (POW) camp, then Omori in Tokyo Bay. Right away Louie is targeted by sadistic Japanese Corporal Watanabe ("The Bird," Takamasa Ishiara), who constantly beats him unmercifully. Although the Geneva Convention excludes officers from work details, many are forced into labor. Not working meant that one-half of the already meager rations were cut. Getting enough food to avoid starvation was problematic because of pilferage. Foods allocated for prisoners were stolen by both Japanese military and civilians and sold on the black market. Although Red Cross relief packages had been sent to the POWs, they too were confiscated. To avoid starvation, POWs had to do their own pilfering! (At war's end 1500 unopened Red Cross boxes were discovered locked in a prison storehouse!) The book further describes how Louie and other men were used as test subjects for experiments in biological / chemical warfare. Cloudy liquid forcibly injected into arms caused dizziness and nausea.

Serendipity strikes Louie when Japanese intelligence discovers that American military has mistakenly assumed his death. Knowing that the capture of an American Olympic athlete has propaganda value, the Japanese allow Louie to radio broadcast a harmless message that he is alive and well. After that Louie gets a nice meal in a Japanese cafeteria. But Louie is soon approached by high level Japanese civilians, who want him to disparage America over airwaves. As Louie cannot act in good conscience, it is back to POW camp with Watanabe. Towards war's end, Louie is transferred to the grimy coal barges on Japan's west coast (Naeotsu). War's end and homecoming cannot come soon enough (1945). The instincts that helped Louie endure his mutinous youth had helped keep him alive in despairing situations. Although his post-traumatic stress disorder and religious conversion were skipped, closing captions briefly explain that Louie married and later returned to Japan to forgive his captors for their cruel treatment. The exception was Watanabe, the Bird; he was assumed dead. Not until 1997 did Louie discover that Watanabe was still alive; he died in 2003. The ending shows the real life footage of Zamperini as an old man running the torch for the Winter Olympics (1998), not far from his old POW camp. Louie lived until 2014, dying just a few months before picture release.

Although the movie doesn't cover Louie's post-war years, it is still entertaining. It was nominated for three Academy Awards and won several others. One should not expect the picture to be as detailed as the book. Perhaps the feature could have been extended by, say, thirty minutes; Angelina Jolie directed. The screenplay is decent enough and Roger Deakins' cinematography is excellent. Jack O'Connell plays the tough Italian wonderfully and is inspiring as a man constantly beaten down but who mentally defeats his enemies.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
the award frenzy exceeds content
elainejergens2 December 2014
Although it is an exceptional story in it's own right, the film fails to dazzle or inspire as the book did. It never fully materializes into the epic experience it wants to be. The script was problematic from the get-go. Attributing a mans extremely brutal POW experience with a spiritual awakening and strength in God does not translate well on the big screen. Blending those two subject matters together in a seamless way while maintaining the violent theme that the director imposes on the audience just doesn't work. This films tries to be too many things so naturally it fails to be anything. You cant please everyone.The buzz over the last two years promoting this film really boosted my expectations. Only to feel extremely let down and honestly, conned. Perhaps it was a lack of budget or the lack of talent behind the screen. On screen the talent was impressive and I think we have found a new budding star in newcomer Jack O'connell. Very impressive indeed.
187 out of 348 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
When more is less.
billpappas-125 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
How was it possible to make such an compelling and inspiring life story into such a boring movie despite sharks and torture? Go figure.

'Lifeboat' with Tallulah Bankhead was filmed almost entirely in a lifeboat and was much more interesting than the life raft scenes in this movie which felt like twice the length of the other movie.

Bridge on the River Kwai took place almost entirely in a POW camp and same comparison I made above could apply with this tedious hour or more of torture and abuse that was also boring.

And how did the lead character not have a full beard after 47 days at sea. His haircut looked the same throughout his adult scenes except for being messy at times. Did his hair stop growing? The movie seemed flat and 2 dimensional. There were only 2 moments that evoked any spark of emotion or interest in me- when he was in church as a young boy and got slapped upside the head for not paying attention and the epilogue at the very end showing the real Louie running in the Olympics at age 80 but that scene was real footage and not part of Jolie's overdone, overwrought and, yet, uninspiring and yawn inducing vanity project.

I don't know if it was the acting which was flat or the camera not capturing any good acting. Even closeups of Louie's face in excruciating pain or intense emotion stayed right there on the screen and didn't reach the audience. I actually heard laughter during some intense scenes. Huh? I've seen more moving teevee commercials than most of this movie was.

But, Jolie isn't the only one. Many current directors work so hard at 'realism' that it is distracting. The old time directors knew how to create magic on the silver screen without having to put every excruciating detail on film. It's like they want to put a clinical pelvic exam on a video for gynecologists instead of a truly romantic scene with fully clothed actors when romance is the intention.

Bette Davis was scarier as Baby Jane Hudson than the Japanese head of the POW camp.

I just don't understand how Jolie could get it so wrong. Didn't she learn anything from Eastwood's 'Changeling' that left me not caring about anyone in that movie, especially Jolie herself? Even the very short scene of Louie's reunion with his family was so so contrasted to the amount of time spent on the life raft and POW scenes.

It just didn't work and I hate being so critical of a movie based on such a remarkable and extraordinary long life. But, the movie didn't do Louie justice and that's as painful as watching the movie was.
43 out of 75 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
A disappointment for this huge fan of the book
dseesel-195-41907226 December 2014
I have been looking forward to this movie, having loved the book and admiring Louis Zamperini like so many others. While the movie was well-crafted and well-acted, it failed to blow me over emotionally. It's one movie that could have been longer, while at the same time tightening up the POW sequence by at least 15 minutes.

The director, editors and committee of screenwriters (never a good sign) cut out too much of the back story of what shaped Louie's character as a kid, and (critically) his PTSD and religious awakening at the end. I know this would have made Unbroken a three- hour movie but Louie's story deserved a fuller treatment. Instead, the character is turned into a Christ-like vessel of suffering for his fellow prisoners, rather than a flesh-and-blood person, although he seems oddly unscathed by the ordeal when he reunites with his family.

I was hoping for a "Spielberg" experience to leave me in tears, and it just didn't happen. Too bad.
47 out of 83 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Mediocre actress directs mediocre film
nancyleo25 December 2014
I was very disappointed in what should have been, hands down, an Oscar contender. I cannot recommend this movie to anyone because the direction absolutely ruined this film, which misses the point of the book altogether. Laura Hildebrand's wonderful book immediately reaches the reader's heart as she connects Louie Zamperini's life story of growing up from a kid headed towards a life of crime to becoming a man who not only survived the most unbelievable odds but also how the human spirit can sustain anything, if wanted. Never during the two + hours does the viewer get to know the character, or his friends, family and comrades-in-arms. Maybe Ms. Jolie should have spent more time reading the book and trying to understand the emotional connect the book had with its readers than planning all her promotional interviews and short documentaries which focused only on her and how fortunate she was to have been chosen to direct the film. It's not about you, Angelina, it was about a remarkable life and humanity, and you missed it all.
229 out of 454 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Epic movie making at its best
missybusty23 August 2015
I finally rented this movie which I had been avoiding since it was released over a year ago. I am glad I did because it kept my interest throughout. I thought the POW theme would be too depressing which it is but there is no glossing over that. Angelina Jolie has become an admirable director. I don't understand the hate directed towards her. This is an epic movie that is very well done. The film has won it's fair share of awards including three Oscar nominations. The acting is great. I am surprised the movie didn't receive more Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actor & Best Director. Also the Coen Brothers should have received more recognition for their screenplay
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Interesting Story at First, but Falls Victim to Poor Pacing and Character Development
cartermacleod6 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who ends up in a Japanese POW camp in WWII. His story of survival against the odds is inspiring, but it would be more so if not for this clumsy adaptation.

The movie starts out interestingly enough, with Louis in a squadron of bombers mounting an attack in the Pacific. Then we flash back to his childhood and see him develop an interest in, and talent for, running, which saves him from a life of petty crime. The bomber makes it back to base, but is quickly called back out for a rescue mission with few repairs (another movie that shows the contempt the army seems to have had in WWII for the lives of low-ranking young men). Of course, the plane immediately breaks down and crashes, killing all but three on board. The three men (eventually two) and their fight for survival could have been an interesting movie in and of itself (a Life of Pi sort of thing), but that part of the story ends many weeks later when the men are captured by the Japanese and sent to a jungle prison, then eventually a prison near Tokyo.

The biggest problem with the movie is that all of this takes a lot of time, so that by the time he ends up in the main prison camp with his main adversary, The Bird, the movie is running out of running time. That leaves very little time for character development, especially of The Bird, who is the prison camp's commanding officer.

At one point, The Bird starts starts torturing Louis by making him hold a large price of wood above his head and ordering one of his men to shoot him if he drops it, an image that's featured on the poster. The Bird gets so angry when Louis doesn't drop it that he starts to beat him. Then, out of nowhere, he starts to cry. If we had spent more time with The Bird, we might have understood his motivation, but because we don't see him for more than a few scenes, he remains a mystery.

The movie ends on a positive note, with Louis coming to terms with his capture and eventually returning to Japan to run in the Olympic Torch relay. However, I can't help feel that this would have been much more powerful if we had better understood Louis' experience in the Japanese prison camp and we hadn't spent so much time on the raft and flashing back to childhood.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Longest 2 Hrs. of My Life
ksyount0530 December 2014
I could not WAIT for this movie to come out. I "listened" to the book on my drive out west and it was started the day Louie Z passed away which made reading this book even more intense. I was hoping the movie would cast the same spell over me but it only really addressed one aspect of his life and I felt it was a HUGE MISS. It missed so many other areas that were just as fascinating. The dialogue was almost non-existent as well. It was almost like watching Castaway but with violence. Sorry Angelina you missed the boat!

IF you feel you must see it, then wait until it comes out on PPV don't waste your money and time.
133 out of 262 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Fine Cinematography, big, and safe. Little else to recommend it
jss-198-70796128 December 2014
While this movie purported to tell the story of Mr. Zamperini, who doubtless was a Great American Hero, his character was left undeveloped in the movie. Sadly the only person we got to know in this movie was Wantabe, his nemesis.

We identify with characters in movies who are described in detail as the plot progresses. Sadly we get to know Louie as a punching bag, not as a protagonist.

Contrast this with "The Grand Budapest Hotel", another movie of 2014 that also was a film set during wartime. It would be hard for anyone to accuse that film of failing to develop its characters. It cost much less to make, but left much more of an impression. Also contrast this with "The Book Thief". That movie made me cry! Why didn't this one?

Kudos to the Coen Brothers for attempting to save a drab script and helping the audience get through this movie.

I am happy to see that hundreds if not thousands got extras work in this film. I would describe "Unbroken" as a big movie: a single face frequently filled the screen, the ocean was big, the concentration camps were big, but Louie was small because we really didn't know him.
54 out of 100 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Jack O'Connell is outstanding..
rebeccaspurlock25 December 2014
Lets just say I just saw a great movie about loyalty, courage, survival and redemption. Angelina Jolie has fantastic directing skills and its Oscar worthy. Jack O'Connell knocks his performance out of the park and he's proved himself with this great performance along with his performances in "Starred Up" and "'71". He embodies the characteristics of Louis Zamperini and the great wonderful life he lived. Jai Courtney had a small role, but really good surprisingly, can't wait to see him as Kyle Reese in next summer's Terminator reboot. The movie slowed at a point but picked it up and blew me away, O'Connell gives an Oscar worthy performance, but given the competition it's unlikely. Who cares though? This is one of 2014's best films and you'll see it at the Oscars I promise you that.
42 out of 76 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Maybe his life is just not suspenseful. Not!
jdesando24 December 2014
Director Angelina Jolie has adapted Laura Hillenbrand's great biography, Unbroken, and made a conventional story about one of America's true heroes, Louis Zamperini. I'll continue to think about how Jolie could have made this more suspenseful, considering Louis was an Olympic runner, stayed in a life boat for the world record 47 days, and survived torture in two Japanese POW camps.

Although the film shows Louis to survive unbroken, despite the-Passion-of-The-Christ-like torture overdose, and follows his life story accurately, there's no soul, just dutiful recounting of the separate incidents. As a colleague commented, the real life footage of Louis returning as an old man to run the Olympic torch is more engaging and emotional than the whole film.

The cinematography of the renowned Roger Deakins is splendid on land and sea while Alexandre Desplat's music swells with romance at the right times. Otherwise, it's business as usual—get the history right. For me, a filmmaker could play with the story to make it more meaningful and involve more emotion if she has to—and Jolie has to.

The mediocre writing, that includes work of the Coens and the screenwriter of Gladiator, William Nicholson, repeats this trite line, "If you can take it, you can make it." Also this line, "One moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory," doesn't sound right, whereas in the book, it does: "A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain." Now that makes sense.

The villain, called Bird, should be a ruthless torturer with emotional issues tied to his lack of promotion and homosexual longings. However Jolie has chosen an androgynous Japanese rock star, Takamasa Ishihara, who doesn't click as mean or psychotic, just barking torture orders to fill his time with an occasionally enigmatic sentence or two to entice us into thinking we havedepth. Like the film, Bird promises much but delivers too little.

As opposed to the boring torture—how about more of his home life or his search for Bird after the war? I want Jolie to do well—she has an exemplary family and solid career as an actress—but, with the negligible first directing effort, In the Land of Blood and Honey, she has yet to achieve as a director.

"I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage." Friedrich Nietzsche
40 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Angelina Jolie is trying too hard to create an "oscar winning" epic WWII tale
Zobras5 January 2015
Angelina Jolie's directorial debut is far too ambitious. She obviously tried to win an Oscar for that one thinking all Hollywood WWII tales are instant award winning movies. The problem with Unbroken is that Angelina Jolie is a really bad storyteller. The movie drags for the first hour and a half, with the story showing how Zamperini survived in the pacific. While it is necessary to show how he survived the ordeal, the way Angelina told the story is boring and completely uninteresting. The cast is also lacking, and borderline amateurish, lacking any emotional impact on the viewers. Jack O'Connell (Zamperini) is not suited at all for the main role. The final scene in which he carries the heavy wooden log over his head is far fetched and borderline Hollywood fiction. Unbroken is ultimately broken on all parts. This 140 min motion picture is a pain to watch, and ironically the only redeeming parts remotely interesting to me was the final cut of the movie that shows the real Zamperini carrying the Olympic torch in Nagano's 1998 Winter games. Save your money and skip this one.
78 out of 152 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Could have been much better! 5/10
leonblackwood18 May 2015
Review: Man, this film is long and it felt like it was never going to end. Don't get me wrong, the storyline is touching and it's amazing what these war veterans had to go through, but Angelina Jolie could have jazzed it up a little. A whole hour is spent with them at sea and then you've got another hour with them stuck in prison camps. I would have liked to have seen the aftermath of what the soldiers had to go through because it dragged after a while and I struggled to stay awake. The inspiring Olympic athlete, Louis, was played well by Jack O'Connell and some of the scenes were extremely emotional. The actions scenes at the beginning of the film, seemed quite real and the whole look and feel of the movie was great but I just couldn't take the length of the whole thing. The scenes when they were eating the fish on the dingy and when Louis was constantly getting picked on by the prison warden, we're touching and it's hard to believe that they ended up in such a predicament because the plane was faulty. Anyway, I personally was expecting a better film from Angelina Jolie who had a great concept to work with so it has to go down as a disappointment from me.

Round-Up: Although I didn't real connect with this film, it made a healthy profit at the box office so there must have been people out there who enjoyed it. Jack O'Connell, who shot to fame after his great performance in Starred Up, really gave this movie his all with the different weight changes and the reactions to the impossible situations that he found himself in. The bravery that was shown when he turned down to read the message on the radio which made him return to the horrible prison camp, was amazing but the tempo of the film is quite slow. It is worth a watch, just to see what these soldiers had to endeavour and the scene at the end when the real Louis is running was great but for entertainment, it did let me down.

Budget: $65million Worldwide Gross: $162million

I recommend this movie to people who are into their epic war movies about an inspiring Olympic athlete who goes to war and ends up stranded at sea for over a month and then he gets captured by the enemy. 5/10
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Unbroken a movie that brings insight to the dairy of an Olympic champion
BJHutton_AU21 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Unbroken a movie that brings insight to the dairy of an Olympic champion.

His trials and tribulations displaced in his youth and again the target of a arch-foe during wartime imprisonment.

The focus is on his achievements, when the odds are stacked up against him, this being a recurring instance.

The movie was produced very well in storyline with moments felt for this mans pain, given to Survival.

There were many great scenes that show the producer Angelina Jolie's superstar experience equipped with talent.

These scenes steam from remembrance of pastimes, these lacing with perfection impact situations, thus in progression.

I do however find the makeup artistry was bad with complexions given to the actors in general scenes.

Visual scenes that stood out consisted of a shark attack whilst the rescue boat was being repaired, this catching most people out In the theater by surprise.

The number of shark scenes outlined their presence continuously thought-out the Sea Survival run, Illistrating a number of great scenarios, including that man is / was not the only casualties of war.

The coal boys clustered, was a great visual and the Japanese vessel finding the guys at sea.

The main man of this movie was not the champion however, but rather his Japanese counterpart.

A man shinning in talent his own displacements, emotions, national loyalty and leadership, young yet shouldered with his own expectations in respect of his father a general.

The movie pleasing in story, a family focused movie in overall presentation.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed