Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, was the last film to be released this year which I was really excited for. Although the story of Louie Zamperini was unknown to me, from what I had heard and from the trailers I had seen his story seemed to be an interesting and exciting one. With rising star Jack O’Connell as the lead as well I was given even more reason to be excited.
Overall Unbroken is a wonderful film, the best thing about this movie is that it is a true story. Although I can’t confirm, it felt very accurate, none of the scenes felt exaggerated and the material seems to have been handled with care. Unbroken really features three main sections. Zamperini’s childhood and his rise into athletics, his time at war and eventually adrift in a life raft for 47 days and finally his experiences in several prisoner of war camps. Each of these sections brought something different to the audience and all of them were done well, the time devoted to each could have possibly been changed though. This may just be a personal preference of mine but I thought Zamperini’s journey to the Olympics felt rushed, I was interested to see how he got to this stage but it just seemed to jump really quickly from his beginnings in sport to the ultimate level of competition. Some time from the prisoner of war camps could have been given to this section as there is only so many times that we need to see Zamperini being tortured. Although I thought the time allocation was a slight issue it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the movie and as I have said each section brought something new and was so enjoyable to watch. One thing for sure that should have been changed though was the way in which the story jumped about near the beginning. Just as a great action sequence was taking place the film would jump back in time which unfortunately took me right out of the moment. However my great frustration just shows you how much I enjoyed the second section of the movie, Zamperini’s time at war and on that raft.
I enjoyed this section for many reasons but the main one was just how well tension was created. It was clever to show the immediate danger of the sharks in the waters and to tease any possible confrontation instead of simply having them show up as a sequence with them began. Due to this I was on edge until events moved from the water to the ground, really showing that this section was done very well. My only issue would be that at times the CGI wasn’t great, the sea at times looked very fake and I have to admit much like the jumping around with the story it did take me out of the film slightly. Anyway there was so much else in this film to enjoy that issues like that never bothered me for too long. Of course the lead performance from Jack O’Connell was fantastic and I never doubted his ability for a second. He was able to convince me of Zamperini’s character and emotion in every scene and he conveyed perfectly what I felt was trying to be communicated to the audience. The supporting cast all do a good job too and really enhance the lead performance of O’Connell’s. The film is 137 minutes but it never feels long, Zamperini is just so likeable that you could find yourself watching his story for hours longer. Whether it was in an Olympic race or a battle of physicality in a prisoner of war camp whatever Zamperini was facing you found yourself routing for him whole-heartily.
Unbroken is an inspirational film that should be easily enjoyed. There are a few minor issues with the way in which the story is presented but nothing to detract from the overall experience. Jack O’Connell flawlessly leads the story and brings you into the events of Zamperini. As you watch this film just remind yourself of how this story is one that actually happened. It is quite something and I am really happy that through this film I have been taught this story. With powerful messages throughout Unbroken should break though any cynics and stands tall against many other films released this year.
BIGGEST FLAW – The way the story jumped about at the start of the film
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – The tension during the second section
Rating – 9/10