Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken tells the inspiring true story of a man who is faced with awful circumstances, but refuses to surrender.
Louis Zamperini (portrayed by Jack O’Connell) was an American Olympic athlete who was a bombardier in the second world war. He died last year, and Unbroken is his story.
First off, special mention has to be made of the way the dog fights have been handled. This movie was nominated for Oscars in sound and you can hear why. It was also nominated for cinematography and you can see why in the stomach-churning scenes inside the aircraft where, even on a good day, the crew were exposed to so much danger it’s surprising any of them made it home alive.
Zamperini’s plane crashes and he and two others make it to a life raft, where they eke out an existence on an unforgiving ocean for a record-breaking 47 days – then life gets worse. Their prayed-for rescuers are the enemy Japanese and Zamperini is eventually sent to a Prisoner of War camp.
The camp commander, Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe is convincingly played by Japanese rock star Miyavi (real name Takamasa Ishihara). Rumour has it that Miyavi was so upset by some of the scenes he had to act out that he vomited afterwards.
Watanabe picks on Zamperini, because he is an Olympian and an officer. The relationship between the two becomes psychotic and the story that follows is intense.
You’re going to want to know how long the iconic bullying scene lasted in real life. It was, according to Aisha Harris of Slate.com, 37 minutes. You’re welcome.
This is a movie everyone should see, to get a glimpse of what a real hero and a real prison camp look like, and how real people deal with all sorts of loss. While a few details have been changed, the movie stays true to the book by Laura Hillenbrand. It is as inspiring as it is harsh.