Survival, resilience, redemption.

The true story of American Olympic runner Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connell, Starred Up) who, having been sent to World War II, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and consigned to a prisoner-of-war camp. Directed by Angelina Jolie (her second feature after 2011's Bosnian War drama In The Land of Blood And Honey), co-written by the Coen brothers.... More

Zamperini serves as a bombardier in the Pacific theatre, raining destruction on Japanese military targets. Like many US servicemen, he has an interesting past, having overcome childhood criminality to excel at distance running, representing his country at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. When his plane goes down in remote ocean, Zamperini's athletic discipline helps him survive for a remarkably long time. But that test of endurance only leads to another when captured by the Japanese, where his status as an Olympian will earn him prolonged abuse at the hands of a sadistic prison camp boss (Japanese musician Miyavi).Hide

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Flicks Review

Louis Zamperini’s story is an awe-inspiring triumph-of-the-human-spirit tale if there ever was one. The former Italian-American athlete, who was once one of the fastest high school runners ever recorded and competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, survived 47 days adrift at sea in a raft, and was later captured and sent to a Japanese POW camp where he was repeatedly beaten by a sadistic prison guard. As dramatised by sophomore director Angelina Jolie, this cinematic account of Zamperini’s ordeal, however faithful to Laura Hillenbrand’s best-seller on which it’s based, manages to turn a harrowing experience into a simplistic, neutered, dramatically leaden movie that rings false.... More

Jolie isn’t wholly incompetent behind the camera: the opening bombing sequence is mounted with a classical restraint that suggests she might shoot a decent action flick some day. She’s also ably assisted by seasoned pro Roger Deakins at her side, although Unbroken, with its palette of grungy war-grime and nostalgia-smeared prettiness, isn’t prime Deakins. The film’s best asset is perhaps the outstanding central performance from Jack O’Connell (Starred Up, TV's Skins), who convincingly navigates the demanding physicality and psychological nuances required of his role as Zamperini.

Unfortunately those few qualities are dulled by Jolie’s middlebrow sensibilities. Even with extensive script doctoring by the Coens, the film reveals her to be an old-fashioned, earnest, prestige-eyeing sentimentalist. There’s prosaic, fill-in-the-blanks biopic-telling, a reliance on pat, tagline-sized maxims (“If you can take it, you can make it”) and feel-good coda cuteness (aw, that’s the REAL Zamperini running at 80!) -- all things that ultimately diminish the lasting punch the film is so clearly striving for.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 9 ratings, 10 reviews
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BY thorinoak superstar

A fantastic story of survival that is not served well by the way in which this tale is told. Over bloated and could have had thirty minutes carved off it.

BY Kat2600 nobody

Watched Unbroken at the movies - Directed by Angelina Jolie. My personal rating: 9/10 Worth every dollar to see this movie. Great film masterpiece, great casting and raw emotion & triumph to never give up. I can now say I am a huge fan of Jack O'Connell who leads the film as Louis Zamperini in this True Story.

BY arlem grader

Because this is based on true events it would have been tempting to over-emphasise just one aspect of this remarkable story. Instead the story reveals several remarkable events that make up the total and each part is shown well. The trailers possibly lead viewers to expect the whole story to unfold in the concentration camp but there is more to the events. Unfortunately this does mean that the makers could get it wrong and they possibly focused too much on the initial survival rather than the... More captor/captive interaction. Nevertheless you should leave feeling uplifted and inspired and amazed that this really happened.Hide

BY Hastley lister

It was a good movie at the movies but honestly, you wont miss anything if you wait for it on DVD.

BY filmlover superstar

Credit where it's due. Jolie has made a war film as good as many. Plenty of drama and excitement with the usual extreme U.S. patriotism. It's easy to see why this film has caused consternation in Japan though. It's definitely an 'us against them' flick with the Japanese portrayed as the worst kind of monsters and the allied forces as the heroes of the day.
While all this may be fundamentally true I can't help thinking that a woman who works so hard to promote peace and understanding might have... More tempered this portrait of Japanese cruelty vs U.S. heroism. Still, at the end of the day, a war film that stands up well in it's genre.Hide

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The Press Reviews

50% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Unbroken just piles on the misery without tonal shift, any sense of rise and fall, or any interest in Zamperini’s inner life... Full Review

  • It is a handsome film, bleak and dark and elegantly filmed told with a mixture of intensity and something like restraint, even distance. Full Review

  • What the movie ends up in desperate need of is a sense of life made real and palpable through dreadful, transporting details, not a life embalmed in hagiographic awe. Full Review

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