Unbroken: Great story, poor storytelling

Angelina Jolie’s latest directorial project tells the inspiring story of Louis Zamperini, a rebellious child turned Olympic athlete. The movie begins with Louis and his Air Force troop suffering through a horrific plane crash that proves fatal for some of his comrades. He and two other young men are then stranded at sea with an inflatable raft as their only refuge. Their rescue comes in the form of capture from the Japanese navy, where they become prisoners of war.

     Unbroken, based on the novel of the same title, attempts to tell the true story of a young man who never lost hope, even in the darkest of circumstances. Jack O’Connell truthfully portrays the hardships endured by Louis, as well as the triumphs. The cast consists mostly of up and coming stars like Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock, who all deliver impressive performances.

    That being said, Unbroken doesn’t live up to its high expectations for a number of reasons. The film’s biggest flaw is that it devotes too much time to Louis’ tragedies and not enough to his early years and family life. The audience doesn’t ever really get the chance to connect with Louis and that hurts the film’s overall effect and gives it a generic feel.

   Additionally, the film’s pacing is excessively slow to and even boring at some points. Too much screen time is devoted to Louis languishing in a raft at sea or sitting in the darkness of his prison cell. A few shining moments help in part to redeem Unbroken. The films most resonant scenes are when the enigmatic Japanese soldier nicknamed “The Bird” tortures Louis in any number of ways, yet still insists that they would be great friends in different circumstances. Unbroken may not be an exceptional film, but it tells an exceptional story of resilience, faith and forgiveness, which makes it worth watching.


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