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Monday, December 29, 2014

Unbroken brings Hillenbrand's best-selling book to the big screen

 Another best-selling book comes to the big screen this holiday season with the movie   Unbroken

Below is my movie review blog post for this amazing story.

PG-13, 2 hours 17 minutes

Grade:  B+

In a Nutshell:  This is an inspiring, true story that features the strength of the human spirit against all odds.  Director Angelina Jolie was so taken with Lauren Hillenbrand’s best-selling novel, that she felt compelled to bring it to the big screen.  The story is fascinating, but the viewing is exhausting and heart-wrenching.

Uplifting Theme:
·         The end of the movie reminds us that “the way forward is not revenge, but forgiveness.”
·         “If you can take it, you can make it.” – Louis’ brother, Pete

Things I liked:
·         The main actors dieted for months to appear as their characters would have looked after surviving 47 harrowing days on a raft in the oceanThey lost even more weight in the prisoner of war camps.  That’s dedicated acting.
·         The casting was very good.  Young Louis looked just like the older Louis.
·         The audience laughed when the starving soldiers on the raft punched a fish and a shark in order to eat them.  There were a few moments of subtle humor, but otherwise, this film is extremely sobering.  It should make you hesitate before complaining about anything again.
·         The cinematography of Roger Deakins (True Grit and Skyfall ) is very well done. Some of the vistas were extraordinary.
·         I always appreciate it at the end of a true story when the audience is shown how things ended up years later.
·         Jack O’Connell (Louis Zamperini) did an outstanding job.  Takamasa Ishihara was so believably cruel as Watanabe that the audience cringed every time he appeared on the screen.

Things I didn’t like:
·         The film is pretty long and your heart can’t take much more.  You feel like you’ve been punched in the gut, although your spirit soars with hope as you watch Louis stand up each time he falls. Angelina Jolie chooses to spend 2 hours focusing on how Louis was tortured in various ways and very little time showing us more about his character development.
·         I’m sad that the real Louis Zamperini died right before the movie came out.  What an amazing man he was.  I’m especially impressed that he returned to Japan to face his tormentors and forgive them.
·         As inspiring as the story is, there should have been more powerful and emotional moments in the telling.

Inspiring lines:
·         “A moment of pan is worth a lifetime of glory.” – Pete
·         “Here’s the plan…you go on living the best you can and try to have some fun along the way. – Phil
·         “We beat them by making it to the end of the war alive.” – Blackie
·         “It is necessary to have respect.  No respect, no order.” - Watanabe
·         “I’m glad it’s you. “ – Phil
“I’m glad it’s me too.” - Louis

Tips for Parents:  There are intense sequences of brutality and violence, as well as some charred bodies in one scene in particular.  There is some profanity, but not much, especially considering this is a war movie.  People used to call Italian immigrants WASPS and DAGOS.  After the movie, you can talk to your kids about bullying and name calling.

To learn more about the amazing life of Louis Zamerini, check out the following items: