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UNBROKEN (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson
Produced by Matthew Baer, Angelina Jolie, 
Erwin Stoff, Clayton Townsend
Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 
Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson
Based on Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Directed by Angelina Jolie
Starring Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, 
Miyavi, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, 
Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway

My severe disappointment in Unbroken makes my heart hurt. I am a big Angelina Jolie fan, but her newest production was just a painful experience.

Based on the amazing heroics of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian turned prisoner of war, Unbroken goes through his entire, painful experience as a prisoner of war.

Adrift at sea for 47 days, captured by the Japanese and tortured for years, Louis never breaks. Now the story is unbelievable and his endurance is much to be admired–an understatement of his strength–but Jolie’s rendition of his life in this film traps it in a giant cliche.

Sappy and incredibly redundant. Louis gets beaten, he prevails.

He gets beaten, he prevails.

He gets beaten, he prevails.

He gets…And that’s the entire film.

The production is instead quite elementary. The camera work is repetitive and adds zero effect. If I saw one more shot of the sky followed by the panning down to the grim atmosphere of each shitty environment, I swear my eyes were going to get stuck in a rolled position.

The dialogue is painfully trite and predictable as well. “If you can take it, you can make it”. Just a sample of the rudimentary script.

The film was trying to be epic but was far too long and anti-climactic. Wasn’t emotional or breathtaking, which was really disappointing considering the content. I’m sure the story works as a memoir, as a spoken story. It didn’t translate on the big screen.

The religious overtones were also misplaced and off-putting. The tension or fear that the evil person was supposed to evoke in the audience fell flat and the repetitive suffering followed by hope just became bland, instead of heroic. Really poor performance by Takamasa Ishihara also–I’ve never been threatened less. I expected a lot more from Jolie and the Coen brothers.

It’s a shame because Louis Zamperini’s story is truly amazing.

And Unbroken fails to do it true justice.

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