Movie Review: Unbroken

By Spencer Schultz

Staff Writer

Fans of the novel “Unbroken” put their faith into director Angelina Jolie in order to pull off converting such a literary masterpiece into an award-winning film. However, Jolie fell short of the daunting task, as she left many movie-goers disappointed as they left the theater.

“Unbroken” is the movie adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction story of the same name. The book introduced millions to Italian-American Louis Zamperini, a troubled boy turned Olympic runner during the 1936 Berlin Games in Nazi Germany. Once the second World War broke out, Zamperini enlisted in the military as a bombardier to fight the war against Japan in the Pacific. While on a rescue mission, a plane crash left Zamperini and two other surviving crew members stranded in the ocean. After 47 days and the death of another crew member, they were rescued, but by an enemy Japanese boat. This brought Zamperini to a Prisoner of War camp in Japan, where he was tortured endlessly by his captors. The Bird was particularly viscious in his pursuit of Louie.

While the novel inspired readers with Zamperini’s courageous trials of endurance throughout his time at the POW camp, the movie proved to be nothing more than “just another movie,” says sophomore Kate Salvo.

“I didn’t feel fully satisfied at the end of the movie. I wish the movie went on the explain how Zamperini’s struggles in the POW camp went on to effect him later in life,” says Salvo.

The screenwriting of the film was rather lackluster as well. Of the few characters in the movie itself, each had very minimal lines. “Most of the movie was just action and time filler, rather than speaking,” says sophomore Giovanni Antonnucci. Antonnucci also critizes Jolie for including few women in the film, though, to be fair, there are few in the book as well.     

A major criticism of the film for many viewers was the flashbacks that interrupted some of the most intense scenes. “The excitement of some scenes was sort of ruined when the movie-makers chose to flashback to Zamperini’s childhood,” says Salvo.

Despite the film’s critiques, it still did have its moments of excellence. Salvo thought some of the movie’s cinematography was done well, such as the scene where Zamperini was lying in the life boat, with the shadow of the Japanese ship in the background. This scene felt very reminiscent of the award winning cinematography in the film “Life of Pi.”                        

“Unbroken” recieved no nominations for the 2015 Golden Globe Awards, something that shocked even those who were critical of the movie, according to Salvo. "I think 'Unbroken' was good movie, but it should be remembered more for being a great book," says Salvo.