“Unbroken” Directed by Angelina Jolie

December 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Kathryn Bigelow and Angelina Jolie have been successfully directing war films for the past 5 or so years: The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, In the Land of Blood and Honey, and now, Unbroken, while Christiane Amanpour’s war correspondences from the frontlines, still hold strong.


What will it take to break a man? How much can one man take?

In “Unbroken,” the latest film directed by Angelina Jolie, Jack O’Connell (‘Starred Up’ and ”71′), portrays Louis Zamperini, an Italian man who was first tormented by boys on the playground when he was young, and then by prison guards, while he was held captive as a POW in Japanese prison camps during WWII. In between the two stages of his life, he found success as a track runner and Olympic athlete.


Can Louis persevere, or will he give up hope, as he has many reasons to falter? Can the thought of his mother’s gnocchi recipe carry him through difficult situations? Is there a grand plan?

It almost seems too difficult to imagine that one person could endure as much as Louis did, as he was repeatedly punched, kicked, verbally abused, crashing, stranded, fighting for survival, screamed at, told that he needs to learn respect, and that he is nothing.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
Can his Italian spirit help him through?



Angelina Jolie (poised and smiling):

“The entire cast got to meet Louis. Louis Zamperini was full of life and spirit, and I hope the film lives up to him, and remembers him for how extraordinary, intelligent and well-educated he was. I hope the film lives up to all of these great people.”

The Character of Francis ‘Mac’ McNamara, played by Finn Wittrock:

“A lot of us might not have strength when faced with life and death situations. Hope in the time of despair. It was an examination of the the mind/body relationship.”

The Character of ‘Bird’ or Mutsushiro Watanabe (the abusive prison guard), played by Takamasa Ishihara:

“I didn’t want to represent Japan in a negative light. The book was not translated into Japanese, and it is controversial. I was scared to tackle this role, as it is risky. The story is not a war story, so much as it is a story about forgiveness and how strong one man can be. ‘Bird’ had issues with his father, and released his evil feelings through torture. Louie had everything that ‘Bird’ wanted. Bird knew he was losing.”

Angelina Jolie:

“The actors could never demonstrate what the actual men went through in real life. Louis Zamparini held that beam over his head for 37 minutes, and was unable to explain what took over.

Louis saw a rough cut of the film on a laptop in his hospital bed before his death on July 2, 2014.”


3.5/5 stars

Will Roger Deakins, DP, win his first Oscar?

One World Cinema

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