Unbroken Blu-ray Review
UNBROKEN had all the ingredients to be an Oscar-worthy film; a known director, a rising star and a true, tragic story. But the film wasn’t well received because apparently, people are numb to a story about a man that competed in the Olympics, survived over a month in the middle of the ocean and endured constant torture in a POW camp for years. As efficient as the film is, how is it possible that a film following a man going through all that could actually be a little boring?
UNBROKEN depicts the true story of Louis Zamperini and is told in three parts. The first part of the film follows Louis as a young boy and then as he competes in the Olympics on a relay team. And here we might have our first problem; there’s really not much going on as he’s training and competing, but director Angelina Jolie does her best to make it more exciting than it really is. He competes and his team does better than people thought, but they didn’t win a gold medal or break any records. The point of this is the mere fact that he competed, which is impressive but doesn’t necessarily make for compelling cinema. This leads right into his time in World War II, where he was part of a bomber crew. His aircraft gets shot down and he and two other survivors are stranded in the middle of the ocean. Once again, not much happens; he and two other guys are alone in the middle of the ocean for a good chunk of the movie but that’s really it. Yes, it’s incredible that he survived, but surviving doesn’t exactly equate to good entertainment.
He’s eventually “rescued” by the Japanese and is put into a Japanese POW camp, which leads us to the third part of the film. While there, he’s relentlessly abused by the Japanese soldier running the camp, Watanabe. And, you guessed it; not much really happens here. Yes, he’s abused and punished and yes, it’s inspiring to watch him endure (or, “take it to make it”), but watching someone endure pain is not enjoyable for the audience. Maybe Hollywood has ruined these types of movies for us because as I’m watching Louis endure the horrors of the camp, I couldn’t help but hope he and his friends were going to find a way to get revenge or break free or get back at Watanabe in some fashion. But it never happened and instead, the movie just kind of ended.
Despite the film’s uneventful nature, the one thing I got from the film is that Jack O’Connell is going to be a huge star. I don’t mean kind of huge, I mean he’s going to be an A-list superstar that will soon be a household name. UNBROKEN didn’t turn out like I’m sure he hoped, but between this and the lesser known STARRED UP, he has proven that he can do just about anything. In many cases, he was the reason UNBROKEN was bearable.
There’s nothing technically wrong with UNBROKEN; Jack O’Connell was amazing, the dialogue was fine and Angelina Jolie did a great job directing. The sad truth is that the film struggles because the story isn’t up to par with some of the other war movies we’ve seen over the years. Louis lived an amazing life and he’s truly an American hero, but I’m not sure his story merited a major Hollywood film.
Video: UNBROKEN looks beautiful on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Deleted Scenes (15:54): 10 scenes total, all of which work to varying degrees of success. The movie dragged at times and these wouldn’t have helped at all.
Inside Unbroken (27:30): This is a three part making-of featurette that focuses mainly on the steps the filmmakers took to get the film made and their efforts to tell the story properly.
The Real Louis Zamperini (29:50): This is a detailed look at the life of Louis Zamperini. It’s a nice companion feature to anyone that wants to know more about the man that inspired the film.
Cast and Crew Concert Featuring Miyavi (7:41): Angelina Jolie introduces Miyavi.
Prison Camp Theater: Cinderella (6:27): This is a longer look at the play the prisoners put on in the film. Strange.
Louis’ Path to Forgiveness (6:41): This feels like a snippet from the earlier feature, but it focuses a little more on Louis’ acceptance and forgiveness of his captors.