Unbroken: Path to Redemption Blu-ray Review
I first heard the story of Lou Zamperini in the 1980s, while watching one of those “Can You Believe?” sports shows on HBO. I found his story very intriguing. For those of you not familiar with the story, I learned that Zamperini was a champion runner, who had competed for the United States in Berlin at the 1936 Olympics. He joined the military in 1941 and in 1943 was shot down and presumed dead. The next year a major track event was held in Zamperini’s name. What made the story so “Can You Believe?” is that, when the war ended, Zamerini was found In a Prisoner of War camp. He returned home just in time to attend the 2nd Annual race in his honor.
That was what I knew in 2014 when the film UNBROKEN premiered. Directed by Angelina Jolie, it told the harrowing story of Zamperini’s time in the service. Adrift at sea in a raft for 67 days. A prisoner of war for 2 years, tormented by a cruel man known to the prisoners as “the Bird.” This man was so hated that, when the war ended, he was on General Douglas McArthur’s list of the 40 most dangerous Japanese criminals. The story mesmerized me. In fact, in my annual Top 10 list of the year’s best films, UNBROKEN was Number One! Now comes a sequel of sorts to show us the journey Zamperini took upon his return.
Filled with solid performances, UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION follows Zamperini (Hunt) home from the war and allows us to see the trials and tribulations he went through to resolve within himself the life he now leads. Hailed as a hero, he maintains that he was just lucky. His stature is such that he is asked to tour the country to help sell War Bonds, which aren’t selling as well as they used to since the war is over. But Lou hides a secret. He has repeated bad dreams about his experiences while captured and he begins to drink heavily to quiet them down. Even a bowl of rice served with dinner causes him to snap. Lou has what we now know is PTSD, though he refuses to admit it. It’s only after a chance attendance at a Billy Graham revival does he begin to build the life he hoped for.
Yes, I said Billy Graham. This film is very high in religious content (as were all of the films advertised before the feature) but that is not a bad thing. The message doesn’t hit you over the head. Like Lou it gradually grows on you and, like Lou, you feel yourself a better person for having accepted it. Hunt is very good as Zamperini. Well liked and good looking, he does his best to hide the demons that he is battling. However, it is a battle he cannot seem to win. As his wife, Cynthia, Ms. Patterson is equally strong. And I must admit, it’s fun to see the late Reverend Billy Graham’s grandson, Will, play his grandfather. An uncanny resemblance of the preacher as a young man.
If you’re looking for a film that entertains and delivers a very positive message, I would highly recommend this one.
Video: The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The picture is sharp and clear, even some of the historical footage that is included.
Audio: The audio is in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and really sound good. Background sounds are clear but never overwhelm the dialogue.
The Making of “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” (5:49): A short but interesting featurette featuring interviews with cast and cres.
Reliving the Revival (1:51): A short piece on how they restaged the famous Billy Graham 1949 revival, hosted by his grandson, Will.
“Today” Show Interview with Will Graham (3:21): Kathie Lee and Hoda chat with Will Graham about the film.
“You Found Me” by Switchfoot (4:22): Music video for the song featuring scenes from the film. As an added “extra,” there is a short (1:44) look at the making of the video.
The Heart of “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” (3:58): Cast and crew discuss the true heart of the story (hint: it’s love).