“If you can take it, you can make it.”
Angelina Jolie recently directed an American war film, “Unbroken” that is based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”.
The movie, surrounding the life of USA Olympian and athlete Louis “Louie” Zamperini (played by Jack O’Connell), starts off with his younger days. As a boy, Louie was always getting himself in trouble – from drinking illegally to getting into fights with other kids, it seemed like Louie could never catch a break.
Until one day, with the help of his older brother, Pete (played by Alex Russell), Louie turns his life around and channels all his energy into running, later qualifying for the 1936 Olympics. When World War II breaks out, Louie enlists in the military which led to him going on a rescue mission at the Pacific. Unfortunately, while on rescue run over the Pacific in 1943, Louie’s plane has mechanical trouble and crashes into the ocean, killing the whole crew except for Louie, Phil (played by Domhnall Gleeson) and Mac (played by Finn Wittrock).
They wind up adrift on a raft, facing sharks, starvation and enemy fire, barely surviving on the few fish they catch with their bare hands and the drops of rain they catch in their mouths. Mac doesn’t survive the whole time they were adrift, leaving Louie and Phil who are found after 47 days − but by the Japanese navy.
That leads to Louie and Phil being separated as they were sent to different Prisoner of War (POW) camps in Tokyo. The movie goes on to tell a horrific tale of more than two years of nightmares at the POW camp and run-ins with sadistic and evil commander, Mutsuhiro Watanabe (memorably played by the Japanese star Miyavi).
Throughout his time at the POW, Louie who was Watanabe’s favourite target was tortured endlessly − from beating him senseless to forcing the other POWs to hit Louie in the face and to making him hold an iron bar aloft lest he be shot, the movie was a series of Louie’s journey to hell and back. Louie’s determination and resilience lead to him surviving the war and making his way back home to his family.
Given that the movie was a little draggy at some parts, Irish actor, O’Connell delivered a stunning performance, going through a major body transformation while he displayed a strong front – in remembrance of his brother’s words “if you can take it, you can make it”. As for his antagonist, Miyavi was a sadistic baby-faced evil monster who took pleasure in torture. Both actors did a brilliant job at portraying their characters and Jolie’s ability to bring the shocking truth with her amazing direction left me in awe.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I welled up like a baby when watching a movie till I watched “Unbroken”. Personally, I found “Unbroken” to be a very clever movie give its audience an idea of the kind of endurance and resilience one may require to survive. No doubt, it’s a little long, but it reaches its goal so kudos to Jolie and her cast as well as team for a brilliant job well done.
“Unbroken” will be released in a cinema near you on February 5th so be sure to catch it.
Check out the trailer below whilst you wait. 😉