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Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken”

Andrew Sosanya, Editor-in-Chief

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A good movie is not the result of a good story, but how the story is translates onto the screen.  Angelina Jolie tells the story of Louis Zamperini in her new movie “Unbroken”, which is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s biography of the same name. Zamperini, who died in July, was a former olympian and American World War II prisoner of war. The movie spans over the course of his childhood to the end of World War II.

However, the biopic leaves much to be desired. “Unbroken” tries to portray itself as a biography, like the book it was based on, but only succeeds as a tale of endurance, where the hero fights through adversity with  willpower.

The movie rushes through Zamperini’s story as if the only important parts of his life were his times of suffering and agony as a prisoner of war. We see Zamperini in his childhood years, but only for the purpose of setting the stage of his shortly-lived running career, which is sideswiped abruptly and brushed under the rug for the tale of imprisonment. The movie sticks to the imprisonment segment for the entire second half of the movie, which would make anyone, including myself, check their watch.

Unbroken features Jack O’ Connell as Zamperini and Miyavi, a pop star, as Mutsuhiro “Bird” Watanabe, the Japanese Commander and Zamperini’s chief torturer. O’Connell plays the part of the Italian Zamperini so well that you would suspect he was casted because he was of the same ethnicity. Miyavi cleanly executes the “Bird’s” diabolical actions so precisely that it conveys the brutal atmosphere of the 1940s. However, the template of Zamperini becomes stagnant over the course of the movie. The exceptional traits of Zamperini, which could be presented, failed to be explored, which is the fault of  the directors. The movie presents no answer to what kind of person Zamperini is.

The soundtrack is forgettable. The background music failed to set the stage for the majority of the scenes, especially not “Miracles” by Coldplay. There was not any appropriate music to accompany the scenes that were supposed to make me shrivel in fear of what might happen next. The soundtrack sounded like it could fit in any other movie in the box office right now.

The cinematography is rewarding. The melancholic and hostile atmosphere produced feels like you are actually there. Zamperini’s scenes of triumph are executed in such a way that simple gestures become symbols of pride and willpower. During Zamperini’s forty-seven days being stranded adrift on the ocean, the movie managed to shell out the true feeling of hopelessness— chapped lips barren of water, the obscure darkness of the ocean, and the uncertainty of the next meal.

All in all, “Unbroken” manages to become a worthwhile watch for the casual viewer,but if you are a sophisticated viewer of the cinema, this movie isn’t for you.

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Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken”