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July 19, 2017

Unbroken (2014) --- "Sometimes Not Giving Up Means Going Past Your Limitations."

Plot Summary
 As a boy, Louis "Louie" Zamperini is always in trouble, but with the help of his older brother, he turns his life around and channels his energy into running, later qualifying for the 1936 Olympics. When World War II breaks out, Louie enlists in the military. After his plane crashes in the Pacific, he survives an incredible 47 days adrift in a raft, until his capture by the Japanese navy. Sent to a POW camp, Louie becomes the favorite target of a, particularly cruel prison commander. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Unbroken (2014) is the heartbreaking and inspiring true story told and directed with realism and heart. We see the skies raining down bombs and a sea full of sharks, some people are merciless while others kind. But throughout all of the pain and suffering, there is Zamperini with is mantra/message, "If you can take it, you can make it." The direction (Angelina Jolie) and cinematography (Roger Deakins) were superb but in a subtle way. The story, based off the book of the same name by Laura Hillenbrand, is a great bit of a history as it is co-written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (Down from the Mountain). There are two ways you can approach this film.

     The first is through Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) – an Olympic track athlete that become a POW in Japan - and his true story as he manages to endure and survive unimaginable suffering and hardships. He suffers pain and torture at the pleaser of his sadistic and narcissistic torturer. Torturers are everyday people who are deeply frustrated and/or alienated because they are being denied from doing what they want to do, as a result they are viewed as failures; by themselves or society. So they choose to take advantage of and vengeance on the people who are under their care, their attention is mostly focused on the people who are not failures and by doing so they feel that they are getting even with those who dared to be better than him or attempt to achieve their goals. This is why Zamperini is continually targeted by his captor, not only is he an American but he is not a failure and considering what he has to live for it is no surprise that he remained unbroken. The second approach is in the obvious distance between the film and WWII. The film views the war as an event that happened a long time ago and instead focuses on how Zamperini process what happens to him. Sure he could be bitter and vengeful, punish those who hurt him simply for being who he is but he quickly realizes that it is an absorbed and insane idea. The first approach is not very interesting but the second approach is interesting.  Nobody wants to be admired or remembered for all the suffering they had to go through but what is admirable is their ability to forgive those who wronged and hurt them.
     Unbroken clearly demonstrates strength inside of oneself as well as a strength that determine whether we forgive them afterwards. This is the kind of strength that enables someone who is unjustly convicted of a crime he did not commit, to be strong enough to survive as long as possible and then submit to the final ordeal with dignity and honor. ***SMAL SPOIL***The final image of his captor’s personal room, who upon fleeing left behind a picture of himself as an infant with his father. A picture he should have cherished was left behind because he could not face the fact that he let his father down. I say this because the captor knew that he would have done what he did to Zamperini to his father if the situation required it. He realized that he had betrayed his father’s trust, faith, and hope in him, which is one of defeats worst punishments. ***END***

     Overall, Unbroken (2014) is a beautifully acted, wonderfully designed, and superbly directed film. At times it is hard to take in because of the brutality and the personal violence. The portrayal of the Japanese camps is truly cruel but at the same time, one must understand that even though the Japanese did some cruel things during WWII they were not evil. Many of them were forced either through drafts or reverse psychology from friends and/or family. One cannot deny that the strong scenes are the most touching and admiring ones to watch. Louis Zamperini was a hero and role model, albeit unintentional, in a number of ways and his journey is amazing to watch.

“Who is the Olympic Athlete?”
- Watanabe

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Unbroken (2014).

Movies Similar 
12 Years A Slave (2013)
Atonement (2007)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Fury (2014)
Hidden Figures (2017)
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Race (2016)
Red Tails (2012)
Silence (2017)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Valkyrie (2008) 

Cast & Crew
Directed by Angelina Jolie
Writing Credits
Produced by 
     Matthew Baer          ---   producer
     Mick Garris              ---   executive producer
     Holly Goline             ---   co-producer
     Jon Jashni                ---   executive producer
     Angelina Jolie          ---   producer
     Joseph P. Reidy       ---   co-producer
     Erwin Stoff               ---   producer
     Clayton Townsend   ---   producer
     Thomas Tull             ---   executive producer
     Michael Vieira          ---   co-producer
     Nathan Wiley           ---   producer: bts
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
Film Editing by William Goldenberg and Tim Squyres
Production Design by Jon Hutman
     Jack O'Connell                       ---      Louis Zamperini
     Domhnall Gleeson                ---      Phil
     Garrett Hedlund                    ---      Fitzgerald
     Miyavi                                       ---      Watanabe
     Finn Wittrock                         ---      Mac
     Jai Courtney                           ---      Cup
     Maddalena Ischiale              ---      Louise
     Vincenzo Amato                     ---      Anthony
     John Magaro                          ---      Tinker
     Luke Treadaway                    ---      Miller
     Louis McIntosh                      ---      Harris
     Ross Anderson                       ---      Blackie
     C.J. Valleroy                           ---      Young Louie
     John D'Leo                              ---      Young Pete
     Alex Russell                            ---      Older Pete
     Jordan Patrick Smith          ---      Clift
     Spencer Rocco Lofranco    ---      Harry Brooks
     Stephen J. Douglas               ---      Clarence Douglas
     Marcus Vanco                         ---      Lambert
     Ryan Ahern                             ---      Glassman
     Ross Langley                           ---      Mitchell
     Michael Whalley                    ---      Stan Pillsbury
     Anthony Phelan                     ---      Priest
     David Roberts                        ---      Officer Collier
     Sandy Winton                         ---      Coach

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