Cinematic: ‘Unbroken,’ a tale of survival and courage


The Magnet Tribune:

The official Unbroken movie poster.

Jesus Hernandez, Cinematic columnist

War is not a movie. Yet we still produce them, add twists, romance and most of them don’t really show the reality of war. Yet courage is something very few have during these periods of times.

The story of Louis Zamperini was first mentioned after he survived World War II. He was an athlete, airman and prisoner of war, yet despite his p.o.w experience he remained ‘Unbroken’.

Unbroken (the book), written by Laura Hillenbrand, was first published on November 16, 2010 and soon received critical acclaim for the story of Zamperini and the overall message it had. It quickly became a New York Times best seller, staying 14 weeks at number one; the fifth longest running nonfiction best seller of all time.

Universal Pictures purchased the rights to the book and in 2014 ‘Unbroken’ was released in theaters.

On its opening weekend the film received $31.7 million from theaters and during its lifespan for a total of $163 million as of May 11. The film is directed by Angelina Jolie and stars Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), Philips (Domhnall Gleeson), Mac (Finn Wittrock) and ‘The Bird’ (Miyavi).

The film’s overall story is courage and bravery. Zamperini is a poorly behaved child from the start but soon decides to join sports in high school which turns his life around. He later joins the U.S. Army Air Force.

He was an athlete, airman and prisoner of war, yet despite his P.O.W. experience he remained ‘Unbroken’.”

— Jesus Hernandez

Since the film is similar to the book a lot of the same story line and details are kept but just like with any great book, some details had to be cut to fit and to adjust to a film audience. While the film did seem wonderful in every aspect, it felt a little too bland in a sense that we knew what was going to happen. The book itself brought you into this adventure not found in the film. Moments that were supposed to feel empowering felt tedious. It almost felt like a cliché.

One thing the film does better than the book is show the history and facts of being a prisoner of war. With the help of Zamperini himself, the film was able to capture great scenes and moments just as he had lived them through. Everything from being lost a sea or being in the camp felt real, and the actors did a marvelous job. While from the start we sort of knew the film was going to receive criticism that didn’t stop the writer nor the director from producing a true film.

‘Unbroken’ makes you realize that life is not perfect and sometimes life is unfair but having courage and not losing hope is worth a lot; it can help you overcome even the darkest days.

‘Unbroken’ is a film that will make you have courage and just make you appreciate life. It is a film I personally look upon too to find hope. It’s an inspiring film that I believe everyone should take the time to watch.

Louis Zamperini passed away on July 2, 2014, a few months before the film was released. He was able to see the film through a computer while at the hospital with the help of producers, before he died.

“One moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory,” said Zamperini during an interview with Hillenbrand after the book was released.