As soon as I saw the trailer for director Angelina Jolie’s new film Unbroken, I knew this was one I had to see. English actor Jack O’Connell gave, in my opinion, the performance of his young career thus far; his portrayal of Olympian Louis Zamperini was heartfelt – you felt every word, punch, bruise and scar as Louis hung onto life with both hands through some truly horrific circumstances.
This film had me gripped from the start; you’re given a front seat aboard a World War Two US Air Corps B-24 Liberator bomber as it goes into battle against a Japanese-held island. It felt as if you were part of the crew as you’re given access to all areas of the bomber, with bullets whizzing by just inches from your ears. The film is perfectly paced and gives you a chance to get to know Louis before his trials and tribulations begin; Louis and a member of his crew survive 47 days in a life raft after their battered B-24 crashes into the Pacific. As if this wasn’t harrowing enough, what follows really does separate the mice from the men – a Japanese P.O.W. camp governed by the notorious Mutsushiro Watanabe (played by Miyavi – keep your eyes on this one, he may be new to acting but he certainly has a talent for it).
Powerful, inspiring and a privilege to watch, Unbroken is a film which occupies your thoughts long after the credits have ended, just like all great biopics should. ***** (5 out of 5 stars)
I was saddened to hear that 97-year-old Louis passed away in June 2014 and never got a chance to see the film that he had been consulted on. He really was an inspiring and courageous man; and the world is all the poorer for losing him. Biopics are powerful at the best of times, but this one is definitely a front runner. Forget physical strength, Louis shows that mental toughness is what gets you through life – especially when you feel like you’re running on empty. There’s also a lesson here on the art of forgiveness.
Watching this film was a privilege. If you get a chance, visit www.louiszamperini.net for more information.