Angelina Jolie has advanced her directing career with a real winner in the powerful war drama Unbroken.
Backed by an all-star writing team of Joel and Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson, Jolie has created an impactful film on the true-life story of Olympic runner and World War II Air Force bombardier Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell).
When his defective plane crashes into the sea while on a rescue mission near Japan, Zamperini and 2 other crew members spend 45 days stranded at sea, surviving storms and sharks.
After one of them succumbs, Zamperini and his pilot (Domhnall Gleeson) are “rescued” by a Japanese warship and, subsequently, thrown into prisoner-of-war camps where Zamperini is subjected to the sadistic torture of the camp commander (Takamasa Ishihara).
Jolie deftly prevents the story from becoming documentary and is especially adept at keeping the intensity to the action tense while the characters are at sea.
But, even with the great writing team and the brilliant cinematography of Roger Deakins it is difficult to keep the same intensity within a war camp. As I mentioned in my review of Rosewater, being a prisoner is boring and, even with the punishment to which Zamperini is subjected, the second half of the film sometimes lags.
Still, this is an inspirational drama worthy of anyone who sometimes feels their life might be too much to handle. That’s just about everyone.
Unbroken gets a 4+ out of 5 and I look forward to Jolie’s next effort.