Review of "Unbroken (DVD)"

published 12/08/2017 | IzzyS
Member since : 27/07/2006
Reviews : 723
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About me :
Thanks for all rates. Let me know if I dont re-rate you - I will rectify it ASAP. My thoughts go to all affected by the recent tragedies.
Super
Pro Relatively atmospheric, engrossing, interesting plot (based on a true story),
Cons A bit long winded, lack of much detail about main characters upbringing/childhood
exceptional
Did you enjoy it?
Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

"A Sobering Watch Based On A True Story"

- Story -

This film is based on a true story. After surviving a plane crash during the 2nd world war, a Olympian by the name of Louis Zamperini finds himself spending over 40 days out at sea in a small raft, with a couple of air crew for company. However, he is discovered by the Japanese navy and then becomes a prisoner of war.

- More Info., Thoughts & Opinions -

This is a biographical historical drama and it features themes including survival, training and imprisonment. Another key term I'd use is endurance. Its a somewhat apt film, in as much as it depicts a son of an immigrant family, who had a relatively tough time growing up and wanted to prove his worth and talent. The film opens with a scene depicting planes firing at one another, i.e. an air battle, above sea, although as a viewer its rather unclear whats going on as its a bit long winded and we haven't been introduced to Louis yet. I felt it did well at portraying Louis strugglesm the highs and obviously lows of his situations.

I found it a little frustrating how it seemed to cut between different times in Louis life, chronologically speaking. There are scenes of him running, training for the Olympics etc. and scenes of people trying to trace his crashed plane in the ocean. The film is fairly long at 2 hours and 17 minutes running time (or thereabouts) and I felt that some scenes were perhaps a bit unnecessarily long winded, although I wouldn't say it ruined the film for me as such. Some scenes I found quite gripping, with a good use of cinematography such as when the plane crash lands, seeing the descent as if looking from within the plane towards the ocean itself, I almost wanted to look away as it did seem quite scary for some moments - understandably so! if anything, it was a little disorientating and may not be great for anyone who suffers from motion sickness. The fact its based on a true story made it all the more intriguing for me, as I like to watch some films about peoples lives, to try and get an idea of how things were in the past, although I knew this would be a (for the most part) rather unsettling and grisly/harrowing watch, as I knew before seeing it, that Louis ended up a prisoner of war.

I don't tend to purposefully seek out war films as such but the fact that this was/is Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, that piqued my interest enough to want to give it a watch. I found it relatively engrossing, the desperation of the crew while stuck on a dinghy at sea seeming very realistic and compelling somehow.

Cast wise, Jack O'Connell plays the main character, Louis Zamperini. He was well cast, reminding me somewhat slightly of Forrest Gump, not in that he has any form of retardation as such but in scenes of him running, looking very determined and proud of his clear skill (a la 'Run Forrest, Run!'). Meanwhile, Domhnall Gleeson plays fellow crewman Phil, Garrett Hedlund plays Fitzgerald and Miyavi plays Watanabe.

As far as the music is concerned, its mostly relatively subdued, i.e. not unncessarily loud and overly Hollywood-ised, if you know what I mean. Its mostly background music. Ok it probably isn't greatly subtle as such but I'm pretty sure I've seen films in which the music was played louder and more frequently and became a bit distracting and over bearing, which I didn't feel this film was too guilty of. In some scenes there's no music but in a way that works, as it helps to highlight the isolation the characters were dealing with at that time, so I can hardly mark it down for that, I feel.

Content wise, the film contains many instances of moderate violence, including bloody violence. Of course, due to the plot, torture plays a part and it is often quite grim to watch. There are also scenes of partial nudity and characters are shown clearly partly emaciated, skinny and with their ribcages partly visible. There is the ocassional use of moderately strong language and fairly obviously derrogatory terms used regardind Americans, the Japanese etc. The film is generally quite grim and thus may be a tough watch. Its fairly depressing in tone at times, so it certainly won't appeal to all. The film has been given a 15 rating in light of this.

I felt that, if anything, it may have been better if we'd had more insight in to Louis upbringing, more scenes of his issues during his childhood and the like. I definitely did feel sorry for him but in a way, I felt that perhaps we didn't quite know enough about him personally to feel as emotionally attached to, or worried about, him as we might be. Having said that, the film has quite a long running time as it is (no pun intended, given his talent at running!).

As far as the accuracy of the plot, or the film in general, is concerned (given it claims to be based on a true story) I can't be sure of quite how accurate it is. Its an adaptation of a non fiction book written by Laura Hillenbrand back in 2010. The film screenplay was written by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, plus Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson. There are always complaints from people about such historical, war related films coming out of America being somewhat biased to America, although this film is far more centered in on the brutality of Japanese people running prisoner of war (POW) camps. Obviously I've no experience of this or ability to comment either way about it but I imagine that both nations have done quite grim things at times, so I suppose thats all I can say really.

- Would I Recommend It? -

Overall, yes I probably would recommend this. I don't think I'd say its one of the best war related films of all time or anything like that and I do feel that the main character needed a bit of extra development somehow but I did find it pretty engrossing and atmospheric. It is somewhat long winded but for what it is, it tells an interesting (if sad/depressing) story relatively well, so on that basis, yes I'd recommend it.

- Availability -

If your interested in seeing this, you can buy it on DVD for £13.99 at Amazon UK, at time of publishing this review.

- Final Note / Thank You -

Thank you for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks, as ever, for any and all rates and comments. This review may be published elsewhere but where this applies, it'll be posted alongside the same username.

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 16/08/2017
    e :o)
  • kiss_me2070 published 15/08/2017
    Very well reviewed. I enjoyed this.
  • justarube published 14/08/2017
    Good review
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Product Information : Unbroken (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Classification: 15 years and over

Production Year: 2014

Actor(s): Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Luke Treadaway

DVD Region: DVD

Video Category: Feature Film

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Jolie, Angelina

EAN: 5053083028138

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Listed on Ciao since: 28/01/2016