A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Unbroken shatters all expectations

One of the most packed, inspirational and well-done films I have ever seen, Unbroken shattered all expectations. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the film about Louis Zamperini was filled with raw messages and scenes, communicating Zamperini’s inspiring true story to millions.

The film begins with a young, Italian, trouble-making boy, Louis Zamperini. Before the audience knew it, Zamperini had trained his way to qualifying for the Olympics of 1936 in Berlin. Through various childhood flashbacks, and scenes with Zamperini as a bombardier on a U.S. plane, background information is given to fill the audience in on his already troubled and intricate past. When something goes amiss with the plane, the action starts to roll, beginning the start of his incredible story of “survival, resilience and redemption.”

The film had an excellent story line, complete with action 100% of the 137 minutes. Life changing events were consistently occurring, making the movie more complex, compelling and involved as it continued. When the audience was sure Zamperini’s life could not get any more dangerous, difficult or incredible, the actors smoothly transitioned into the next dilemma. The abundance of plot twists (however non-fictional) maintained my interest and engagement, despite plenty of vividly gruesome scenes. Based on a true story and a best selling novel, a majority of Unbroken’s success originates in its authenticity. The depth of Zamperini’s struggles would have been unbearable without the knowledge that he survived them all and then lived to the ripe age of 97, passing recently in 2014. The truth behind the story made it that much more realistic.

Not only did the plot contribute to Unbroken’s quality, but the acting throughout the film perfectly conveyed Zamperini’s story. Jack O’Connell played Zamperini with vigor and passion. He was a character that the audience would be crazy not to feel compassion for, but was also able to portray Zamperini how it is told he really was, doing justice to the recently deceased national hero. O’Connell’s good looks and ability to play his part authentically drew all kinds of audiences to the theatres to hear the incredible story.

Apart from O’Connell, Japanese musician, Miyavi played the role of the notorious Mutsuhiro “Bird” Watanabe, the lethal Japanese corporal at the prisoners of war camp. Miyavi’s acting gave the audience a glimpse into the sense of the terror U.S. soldiers endure when in captivity, through torturous but important scenes. The “bird’s” constant and unwarranted hatred of Zamperini was pivotal to the film, acting as a character foil, highlighting Zamperini’s strength and courageousness.

Overall, Unbroken is a must-see. It gives insight into the harsh realities of war, while paying tribute to a national hero and soldiers throughout history. A difficult story to fully comprehend, Jolie did an inspiring job sharing Zamperini’s story.