Jack O’Connell, Takamasa ‘Miyavi’, Ishihara
She is one of the few influential women directors in contemporary cinema. A follow-up to her Balkan war drama In the Land of Blood and Honey (as yet unreleased here), actress-turned-auteur Angelina Jolie’s second feature recounts the scarcely believable true-life story of the World War II hero Louis Zamperini (British newcomer O’Connell, compelling). An Olympic athlete who competed at the 1936 games in Berlin, the Italian-American put his track career on hold to volunteer for the US air force. He survives a plane crash, and spends over a month adrift in a life raft before being rescued by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
The opening aerial attack, augmented by Roger Deakins’ stunning cinematography, is interspersed with flashbacks to the Olympian’s rebellious youth. Set within the confines of the Tokyo internment camps, the final stretch of the overly prolonged tale is harrowing. Worse, the dialogue is replete with such trite homilies as the frequently repeated, "If you can take it, you can make it". Watch: Unbroken trailer Somehow, the prisoner weathers the inhuman brutality to return home as a hero at the end of the war.