Unbroken, 2015

Unbroken is a gripping WW2 drama directed by Angelina Jolie and based on the true story of US Air Force gunner and Olympic runner Louis Zamperini played by Jack O’Connell.

Louis and his two crew airmen survive a mission crash and after many days of starvation and sunstroke at sea, find themselves in a Japanese P.O.W. camp. The Japanese sergeant in charge recognises Louis and begins a sadistic process of maltreatment and torture to punish him for being an enemy of Japan. Louis proves difficult to “break”, frustrating his torturer who inflicts increasingly brutal punishment. But Louis is extraordinarily resilient and a battle of wills develops in which there can only be one victor.

The portrayal of Sergeant Mutsuhiro Watanabe by actor Miyavi is entirely convincing; a feat in itself considering that he is also a Japanese musician and record producer. Jack O’Connell’s character too is convincing, albeit in an understated way. There are few splashes of blood and gore; the camera preferring to show lingering close up facial expressions of the prisoner and torturer as they square off to each other day to day. Watanabe in particular did not like the way Zamperini steadfastly stared into his eyes, often shouting “Don’t look at me”. Presumably most prisoners looked down at their feet.

The film was well received by critics generally, winning many awards including Movie of the year by American Film Industry Awards, USA 2015. It was also nominated for Cinematography, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing Oscars. It has grossed over USD 161.5m in revenue worldwide.

In conclusion, Unbroken is a well filmed , well acted and riveting movie experience.

Greg Moore