Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Angelina Jolie|
|Produced by||Angelina Jolie
|Screenplay by||Joel and Ethan Coen
by Laura Hillenbrand
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Edited by||Tim Squyres|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$141.2 million|
Unbroken is a 2014 American biographical war drama film, produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. The film revolves around the life of USA Olympian and athlete Louis "Louie" Zamperini, portrayed by Jack O'Connell. Zamperini, who survived in a raft for 47 days after his bomber was downed in World War II, and was sent to a series of prisoner of war camps.
The film opens showing Louis "Louie" Zamperini flying as a bombardier of a United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber, during an April 1943 bombing mission against the Japanese-held island of Nauru. The plane is badly damaged in combat, with a number of the crew injured. The brakes of the plane are shot away, but the pilot, Phil, manages to bring it to a stop at the end of the runway thanks to a flat tire.
The film flashes back to Louie's childhood as a young Italian-American boy in Torrance, California. Louie is a troublemaker, stealing, drinking liquor, and smoking, to the disappointment of his parents. He is picked on by other kids for being Italian. One day, Louie is caught looking up women's dresses from under bleachers during a track meet, and runs. His brother Peter sees how fast he runs, and decides to train him to be a runner. Peter trains Louie every day to become his best. As he grows, Louie becomes an accomplished distance runner, earning him the nickname "The Torrance Tornado," and eventually qualifies for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Louie does surprisingly well in the Olympics, coming in 8th and setting a record for speed in the final lap in the 5000 metres race, running it in 56 seconds.
Returning to 1943, Louie and the surviving crew of the previous mission, along with replacement crewmen, are sent on a search and rescue mission with a plane that had previously been used for spare parts. Louie does not believe that the plane is airworthy, but the others tell him that it is suitable. During the mission, however, both of the plane's left engines fail, causing them to crash in the ocean. Louie and two others, Mac and Phil (the pilot of this, and the previous mission) survive and live on two inflatable rafts. After three days, a search plane flies over them but does not see them and they are unable to get its attention. On the 27th day, they get the attention of a Japanese plane, which strafes the floating rafts but misses them. On the 33rd day Mac dies, leaving only Louie and Phil.
On the 47th day, Japanese forces capture Louie and Phil and they become prisoners of war. The Japanese force Louie and Phil to tell them what they know about the Allies. Louie tells them that he doesn't know anything because he's been stuck on the raft for more than a month. Their captors do not believe them and send Louie and Phil to a P.O.W. camp.
Louie and Phil are separated into different camps. The camp in Tokyo, where Zamperini is sent, is headed by a Japanese corporal, Mutsuhiro "Bird" Watanabe, who treats him very cruelly, in part because of Zamperini's status as a former Olympian. Bird is especially tough on Louie out of jealousy, beating him often. Louie is given the opportunity to broadcast a message home saying that he is alive. When he refuses to broadcast a second message that would be anti-American he is sent back to camp where Watanabe has all the other prisoners punch him for not showing respect.
After two years, Watanabe gets a promotion and is taken out of the camp where Zamperini is being held. Louie is grateful that he is gone. One night the camp is damaged when Tokyo is bombed by American forces. Louie and the other internees are forced to move to another camp where Zamperini discovers, to his horror, that Watanabe is in charge. The prisoners are now put to work loading coal barges. One day after Louis sprains his ankle and is unable to work, "Bird" tells him to lift a giant piece of wood. Louis successfully lifts and holds up the wood, angering Watanabe and leading to a harsh beating. At the end of the war, Zamperini and the other prisoners in the camp are set free to return to their homes. Back home in America, he kisses the ground and hugs his family.
At the end of the film, there is a slideshow showing what happened after the war. Louis was married and had two children. Phil survived and eventually married his sweetheart. Mutsuhiro "Bird" Watanabe went into hiding for several years and successfully evaded prosecution in spite of being listed in the top 40 most-wanted Japanese war criminals by General Douglas MacArthur. Louie forgave his war-time captors and met with many of them. Watanabe, however, refused to meet with Zamperini.
In January 1998, Louis had an opportunity to revisit his time as an Olympian when he ran a leg of the Olympic Torch relay for the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. He was four days short of his 81st birthday. The site for his leg of the relay was not far from one of the POW camps where he was held during the war. The closing titles reveal that Zamperini died on July 2, 2014 at age 97.
- Jack O'Connell as Louis "Louie" Zamperini
- C.J. Valleroy as young Louis Zamperini
- Domhnall Gleeson as Russell "Phil" Phillips
- Garrett Hedlund as John Fitzgerald
- Miyavi as Mutsuhiro "The Bird" Watanabe
- Finn Wittrock as Francis "Mac" McNamara
- Jai Courtney as Charlton Hugh "Cup" Cupernell
- Luke Treadaway as Miller
- Travis Jeffery as Jimmy
- Jordan Patrick Smith as Cliff
- John Magaro as Frank A. Tinker
- Alex Russell as Pete Zamperini
- John D'Leo as Young Pete
- Vincenzo Amato as Anthony
- Ross Anderson as Blackie
- Maddalena Ischiale as Louise Zamperini
- Morgan Griffin as Cynthia Applewhite
- Savannah Lamble as Sylvia Zamperini
- Sophie Dalah as Virginia Zamperini
Universal Pictures purchased the rights to the book in January 2011, having already acquired the film rights to Zamperini's life towards the end of the 1950s. Early drafts for the film were written by William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese while Francis Lawrence was scheduled to direct. Joel and Ethan Coen were then tapped to rewrite the script after Jolie was named director.
On September 30, 2013, Jolie was confirmed to direct the film in Australia. Walden Media was originally set as Universal's co-financer, but withdrew from the project prior to filming and were subsequently replaced by Legendary Pictures. The filming was based in New South Wales and Queensland, with scenes also shot in Fox Studios Australia and Village Roadshow Studios.
Some of the scenes were shot at sea in Moreton Bay on October 16, 2013. On December 14, four days of filming were completed in Werris Creek, New South Wales. Other scenes were shot at Cockatoo Island (New South Wales)
The official film soundtrack was released on December 15, 2014, through Parlophone and Atlantic Records. The film score was composed by Alexandre Desplat. The album also features "Miracles", a song written and recorded by British alternative rock band Coldplay, which was released digitally as a single on December 15.
|Unbroken – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|1.||"We Are Here"||1:49|
|5.||"God Made the Stars"||1:40|
|6.||"Surprise Mac Attack"||1:39|
|11.||"Drive to Radio Tokyo"||1:19|
|13.||"Trip to Omori"||2:52|
|19.||"The Bird's Farewell"||2:24|
|22.||"The War Is Over"||6:02|
|24.||"Miracles" (Performed by Coldplay)||3:56|
Unbroken opened in the United States on December 25, 2014 across 3,131 theaters and grossed $15.59 million on its opening day (including previews) which is the third-biggest Christmas Day debut ever, behind Les Misérables ($18 million), and Sherlock Holmes ($24 million) and the fifth-biggest Christmas Day gross ever. The film was among one of the four widely released film on December 25, 2014, the other three being Walt Disney's Into the Woods (2,478 theaters), Paramount Pictures' The Gambler (2,478 theaters) and TWC's Big Eyes (1,307 theaters). It earned $31,748,000 in its traditional three-day opening weekend (including its revenue from Christmas Day it earned $47.3 million) debuting at #2 at the box office behind The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies setting a record for the third-biggest Christmas debut behind Sherlock Holmes ($62 million) and Marley & Me ($36 million). and fourth biggest among World World II theme movies. It was the eighth film that earned $25 million plus in its debut weekend for Universal Pictures and the fifth $30 million plus debut for an "original" movie following Lone Survivor, Ride Along, Neighbors and Lucy In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Unbroken an average grade of A- on an A+ to F scale.
Reviews for Unbroken have been mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 50%, based on 185 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's consensus reads, "Unbroken is undoubtedly well-intentioned, but it hits a few too many of the expected prestige-pic beats to register as strongly as it should." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Most critics emphasised the good intentions Jolie had in making the film, but noted that the execution was poor, especially towards the end. Richard Roeper called the film well-made, but one note. Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian said "It's just like an epic version of a motivational poster from Hallmark," which made glib attempts to connect motivational quotes to moments in Zamperini's childhood.
The score received a mixed critical reaction upon initial release. Callum Hofler of Entertainment Junkie stated during his review of the score that, "At its finest, Unbroken is perhaps Desplat's strongest and most resonant emotional work since The Tree of Life or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, both from 2011. It comes off as bold, ambitious, yet intimate and sentimental all the same. It can be an elegant and harmonious exploration of human determination, drive and spirit." He also criticised numerous components, claiming that, "In most cases though, the primary issue with the album is its lack of energy and vitality. There is many a time where the music seems to just sit in place, lacking major progression in character, motive or mindset." He awarded the score a final rating of 6 out of 10. Jorn Tillnes of Soundtrack Geek acclaimed the album, stating, "This score is pretty great. It’s been a really good year for Desplat. Godzilla and The Monuments Men at the top of the pile, but this is not far behind." He summarized with, "It is a turning point though for those who think Desplat is about boring bass rhythms and motifs. This might even get the haters to respect him as a composer." He awarded the score an 87.8 out of 100.
After an early screening, Japanese nationalists asked for the film and the director to be banned from their country, due to their accusation that the film shows them in a negative stereotypical light. In response, it triggered a petition by The Indo Project voicing support for the movie as they see it as a reflection of what their family members in the former Dutch East Indies experienced in Japanese camps. Several prominent Dutch Indos, including author Adriaan van Dis, Doe Maar-frontman Ernst Jansz, and actress Wieteke van Dort, have signed the petition in support of the film.
Soon after the movie was shown, many Christians were disappointed to learn that director Angelina Jolie had left out an important part of Zamperini's life: his conversion to Christianity. Jolie decided to leave out Zampirini's fight against alchoholism and PTSD while omitting his "Billy Graham-inspired religious conversion. Page text.
Awards and nominations
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, a 1983 Japanese war film based on the story of Laurens van der Post's experiences as a Japanese POW during WWII.
- My Way, a 2011 South Korean war film based on the story of a Korean named Yang Kyoungjong who was captured by the Americans on D-Day.
- WWII Historical Period Movies
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
- Louis Zamperini (1917-2014)
- Mutsuhiro Watanabe (1918-2003)
- To End All Wars, a film set in a Japanese prisoner of war labor camp in Burma during WWII.
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- Official website
- Unbroken at the Internet Movie Database
- Unbroken at Box Office Mojo
- Unbroken at Rotten Tomatoes
- Unbroken at Metacritic
- Unbroken at History vs. Hollywood