Unbroken (film)

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Unbroken
The back of a skinny young man, holds a huge metallic beam above his head. The film's slogan is above him, and the film's title and release above the beam. The billing is at the two sides of the poster.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAngelina Jolie
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onUnbroken
by Laura Hillenbrand
Starring
Music byAlexandre Desplat
CinematographyRoger Deakins
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • November 17, 2014 (2014-11-17) (Sydney)
  • December 25, 2014 (2014-12-25) (United States)
Running time
137 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$65 million[2]
Box office$163.4 million[3]

Unbroken is a 2014 American war film produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, written by the Coen brothers, Richard LaGravenese, and William Nicholson, based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. The film stars Jack O'Connell as USA Olympian and army officer Louis "Louie" Zamperini, who survived in a raft for 47 days after his bomber crash-landed in the ocean during the Second World War, then was sent to a series of prisoner of war camps.

The film had its world premiere in Sydney on November 17, 2014, followed by a London premiere at the Leicester Square Odeon on November 26, 2014.[4] The film was released in the United States on December 25, 2014. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $163 million worldwide.

Plot[edit]

During an April 1943 bombing mission against the Japanese-held island of Nauru, Louis "Louie" Zamperini is flying as a bombardier of a United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber when his plane is damaged in combat, with a number of the crew injured. The pilot, Phil, brings it to a stop at the end of the runway suffering from an exploded tire.

As a young Italian-American boy in Torrance, Louie misbehaves by stealing, drinking liquor and smoking. He is often picked on by others due to his Italian ethnicity. His brother Peter sees how fast Louie can run and decides to train him to be a runner. Louie becomes disciplined and becomes a distance runner, earning the nickname "The Torrance Tornado". Louie comes in 8th in the 1936 Summer Olympics and sets a record in the final lap for the 5,000-meter race.

Returning to 1943, Louie, the surviving crew and several replacements are sent on a search-and-rescue mission with a plane previously used for spare parts. One left engine fails, while the crew bungles the remaining engine, and they crash in the ocean. Louie, Mac, and Phil survive, living on two inflatable rafts. On the 27th day they attract the attention of a Japanese plane, which strafes and damages the rafts but misses them. Mac dies 6 days later. On the 47th day, Japanese sailors capture Louie and Phil. Now, prisoners of war, Louie and Phil are put in a Kwajalein Atoll dungeon. The Japanese ask Louie and Phil for information about E-class bombers and the Norden bombsight. Louie states they flew D-class and draws a rendition of a Philco radio. They are dragged out to disrobe and kneel on planks. Instead of an execution, they are crudely washed to ship them to Japan. Upon arrival, the two are separated and sent to different POW camps.

Louie's camp, Ōmori, in Tokyo, is headed by Japanese corporal Mutsuhiro Watanabe who is especially tough on Louie, beating him often. Louie is given an opportunity to broadcast a message home saying he is alive after learning the US government classified him as KIA. When refusing to broadcast a second message with anti-American propaganda, he's sent back to camp where Watanabe has each prisoner punch him.

After two years, Watanabe gets a promotion and leaves the camp. The camp is damaged when Tokyo is bombed, so Louie and the others are forced to move to Naoetsu prison camp. Louie discovers that Watanabe is, again, in charge and the prisoners are put to work loading coal barges. Louie pauses during work, so Watanabe makes him lift a large beam, ordering a guard to shoot Louie if he drops it. Louie successfully lifts and holds it up, despite exhaustion. This enrages Watanabe as Louie stares him straight in the eye, provoking him to beat Louie severely.

At the end of the war, Louie and the other prisoners in the camp are liberated when the Americans occupy Japan. Louie tried to find Watanabe in his quarters but realizes he had fled. Louie sits down and stares at a picture of Watanabe as a child standing with his father. He is returned back home to America, Louie kisses the ground just as he arrives home to his family.

At the end of the film, there is a slideshow that shows what happened after the war. The real Louis married and had two children. Phil survived, also marrying. Mutsuhiro "The Bird" Watanabe went into hiding and evaded prosecution despite being in the top 40 most-wanted Japanese war criminals list by General Douglas MacArthur. Louie lived out his promise to convert to Christianity, devote his life to God, believe in Jesus Christ, and forgive his war-time captors, meeting with many of them. Watanabe, however, refused to meet with Louie.

Louie had an opportunity to relive his time as an Olympian when he ran a leg of the Olympic Torch relay for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He was four days short of his 81st birthday. The stretch he ran was not far from one of the POW camps where he was held. The closing titles reveal Louie Zamperini died on July 2, 2014, at age 97.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Universal Pictures purchased the rights to the book in January 2011, having already acquired the film rights to Zamperini's life story towards the end of the 1950s.[5] 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.[6]

On September 30, 2013, Jolie was confirmed to direct the film in Australia.[7] Jolie was paid a $1 million salary for directing the film.[8] Walden Media was originally set as Universal's co-financier,[9] but withdrew from the project prior to filming and were subsequently replaced by Legendary Pictures.[2] The filming was based in New South Wales and Queensland, with scenes also shot in Fox Studios Australia and Village Roadshow Studios.

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on October 16, 2013, in Queensland, Australia and ended on February 4, 2014,[10] with post-production also being done in Australia.[11]

Some of the scenes were shot at sea in Moreton Bay on October 16, 2013.[12] On December 14, four days of filming were completed in Werris Creek, New South Wales.[13] Other scenes were shot at Cockatoo Island (New South Wales).[14]

Music[edit]

The official film soundtrack was released on December 15, 2014, through Parlophone and Atlantic Records. The film score was composed by Alexandre Desplat.[15] 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.[16][17]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Unbroken grossed $115.6 million in the U.S. and Canada and $47.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $163 million, against a budget of $65 million.

The film opened in North America on December 25, 2014, across 3,131 theaters and grossed $15.6 million on its opening day (including Christmas Eve 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.[18][19] The film was among one of the four widely released films 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).[20] 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).[21] and fourth biggest among World War II theme movies.[22] 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.[22]

Critical response[edit]

Miyavi, Angelina Jolie, Jack O'Connell, Matthew Baer at Unbroken World Premiere in Sydney

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 50% based on 220 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical 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."[23] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100 based on 48 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[24] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale. The audience was 52 percent female and 71 percent over the age of 25.[22]

The SAG Nominating Committee gave it a standing ovation after a screening.[25]

The score received a mixed critical reaction. Callum Hofler of Entertainment Junkie stated, "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 criticized 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.[26] 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.[27]

Controversies[edit]

Prior to the film's release, some Japanese nationalists asked for the film and the director to be banned from their country, largely because of a part in Hillenbrand's book, which was not depicted in the film, where she writes "POWs were beaten, burned, stabbed, or clubbed to death, shot, beheaded, killed during medical experiments, or eaten alive in ritual acts of cannibalism" by the Imperial Japanese Army.[28][29] A petition on Change.org calling for a ban attracted more than 10,000 signatures.[30] In response, it triggered a Change.org petition by Dutch Indonesian group The Indo Project voicing support for the movie, as they saw it as a reflection of what their family members in the former Dutch East Indies experienced in Japanese camps. Several prominent Dutch Indos (including those who are not descendants of former POWs), such as author Adriaan van Dis, Doe Maar frontman Ernst Jansz, and actress Wieteke van Dort, signed the petition in support of the film.[31] Another petition on Change.org calling for a release of the film in Japan, this time in Japanese, gathered more than 1,200 signatures.[30] The film was eventually released in Japan on February 6, 2016, by independent distributor Bitters End on a much smaller scale than originally intended, while Toho-Towa, the usual distributor of Universal titles, had passed on releasing the film.[32]

The film received some criticism for omitting Zamperini's fight against alcoholism and PTSD, as well as his Billy Graham-inspired religious conversion.[33][34]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result References
Academy Awards February 22, 2015 Best Cinematography Roger Deakins Nominated [35]
Best Sound Editing Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro Nominated
Best Sound Mixing Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee Nominated
American Film Institute December 8, 2014 Top Ten Films of the Year Won [36]
Art Directors Guild Awards January 31, 2015 Excellence in Production Design for a Period Film Jon Hutman Nominated [37]
ASC Award February 15, 2015 Theatrical Motion Picture Roger Deakins Nominated [38]
Cinema Audio Society Awards February 14, 2015 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture – Live Action David Lee, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Jonathan Allen, Paul Drenning, John Guentner Nominated [39]
Critics' Choice Movie Award January 15, 2015 Best Picture Nominated [40]
Best Director Angelina Jolie Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Joel and Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson Nominated
Best Cinematography Roger Deakins Nominated
Empire Awards March 29, 2015 Best Male Newcomer Jack O'Connell Nominated [41]
Hollywood Film Awards November 14, 2014 New Hollywood Award Jack O'Connell Won [42]
Houston Film Critics Society Awards January 12, 2015 Best Cinematography Roger Deakins Nominated [43][44]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards February 14, 2015 Best Period and/or Character Make-Up in Feature Length Motion Picture Toni G. and Nik Dorning Nominated [45]
MPSE Golden Reel Awards February 15, 2015 Feature English Language - Dialogue/ADR Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro, Laura Atkinson, Glynna Grimala, Lauren Hadaway Won [46]
Feature English Language - Effects/Foley Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro, Jay Wilkinson, Eric A. Norris, David Raines, Dan O'Connell, John T. Cucci, Karen Triest, Dan Hegeman, Nancy MacLeod, Darren "Sunny" Warkentin Nominated
National Board of Review December 2, 2014 Top 10 Films Won [47]
Breakthrough Performance Jack O'Connell (also for Starred Up) Won
Saturn Awards June 25, 2015 Best Action or Adventure Film Unbroken Won [48]
Best Editing William Goldenberg, Tim Squyres Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 25, 2015 Outstanding Action Performance By Stunt Ensemble Motion Picture Unbroken Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association December 15, 2014 Best Screenplay: Adapted Joel and Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson Nominated [49]
Best Cinematography Roger Deakins Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards February 4, 2015 Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture Bill George, Steve Gaub, Erin Dusseault, Dave Morley, Brian Cox Nominated [50]

Home media[edit]

Unbroken was released on March 24, 2015 in the United States in two formats: a one-disc standard DVD and a Blu-ray Combo pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy).[51]

Sequel[edit]

A faith-based film also based on Hillenbrand's book, titled Unbroken: Path to Redemption, which depicts later events of Zamperini's life than those depicted in Unbroken, was released by Pure Flix Entertainment on September 14, 2018. It was directed by Harold Cronk with the script written by Richard Friedenberg and Ken Hixon. Aside from producer Matthew Baer, none of the original cast or crew was involved in the new film.[52]

See also[edit]

  • The Great Raid, a 2005 war film about the raid at Cabanatuan in the Philippines during World War II.
  • To End All Wars, a movie set in a Japanese prisoner of war labour camp where the inmates are building the Burma Railway during World War II.
  • Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, a 1983 Japanese war film based on the story of a Japanese POW camp during WWII.
  • My Way, a 2011 South Korean war film based on the story of a Korean captured by the Americans on D-Day.
  • List of World War II films

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Unbroken (15)". British Board of Film Classification. November 27, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Horn, John (April 18, 2014). "Angelina Jolie breaks the curse of 'Unbroken'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Unbroken (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  4. ^ "Ikon London Magazine coverage from the film premiere". Ikon London Magazine. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  5. ^ Staff reports (June 9, 2014). "What you need to know about Louis Zamperini movie 'Unbroken' directed by Angelina Jolie". Pasadena Star-News. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  6. ^ Kit, Borys (February 23, 2013). "Coen Brothers to Rewrite Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Frater, Patrick (30 September 2013). "Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' Set to Shoot in Oz". Variety. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  8. ^ THR Staff (September 29, 2016). "Hollywood Salaries 2016: Who Got Raises (and Who Didn't), From Movie Stars to Showrunners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. "Walden Media Set To Co-Finance Louis Zamperini Film 'Unbroken'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Unbroken" (PDF). Universal Studios. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  11. ^ Bulbeck, Pip (30 September 2013). "Angelina Jolie Confirmed to Direct 'Unbroken' in Australia". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Unbroken Synopsis". onlinecinematickets.com. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  13. ^ Clifford, Catherine (14 December 2013). "Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie starts filming scenes for the movie 'Unbroken' in Werris Creek". ABC News. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  14. ^ Angelina Jolie directs Unbroken in the Australian heat | Daily Mail Online
  15. ^ "Alexandre Desplat: Unbroken (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  16. ^ "New song Miracles unveiled". Coldplay.com. December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "'Unbroken' Soundtrack Details". filmmusicreporter.com. November 29, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  18. ^ Scott Mendelson (December 26, 2014). "Christmas Box Office: 'Unbroken,' 'Into The Woods' Score Above, 'Selma,' 'American Sniper' Score Below". Forbes. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  19. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro and Brian Brooks (December 26, 2014). "'Unbroken' Leads But 'Into The Woods' Back In Race – Christmas B.O. Update". Deadlone.com. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  20. ^ Scott Mendelson (December 27, 2014). "Friday Box Office: Jolie's 'Unbroken' Tops 'Into The Woods,' 'The Interview' Drops Hard". Forbes. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  21. ^ Scott Mendelson (December 28, 2014). "Box Office: 'Unbroken' Nabs $47M, 'Into The Woods' Conjures $46M Over Christmas Weekend". Forbes. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c Ray Subers (December 28, 2014). "Weekend Report: 'Hobbit,' 'Unbroken,' 'Into the Woods' Score on Final Weekend of 2014". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  23. ^ "Unbroken (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  24. ^ "Unbroken Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  25. ^ "Oscar Contender 'Unbroken' Unveiled to Audiences at Last". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  26. ^ Hofler, Callum (22 November 2014). "'Unbroken' Score Review". Entertainment Junkie. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  27. ^ Jorn, Tillnes (15 December 2014). "Soundtrack Review: Unbroken". Soundtrack Geek. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  28. ^ Ryall, Julian (December 8, 2014). "Japan's nationalists attack Angelina Jolie war film". The Telegraph. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  29. ^ Hillenbrand, Laura (2010). Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Random House. p. 315. ISBN 978-1-4000-6416-8.
  30. ^ a b Ishikawa, Tomoya (March 17, 2015). "Jolie movie 'Unbroken' struggling to find distributor amid heavy criticism". Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  31. ^ "BN'ers tekenen petitie film Unbroken van Angelina Jolie". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  32. ^ Schilling, Mark (October 21, 2015). "Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' Finally Set For Release in Japan". Variety. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  33. ^ Clayson, Amber (December 18, 2014). "'Unbroken' faith: The religious journey of Louis Zamperini". Deseret News. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  34. ^ Pulliam Bailey, Sarah (December 18, 2014). "Will 'Unbroken' disappoint Christians?". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  35. ^ "Oscar Nominations: 'Grand Budapest Hotel' & 'Birdman' Lead Way With 9 Noms; 'Imitation Game' Scores 8". Deadline Hollywood. January 15, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  36. ^ "AFI Tope Ten Films". Reuters. December 8, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  37. ^ "'Birdman', 'Foxcatcher' Among Art Directors Guild Nominees". Deadline Hollywood. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  38. ^ "ASC Awards Nominees: 'Birdman', 'Unbroken', 'Mr Turner' On Cinematographers List". Deadline Hollywood. January 7, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  39. ^ "Cinema Audio Society Nominates 'American Sniper,' 'True Detective' and More". Indiewire. January 13, 2015. Archived from the original on January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  40. ^ "'Birdman,' 'Grand Budapest' Top Critics Choice Awards Nominations". Variety. December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  41. ^ The Jameson Empire Awards 2015
  42. ^ "Winners". hollywoodawards.com. December 8, 2014. Archived from the original on December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  43. ^ "Houston Film Critics Announce Nominees". AwardsDaily. December 16, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  44. ^ "'Boyhood,' Larry McMurtry and the 'Grand Budapest' poster win Houston critics awards". Hitfix. January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  45. ^ "'Guardians of the Galaxy', 'Into the Woods', Lead Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  46. ^ "'Birdman,' 'Apes' Top 2015 Golden Reel Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. January 14, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  47. ^ "National Board of Review Announces 2014 Winners". Nationalboardofreview.org. December 2, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  48. ^ 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and 'Interstellar' Lead Saturn Awards Noms
  49. ^ "'Birdman,' 'Grand Budapest' lead St. Louis film critics nominations". Hitfix. December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  50. ^ "Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations Announced". Deadline Hollywood. January 13, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  51. ^ "Unbroken – Blu-Ray". Archived from the original on March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  52. ^ Vasquez, Zach (August 24, 2018). "No rights allowed: the strange world of unofficial movie sequels". The Guardian. Retrieved September 14, 2018.

External links[edit]