Angelina Jolie's second effort at directing a feature film is successful, albeit not remarkable or profound, with her story of Louis Zamperini in Unbroken.
The story of Louis Zamperini is one of remarkable perseverance and strength – if only the creative minds behind Unbroken channeled that same diligence into making a successfully impactful film.
Louis Zamperini is an example of the unsung hero and extraordinary American. His story is a moving one that deserves distinction. The tale of Louis Zamperini as told by Unbroken centers around his time as a soldier against Japanese forces during WWII and eventual internment as a prisoner of war. A man of impressive history, the narrative of Unbroken also delves into his childhood, his athletic endeavors as an Olympic runner and the miraculous but harrowing 47 days spent stranded at sea after a near-fatal plane crash.
Unbroken is not a bad film, it is actually a good film but unfortunately it is a film aspiring for greatness and eventual recognition – of which it falls quite short of achieving. As a whole, the cinematic experience from Unbroken is not satisfying. We as a viewer are shown beautiful cinematography from Roger Deakins of astounding events that seem to have no greater significance or implication. A film of this magnitude needs to have a profound a-ha moment of cohesion and relations and Unbroken doesn’t have it.
Unbroken suffers from lack of editing from an inability to have a clear ultimate purpose. Equally responsible for this lack of correlation within the narrative is the director Angelina Jolie and screenwriters Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. The Coen brothers write dialogue that is very obviously manufactured to have depth and meaning but is painfully transparent and lacking true poignancy. Unfortunately Jolie is also unable to craft a balance between Zamperini’s past and present from her own creative vision.
The most unforgivable aspect of Unbroken is in its creative direction of its conclusion. After a showcase of notable moments within Zamperini’s life are seemingly left independent from one another with no eventual unity, Angelina Jolie not only allows the film to have no emotional resolution for the viewer but resorts to lazy snapshots of text to wrap-up the story by telling the audience rather than showing us.
Unbroken (2014) – Review