New Year - new films! The first film that I saw in a cinema this year was Unbroken. A bit of a rough start, I might say…
The latest film directed by Angelina Jolie (that’s a phrase I never thought I would use), is the epic, unbelievable true story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, an Olympic runner of the 1936 Olympic Games who, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in World War II—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Let’s break it down a bit: Before even watching it, this film shows some serious award potential for three reasons:
1. The film narrates a tale of an Olympic athlete, who fought in World War II, survived a plane crush on a raft for 47 days and survived from a Japanese war camp! Hello? Classic Hollywood material
2. The film is based on book best seller – Always a plus
3. Coen Brothers wrote the script adaptation – Oscar much?
Again, before watching it, I was afraid that these elements might make this film flop:
1. Angelina Jolie directs…
2. The story took too long to come to the big screen: Universal Studios bought the rights to the story of Louis Zamperini in 1957 in the hope of developing it for Tony Curtis. In later years, Nicolas Cage expressed an interest. The project finally got the green light after Laura Hillenbrand's 2010 book about Zamperini became a best-seller. Pfff. The man suffered so much and Hollywood took interest only after it was made into a best seller book?
3. Another World War II film?
After actually watching it, I was pleasantly and not so pleasantly surprised and came to the below conclusions:
1. Such an Epic tale might be Hollywood material, but somehow, the multiple stories that this brave man experienced were not portrayed equally and the viewer did not get the sense of a peak, or a dramatic climax. And when that happened it was rather imposed to the viewer...
2. Yes, the film was a based on a best seller book and yes the Coen brothers wrote the screenplay, but the film didn’t depict so much neither the book narrative style, nor the classic Coen brothers touch. If you have to involve the Coen brothers, you need to have at least their signature style…
3. Angelina Jolie directing – well that was not so bad. Of course such a powerful theme in the hands of a newbie may cause some issues, with some scenes seeming a bit over the top, but as a whole the direction is pretty decent!
4. Jack O’ Connell. Well, his mind blowing performance was no big surprise, at least for us that have been tracking him since the Cook era (Skins), Starred Up or more recently ’71. He is without a doubt one an up and coming star that can give really intense performances and without his performance the film would not be the same
5. Takamasa Ishihara aka The Bird, gave undoubtedly a heartbreaking, psychotic performance, giving amazing depth and layers to this complex character. Hard to imagine that Ishihara is actually a rock star rather than an actor!
6. Great cinematography and costumes, putting us right into the heart of the era!
Overall, I have to say that Unbroken is an inspiring, human film, that might not be the epic movie that is promoted to be, but for sure it is an epic tale with touching performances, worth watching.
Happy New Cinematic Year everybody!!
Ever since I first set foot on a cinema theatre, I knew that something magical was happening there....