Sunday, December 14, 2014

Unbroken - a review

My wife and I went to see the upcoming movie, Unbroken, Thursday evening at an advance showing for pastors, and they even comped the tix. The movie is due to open nationally on Dec. 25.

That the story here is true is remarkable. It is simply a stunning piece of work with no unneeded scenes nor a word of unnecessary dialogue. It will hold your attention every moment. The movie is not overtly religious; title character Louis Zamperini, though raised in a Catholic household, considered himself not to have become a Christian until a few years after the war. (The movie ends with his release from captivity.)

That the movie has no "star" (no major actor-celebrity) and uses actual Japanese actors even for the worst characters (rather than Asian-descended Hollywood pretenders) makes the movie more compelling. The actor playing Zamperini is a Brit. The actor playing "The Bird," a Japanese POW camp commander of shocking brutality, is Japanese pop-artist musician Takamasa Ishihara, who performs under the name of Miyavi. None of these actors are much known the the United States, and the movie is, IMO, all the better for it.

The screenplay is by the Coen brothers and the film was directed by Angelina Jolie. To their credit, they do not shrink from portraying the awful brutality of the Japanese camps. (One percent of American POWs held by the Germans in World War 2 died in captivity. Of Americans held by the Japanese, 40 percent died.) However, the scenes are not bloody.

This is simply an amazing piece of cinema for which I give you my unqualified recommendation.