Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) is the son of Italian immigrants living in Southern California during the Depression. He skips school, drinks liquor, and smokes. His brother, Pete (Alex Russell), however, sees his potential as a runner.
Louie begins to train and win track meets. He earns a scholarship to the University of Southern California; his collegiate record for the mile held for 15 years. He also makes the US Olympic track and field team in 1938 in Berlin.
In 1941, Louie joins the Army, and is deployed to the Pacific as a bombardier. On a search-and-rescue mission in 1943, the plane crashes. Only Louie, Phil (Domhnall Gleeson), and Mac (Finn Wittrock) survive out of the 11-man crew. They are attacked by Japanese bombers and sharks, and beset by storms. On the 47th day, they are taken into captivity by the Japanese.
Director Angelina Jolie weaves Louie’s past with his present and shows us how much torture the young man suffers at the hands of Watanabe (Takamasa Ishihara), a sadistic Japanese guard. Louie gets a brief respite when Watanabe is transferred to another camp, but they soon end up at the same camp again.
I liked this film, which is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 best-seller, Unbroken: A Word War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. But it seems that half of it is filled with the very real and horrible torture of this good man who, though small in stature, has a will of iron.
Jolie gently integrates Louie’s faith throughout the film. The performances—by actors mostly unknown to US audiences— are strong. I’m just not sure, however, …. CLICK HERE to continue reading at St. Anthony Messenger