This review will be going on my review blog, but I wanted to share my thoughts here as well. That and the post I had planned for today needs some more work before it goes live.
Over the Christmas break, like hopefully many others did, I went and saw Unbroken. I'm still trying to get all of my thoughts about it straight and hope to see it again soon. But for now, I thought I would write a review.
Summary: Louis (pronounced Louie) Zamperini was a trouble maker as a kid who started to fight back the many bullies who liked to beat him up. Later his brother Pete convinces him to run track in the hopes of keeping Louis from getting into real trouble. Pushing himself beyond what he thought were his limits, Louis becomes an Olympian runner but his dreams to win are crushed when Pearl Harbor is bombed and Louis is drafted and becomes a bombardier. During a rescue mission, his plane goes down, crashing into the ocean and leaving only three survivors. Louis, his best friend Phil, and fellow pilot Mac struggle to survive adrift in the ocean, only to be rescued by the Japanese and made Prisoners of War.
Louis' story is amazing. Many parts in the movie feel like they could be made up. Even the actors admitted to it, having to remind themselves over and over this was a true story. There were so many things Louis lived through and shouldn't have. The plane crash alone should have killed him, not to mention his time on the raft with Phil and Mac. As a POW he was singled out by a one of the officers - whom they nicknamed The Bird. The Bird beats Louis without mercy, even making all the other POW's line up and punch him in the face. (The movie toned down some of the things which happened to him.)
I won't call anyone in the cast characters, since they were playing real people. I'm just not sure what else to call them...other than people, which does sound a bit odd. But anyways.
The men in the story were amazing. I will start with Louis, since the story is about him, and just go down from there.
Louis, as I mentioned before, started out in life as a trouble maker. His earlier mishaps were funny, but then he became bitter about all the bullying and turned into a brat, to put it mildly. Later, thanks a lot to Pete refusing to give up on him, he changes and puts all his energy into running. During the time on the raft - 47 days - Louis fights to keep himself, Phil, and Mac alive. He fights to stay alive even when the Bird beats him over and over. And somehow, during a lot of this, he keeps his sense of humor. (Though it doesn't mention it in the movie, there is one scene where he catches a shark. In the book it explains he felt that he and the sharks had an agreement. So long as he stayed in the raft they couldn't attack him, but if he got in the water they had a right to. However, when the raft nearly sinks once the sharks begin to attack while he is still in the raft. He decides that since the sharks broke the pact and tried to eat him he was going to catch one and eat it.) There were other times, before the crash, when Louis would joke around to make the other men in the plane feel better.
Louis was played by Jack O'Connell. I was really impressed with his acting. I don't remember him having a lot of lines in the movie, he seemed to do most of his acting with his eyes.
Russell Allen Phillips (Phil).
Phil was Louis' best friend and the pilot. Phil was quieter and had this ability to stay calm during missions even while being fired at. Phil had a strong influence on Louis' life. They were quite a bit opposite but seemed to balance each other out. (I'm trying not to put in too much from the book as I plan on reviewing it as well, but there is one story about them I love. While on base they got bored and decided to take their mattresses - air ones - out on the ocean. Both nearly drowned trying to float on them.) Phil, in real life, was a strong Christian. There was one part in the movie I didn't like. During their time on the raft, Phil sang hymns and prayed every night. In the movie, while on the rafts, Phil gives a speech about how he believes we should try and live good lives and when we die there will be angles singing to us. That was one part where I didn't like what they had done to his character - not character as in fictional character but his personality. Other than that I think the actor did an amazing job portraying him.
Pete was Louis' older brother. He was the kind of big brother we probably all wish we had, unless some of you have that kind of big brother. In the movie, Louis tells one of his fellow POW's that Pete had always believed he could do impossible things, that he was better then he was. Pete pushed Louis hard, but always believed in him. In the book it mentions Pete telling their mother that - after Louis crashed - he was still alive and would survive anywhere even if all he had was a tooth brush and a knife. The actor who played Pete - I feel like I'm saying this a lot but the cast was AMAZING - did a wonderful job. The scene where Pete learns Louis is Missing in Action made me tear up. And the ending scene made me nearly cry. (I didn't cry in the movie, I was in a state of shock. I cried later when it sank in.)
There were many others but I want to mention just one more. Only because I was so impressed by his acting, and later found out he hasn't acted before. The man who played the Bird, the insane soldier who was Louis' main tormentor. He was so convincing, I'm still in shock this was his first movie.
I'm not sure I really have any. There were some things I suppose. Phil and Louis are stripped in one scene, though it is only shown from the back. Also there is a lot of beatings and torture, and there might have been some language but I can't remember. But this is one movie I strongly recommend. Louis and Phil were both such amazing men and their story is one which I think everyone should hear. It is a painful story, but some of the best stories are like that. While I might not advice it for younger viewers, I would recommend it to everyone else. Also the book, because the movie can't be watched without the book being read before or after. Both are wonderful.
I took the quote from the book, which they put into the movie. (It made me happy) It is something Phil said to Louis after they crashed and Phil realized Louis was one of the survivors. (Zamp was the nickname he gave Louis)