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Unbroken

7/10
Drama . War . Biography . Sport
 

A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.

 
Actors: Jack O'Connell , Domhnall Gleeson , Garrett Hedlund , Takamasa Ishihara , Finn Wittrock , Jai Courtney , Maddalena Ischiale , Vincenzo Amato , John Magaro , Luke Treadaway , Miyavi
Directors: Angelina Jolie
Country: USA
Release: 2014-12-25
More Info:
  • Joe Neumaier

    When you get through it, though, you can’t help but feel uplifted by this tough-skinned movie that can stand with the best muscular wartime dramas in the American movie canon.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Put this one at the top of your must-see list. Angelina Jolie might not, in my opinion, have yet reached the heights of the acting profession, but with this passionate, inspired, technically awesome and profoundly exciting chronicle of the life of Louie Zamperini, she rises to the top rank of first-class film directors in a male-dominated field overcrowded with hacks.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    If you can take it, Unbroken will lift you like the classics of adventure cinema.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Jolie has an army of craftsmen in her corner, notably camera poet Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men). But it's her vision that gives Unbroken a spirit that soars. In honoring Louis' endurance, she does herself proud.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    There is a genuinely epic quality to Unbroken, cribbed from masters and capably traced. That's really all this inspiring story needs.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    If the Unbroken needle stops at Impressive and doesn’t quite rise to Enthralling, it’s because Jolie stints on exploring the doubts that tortured Louis nearly as much as Watanabe’s punishments did, and whose details so enriched Hillenbrand’s biography.

    Time Full Review
  • Kate Stables

    Jack O’Connell’s, wiry, indefatigable Zamperini holds your attention without effort.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    Ultimately, the strengths of Unbroken far outweigh its flaws.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Unbroken may not exactly be mired in sanctimony, but it’s standing, almost up to its ankles, in an unhealthy sense that its subject — about whose simple humanity the film otherwise goes to great lengths to illuminate — is a candidate for sainthood.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Jolie's account is mostly accurate but coldly clinical. The story is effective in relaying Zamperini's narrative but lacks both the gut punch one often gets from prisoner-of-war narratives and the full catharsis one expects at the end.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Jolie keeps the narrative afloat thanks to first-rate craftsmanship, a few well-honed moments of bonafide suspense, and a terrifically restrained Jack O'Connell in the lead role. While it only hints at the sweeping epic that never fully materializes, Unbroken offers further proof that Jolie's directorial instincts pass muster alongside her other talents.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    A rousing old-fashioned yarn with numerous exciting set-pieces and an uncomplicated hero you root for all the way through. It’s entertaining throughout and made with a high level of technical skill. If made 40 years ago, it would have been a leading Oscar contender and a huge hit, whereas today it’s a bit “meh” in both categories

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    It is a harrowing journey, and an inspirational one. But, as director, Jolie takes far too long to tell it, particularly in such a conventional manner.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    A great true story is telescoped down to a merely good one in Unbroken. After a dynamite first half-hour, Angelina Jolie's accomplished second outing as a director slowly looses steam.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Zamperini’s life story is genuinely inspirational, but the movie seems fashioned as a standard-issue profile in courage, with Zamperini, after a troubled youth, transformed into an almost saintlike figure. He would have been every bit as inspirational, even more so, without the halo.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    It's moving, admirable, and occasionally exhilarating. What it's missing is the one thing that could always be counted on with Jolie as a star: the spark of danger.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    When it comes to this particular story, I find myself unconvinced in the end. Unbroken looks like the real thing, but evaporates upon closer scrutiny.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    It’s one of those inspirational Hollywood dramas about which there isn’t anything "overtly wrong" with it. It’s well-cast, it looks great, it has that intense centerpiece in the raft, and it certainly conveys a true story worth telling. And yet I keep coming back to that beautiful sunrise that opens the film. It’s just too damn pretty.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    Unbroken stirs a moviegoer by default; it’s an astounding story of human endurance that has been brought a little too safely to the screen.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    As directed by Angelina Jolie, it is occasionally powerful, with soaring visuals. It also is, however, stately and slow to the point of tedium.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    A beautifully shot, well-acted, and worthy-to-a-fault Second World War survivor story that only intermittently achieves the kind of emotional impact for which it aims.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    The bigger problem is that neither Jolie nor the script bothers to flesh Louis out as a fully formed person with faults and fears and regrets, which keeps the film from ever capturing you emotionally.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Unbroken is an ambitious, sometimes moving film that suffers from a little too much self-conscious nobility, and far too many scenes of sadistic brutality.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Rightly, Jolie didn't want to tell the man's entire life story. But as is, at too-convenient dramatic junctures, the screenplay darts back into flashbacks of Zamperini's childhood or young adulthood, when we should really be sticking with the crisis at hand.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • R. Kurt Osenlund

    The film's chief misstep is taking its title too literally, and ultimately depicting Louie as an indestructible, and thus largely inhuman, superhero.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    What the movie ends up in desperate need of is a sense of life made real and palpable through dreadful, transporting details, not a life embalmed in hagiographic awe.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    With what we see on screen weighted too much toward pain and too little toward redemption, this is a film we respect more than love, and that is something of a wasted opportunity.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Jolie gets the dirty/ennobling job done. If the narrative is finally unsatisfying, it’s because the last vital chapter — the way in which Zamperini was able to have a life after years of unspeakable cruelty and the dashing of his Olympic hopes — is signaled in a couple of title cards before the closing credits. Unbroken proves that Zamperini could take it and make it — but make what of it?

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    As glossy and well-produced as Unbroken is, it doesn't stray too terribly far from Hollywood convention. In fact, its very story structure is so traditional that it's mirrored by Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper."

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Cath Clarke

    Jolie has assembled an A-list team – Roger Deakins behind the camera, the Coen brothers in charge of the script - but while her film is perfectly competent, it hardly dazzles.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Ian Nathan

    Lavish and sporadically powerful, Jolie's POW biopic may have just enough gravity to entice the Academy, but struggles to bring truth to an unbelievable truth.

    Empire Full Review
  • Andrew Pulver

    Though high-minded and well-intentioned – as well as being conceived on an epic scale – there’s something faintly stodgy and safety-first about the endeavour.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    We don’t see his alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder after coming home, the decay of his marriage, the vengeful hatred that led him to strangle his captors in his nightmares. Nor do we see his conversion to Christianity after a 1949 Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, an event he credited with saving his sanity, marriage and perhaps his life.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    Those who watch Unbroken, Angelina Jolie's movie about Zamperini's life, only have to suffer for a little more than two hours, but it's a cruel and unusually harsh punishment.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    The title isn’t “Broken,” so there’s not much doubt of the outcome. But it’s certainly regrettable, because this long and increasingly sluggish film version of the Laura Hillenbrand book celebrates an American life of singular heroism.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    One of these days, Angelina Jolie might very well direct a great movie. She has a rare talent and intense concerns and interests. But first she is going to have to suppress some self-defeating impulses that have now twice taken potentially effective films and rendered them ridiculous.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Unbroken, is a cinematic scrapbook, a collection of well-composed scenes practically cut and pasted from “Memphis Belle,” “Chariots of Fire,” “Life of Pi” and “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” Unlike those other films, though, Angelina Jolie’s second effort as a director is more a series of similar events than a story, and lacks an underlying message except that torture hurts.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Amy Nicholson

    Unbroken wants it all: the big cinematography, the close-up grit, the postcard flashbacks, and the grisly Götterdämmerung that earns directors awards. But it aches for a lighter touch -- the facts of Zamperini's life more than stand on their own.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    As Zamperini, Jack O’Connell is the film’s strongest asset. The actor holds our attention from beginning to end, making us care deeply about the man’s fate instead of becoming an empty icon of stoicism.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    Unbroken just piles on the misery without tonal shift, any sense of rise and fall, or any interest in Zamperini’s inner life, beyond his catchphrase, “If you can take it, you can make it.”

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    Moral and spiritual triumph lie at the end of this hellish gauntlet, but though Jolie is shooting for Christ-like passion and redemption, she only ends up slathering one man’s very real, very morbid struggles in the usual reductive “greatest generation” sentiment.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Unbroken stumbles into most every movie of the genre in ways that suggest she (Jolie) hasn’t figured out how these things work. Suspense and pathos evade her as she turns an admittedly unwieldy biography into a dull, perfunctory and truncated film.

    Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Rodrigo Perez

    Respectfully presented, Unbroken is competently made and even has a sequence or two that’s impressive, but it’s ultimately very familiar and eventually draining.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    A bit embalmed in its own nobility, it’s an extraordinary story told in dutiful, unexceptional terms, the passionate commitment of all involved rarely achieving gut-level impact.

    Variety Full Review
  • Joe Walsh

    With Unbroken, Jolie fails to captures Zamperini's life, and she focuses too much of what he endured and how he survived such suffering, crafting a lacklustre and dull film about an incredibly remarkable man.

    CineVue Full Review
  • David Denby

    An interminable, redundant, unnecessary epic devoted to suffering, suffering, suffering.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    The film settles into a Forrest Gumpian groove that doesn’t glorify the human spirit so much as sap it.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    Unbroken is a grueling endurance test - for the audience just as much as for its cutout champion.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
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  • biography

  • sport

  • war

  • athlete

  • woman director

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  • plane crash

  • torture

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  • vomiting

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  • male nudity

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  • plane

  • olympian

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  • sea

  • 1936 olympics

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  • in medias res

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  • pacific ocean

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  • police officer

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  • flashback

  • soldier

  • man crying

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  • gun

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  • japan

  • world war two

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  • death of friend

  • based on novel

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  • seagull

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