Review of the Movie Unbroken


I read the Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, and was impressed as usual by her narrative style.  It had been a while since I had read the book so when my mom said she wanted to see it during the holidays I jumped in.  Hillenbrand’s book on Seabiscuit translated to the screen well, so there was a part of me that had high hopes.  Besides, I was stalling on seeing The Hobbit because I had seen the first two installments/films of The Hobbit and was still hurting from the deviation from the book.

First off, the film does a good job of covering the story of Olympic runner and WWII hero Louis Zamperini – adhering to the book in terms of covering his life up through the war years.  While it glosses over Mr. Zamperini’s post-war life, I was surprised at how well it stuck to the book.

Having said that, the movie was a bit boring.

The truth of the matter is the plot of this book is a struggle of man against man, where the triumph is survival.  For a book, that works well…for movies, less so.  Think about Castaway.  It was a good movie, but from a plot standpoint it was purely about survival.  The same applies with Unbroken.  This isn’t the kind of story that translates well to the big screen.  Not because it isn’t a great story – it is.  As a movie, however, it tends to drag.  There were only so many beatings that we could endure on the screen before we became almost numb to them.  Perhaps that was what the Director intended, but somehow I doubt that.  What makes an incredible book does not always belong on the big screen.

Moving past the pacing – it is a fantastic story about the horrors of war, an enemy that does not respect its POW’s, and the survival of determined men.  Given some of the foes we face on the contemporary battlefield, this is a story that resonates with us today.

I give the movie three out of five stars.  I seriously question if I would own the Blu-Ray of this when it comes out – hence the low rating.

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