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An Honest Review of Unbroken the Movie

Tonight I was fortunate enough to be invited to see a sneak preview of the movie Unbroken, which is set to come out December 25th. I don’t usually do this, however I have spent some time writing and speaking about the incredible story of Louis Zamperini on this website.

The following is a review of the movie before it comes out. My objective of this post is not to spoil anything for you, however give you a reason (or not) to see this movie. 

Unbroken is written by Laura Hillenbrand and was the best book I read this year.

The movie was directed by Angelina Jolie, whose last attempt at directing a movie was not good, and written by Joel and Ethan Coen.

The Casting

Every character in the film is well cast. Louie is played by newcomer Jack O’Connell who is perfect for the role and I suspect was cast because we would remember the character rather than the actor playing him. Most importantly was the casting that of the Bird, who, besides Louie, is the most important character.  He is human in this film rather than a character of all that is evil. He is flawed, sadistic, emotionally damage, and you despise him. As we should.

The Adaptation

The movie is faithful to the book. They take a few liberties, however all is forgiven when you see the final product. Once you see the film, read the book. Once you read the book, see the film. They should both be done.

The Message

At its core, the story of Louie Zamperini is founded on his Christian faith. The story serves as his testimony. The movie is about 2.5 hours long and still does not get to his conversion at a Billy Graham crusade; however the end credits do speak to his incredible transformation of a man who forgives his enemies. The story is about a man who is driven to the limits of endurance, who would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering from hope, resolve, and humor; in the face of brutality. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

The Bad

Overly sentimental at times.

The final score

This movie is a must see. It is done very well. This movie wasn’t so much a biography of an incredible story, rather a tribute to an amazing man of faith and how he came to faith. The story as this underlying message that God is a God of mercy, even when man does not show mercy, and that God’s plan is good even in the face of such evil.

 The rumor is that it is up for a large number of academy awards. This may be true, but I do not see it winning much. It is worth seeing, but making it something that it isn’t would be a shame. It is one of the most incredible stories I have ever heard and is worth experiencing in the theater.