Unbroken Review

Preface

  • Even though this is a 2014 film, it looks like 2015 is off to a bang!
    • And by “bang” I mean the sound that the gun will make after I shoot myself for having to watch this movie……
  • Guys, it’s bad.

Another Preface

  • People will give me crap for not having read the book that this film is based off of, and I totally get what you’re saying
  • However, I will say in this review (on multiple occasions), “I’m sure the book did this better but (insert complaint here).”
  • That being said, let’s rip this thing apart!

Cast and Characters

  • I just had to look up the name of the lead actor in this movie, because I had no idea who he was.
    • Jack O’Connell.
  • He plays Louie (also spelled Louis) Zamperini, a character who goes through all of this life-defining stuff in the most generic way humanly imaginable.
  • There were points in the movie where I thought the guy was doing a good job, but he got so bogged down by the writing and directing!
  • In all honesty though, it was pretty apparent that this role could have been handled in better hands.
    • Chris Evans or Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the role, I would’ve still said the movie’s a piece of crap, but whichever of the two were awesome in it.
      • Maybe even take it up a notch or two.
    • And let’s not kid ourselves: the friend on the boat with him was supposed to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
    • I’ll talk more about the whole “this-is-a-discount-version-of-another-movie” aspect later in Directing, but you all get the idea for now.
    • But then there were characters like this guy, “The Bird,” who’s supposed to be an intense and intimidating torturer, but ends up falling completely flat and being what every torturer shouldn’t do.

Script

  • Here’s where we start to get into the bulk of the problem with this movie.
  • There were two parts of this movie to me that actually felt like they were natural (not completely scripted), not forced, and for that matter good.
  • The first part is about 15-20 minutes of when they’re on the boat and have launched into survival mode.
    • You’d expect this to be the most scripted part, but they handled things the way I think everyone else would have.
  • The second part is the last 20 seconds of the movie.
    • And that’s not me being a jerk (“It was the best part cuz the movie’s over!”), but I mean that the last twenty seconds actually had this emotion that we should have felt through the whole movie.
  • There were two other MAJOR problems that I had with this movie, and the first is how cliché it was.
  • This felt like a movie you put on in film class and say, “hey aspiring artists, this is exactly how you don’t make a war movie!”
    • It’s 2015, which means we’ve seen a lot of war movies by now.
    • I don’t expect every one of them to be on the level of Saving Private Ryan or anything, but I expect some effort.
    • The entire movie from the opening until they get to the stranded at sea is so absurdly cliché, you can’t even believe how easy it is.
      • It’s so easy, that if you or I were given the source material (the book Unbroken) we could write it the exact same way, if not better.
    • And I get that the Coen Brothers helped write it, but I can’t say it’s okay because they were on the team.
  • The other major problem with this script is that for the first 45 minutes, it felt like it was meant to be a PG-rated movie shown on the History or Discovery channel or something.
    • Like a guy would get shot and he’d be like, “oh… man!”
    • Seriously?
  • If this were an R-rated movie, or if it at least took advantage of the PG-13 rating, then it would have felt at least a little bit more realistic.

Direction

  • My main issue, above everything else though, is the direction of this movie.
  • Angelina Jolie directed this monstrosity, and it felt like it was Angelina Jolie’s Director of Costuming or something.
  • There were shots in this movie that looked like they were edited using iMovie and were done by a 16 year old.
    • Check out my Top 10 Best and Top 5 Worst of 2014 by the way, both of which were edited on iMovie by a 16 year old!
  • There was one point where it looked like some care was put into the project, maybe Steven Spielberg’s Director of Costuming was directing that part, but all in all it was a sloppy directional piece from someone who it felt like they had never directed anything in their life before.
  • Continuing on that is the emotional presence we were supposed to feel but didn’t.

Emotion/Violence

  • This movie is called “Unbroken” and is meant to tell the story of this guy who goes through all kinds of trauma in his life, miraculously coming out on the other end.
  • Throughout this story though, you never feel bad for the guy.
  • You get that he has a family, but since the direction is so sloppy, you never feel like Zamperini is determined or motivated by something, or strives to do better.
  • Let’s take a movie like Whiplash for example.
    • You see Miles Teller’s character constantly trying to improve himself and do better to win the favor of his teacher.
    • But in Unbroken, you don’t know why the character keeps getting up.
    • The answer is essentially: because the script says so.
  • I also look at this movie like The Dark Knight Rises.
    • Bruce Wayne is a fictional character (I know, it’s sad), but he represented a sense of wanting to put yourself back together and do what determination and motivation make you do.
      • He wanted to bring his city back, and he works harder than he has to do so.
    • This was my main problem with Unbroken, is that the emotion wasn’t there.
    • You didn’t care if this guy lived or died, and this is also an example of where I’m sure the book did it a lot better.
    • My dad is currently reading the book and he (like many others) proclaims how inspiring it is, but the movie is quite the contrary.
    • I’m not a sociopath, neither are any of the people I saw it with, but I’m pretty sure none of us felt that theater with a sense of inspiration in us.
  • And again, as I said, I don’t blame Jack O’Connell for his un-relatable performance in this movie, I blame Angelina Jolie.
    • It’s her job to get the best performance possible out of her actors and that doesn’t happen here.
    • She misses the emotional mark entirely and covers it with senseless violence.
  • And here’s my violence point exactly.
  • Anytime that Jolie wanted to express a struggle that Zamperini was going through, she just showed him getting beaten down or physically abused.
    • And that got old REAL fast.
  • You can do excessive violence if you do it well and show the emotional impact it has on characters, but in Unbroken it felt like a cheap substitute for development.

In Conclusion

  • In Conclusion, this was a December 2014 movie but I can tell you that it is currently covering the stench of January.
  • Unbroken has a really weak character, despite an actor trying to do well.
  • It has a cliché, weak script where things don’t make sense.
  • The whole first act looks like it was shot on a green screen by a director who didn’t care at all about what she was doing.
  • What really just drove it into the ground for me was the lack of sympathy and endless violence towards the characters.
  • The boat sequence was cool, so were the last 20-40 seconds, which totaled are only about 20% of the movie.
  • And if you can convert percentages to fractions, you know what’s coming…
  • Unbroken is honestly the least sincere movie I’ve seen in a while, and overall worst movie I’ve seen since Transformers 4.
  • And Unbroken is…

a 1/5

  • I might have to make an exception in December to get this on my Top 10 Worst of 2015 List, despite it being a 2014 film…
  • I don’t know though, we’ll see how many other bad movies there are this year.

***

So guys, those are my thoughts on Unbroken! This is a really “love it or hate it” movie, so let me know your opinions down below! And I really would be curious to hear how it goes against the book! Let me know in the comments down below, and as always, thanks for reading guys.

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