From his childhood, Louis Zamperini confronted rejection. Neighborhood bullies had nothing better to do with their time than to make fun of him because he was different..
Their constant emotional and physical battering fostered a period in Zamperini's very early life when anger and rebellion were the only responses 'Louie' could muster. Realizing that he was headed downhill 'Louie wised-up, He had to let go of self defeating over-reactions to his pain. He had to change.
Yes, but how?
In the newly released UNBROKEN, Universal--together with Legendary Pictures and Producer/Director Angelina Jolie--took to screen Louis Zamperini's solemn decision for a more reasonable way to face the hard knocks in his life.
King Solomon said it best. His proverb was, "So as a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
And that is UNBROKEN's very slant.
Based, in part, on Laura Hillenbrand's book of the same title, UNBROKEN the film tracks young Louie Zamperini's ever-refining resiliency.
For after he overcame his anger, after his Olympian stardom, after his success as a World War II bombardier--it was indeed Louis Zamperini's habitual resilient mindset that became his habitual endurance.
Mindful viewers get to see that we can expect a positive 'Change Outcome' to our difficulties only after we submit to a Process of erasing our negative belief system--the culprit that keeps holding us back.
UNBROKEN's theme actually shows US that we can engage a 'good change' as soon as we renounce any and all doubts that tell us that we are already defeated.
Screenwriters Richard LaGravenese, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen and William Nicholson opened this cinematic drama where it should have opened. Then they seamlessly wove the foundational flashback exactly where it belonged. Every conflict-filled low in UNBROKEN offered each protagonist character the seemingly comforting choice to simply wimp-out and to just give up.
Such plotting enabled Director Jolie to find and to creatively sustain the story's suspense in every conflict building scene. Each negative surprise along the way gave rise to so many reasons for each of the protagonists to accept defeat, to be broken.
Jack O'Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson and Jai Courtney convincingly met their four protagonist characters' threats with an expectancy of calculated hope. 'Come hell or high waters'--they would somehow overcome.
Likely by then, all of them had heard Louie Zamperini's long lived mantra: If you can take it, you can make it.
Standing in their way, sixty seconds out of every minute, was the power seeking enemy officer, Mutsuhiro Watanabe. Commander of that section of the war camp, Watanabe always carried a bag of hateful tricks, combat ready to display them on a whim.
Watanabe's calculated abuse to the camp's Prisoners of War was oh so essential to UNBROKEN's plot--we can't become matadors in life unless we are daring enough to face the bull!
This supreme antagonist grew to become the most insecure yet egocentric psychic vampire I have ever seen on screen. Miyavi portrayed this mean spirited dark soul with an expertise that will strike terror in even the most objective viewer's mind.
UNBROKEN Ends Superbly
Drama is of little consequence--good scripting, good directing, good acting; none of these can cover a production--if the film does not end well. Most viewers will fall in love with this ending.
UNBROKEN's slant well reminds us that when we persist, that when we doubt the lie and accept the truth that failure is neither an option nor an inevitability--only then will we undo even the most conflicting hindrances in our lives.
Glasses raised, please. To all involved in this great cinematic work. To the film's PG-13 rating. And to UNBROKEN's timely encouragement.. To King Solomon who also warned that Where there is no vision, the people perish.
--And to Louie Zamperini. Here are my 5-Stars *****
ABOUT YOUR REVIEWER:
PW Dowdy is a writer working on her first novel yet to be titled (again). She lives in Georgia and often comes up for air by finding a good movie. Drawn to productions that address our human condition, Dowdy breaks from her fiction writing schedule to post reviews of films that appeal most to her. She posts most of those reviews, as well as other topics of interest, right here on her Visions And Insights blog.
"Life guides us one way or another all of the time," she is usually in her bare feet when she says this. "And what we learn from hearing, we must share with those who will listen to us. She is likely to giggle at this point--a natural state of being for Dowdy. "Barefoot and giggling? I write better that way."
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