Friday, December 5, 2014


By D.E.Levine

There's been a lot of buzz about this film because it was directed by Angelina Jolie.  Taken from the true story of American Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, who as as a World War II bombardier was shot down and survived 47 days adrift at sea followed by years in Japanese prisoner of war camps where he was severely brutalized, I wasn't sure what to expect.

The book that Laura Hillenbrand wrote  was a bestseller in 2010.  It told the story clearly and was inspirational in his survival as well as his ability to forgive his captors.

Jolie's film however, is too long and contains a lot of unnecessary brutality.  Louie (Jack O'Connell) is appealing as the adult Zamperini, who didn't medal at the Olympics but has great plans for his future.  Blown out of the sky he survives adrift at sea, but here is where Jolie loses her grip.  The amount of time that she spends on Zamperini's survival at sea needs to be edited and shortened.

Once picked up by the Japanese and imprisoned, Jolie spends an incredible amount of time on individual of time showing individual punishments inflicted on Zamperini, and in one scene, where individual prisoners strike him, it's simply unnecessary to show every blow.  We get the message clearly that he was physically abused, and once again the film drags and needs editing.

Overall, Jolie's attempt is admirable, but misses the mark and unfortunately is disappointing in the end.