Kapi-Mana News - - MOVIES -

Star­ring: Jack O’Con­nell, Gar­rett Hed­lund, Domh­nall Glee­son, Finn Wit­trock, Taka­masa Ishi­hara. Di­rected by An­gelina Jolie. Writ­ten by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Wil­liam Nicholson, Richard LaGrave­nese. Ac­tion, biog­ra­phy, drama. 2hr 17min. Mfor vi­o­lence.

From the com­fort of our sub­ur­ban lives, it is almost im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine en­dur­ing 45 days on a raft in the Pa­cific Ocean.

War sto­ries of in­cred­i­ble sur­vival aren’t un­usual, though.

My fam­ily’s cache of leg­ends in­cludes one about my grand­fa­ther spend­ing two weeks on a raft in the At­lantic at the end of World War II.

I have a friend whose grand­mother sur­vived Dachau con­cen­tra­tion camp, and another whose fa­ther was forced to join the Ger­man army, de­serted and walked from Poland to London to es­cape.

That’s why, even though her film is not very good, An­gelina Jolie’s Un­bro­ken, based on the story of Olympic run­ner Louie Zam­perini’s wartime ex­pe­ri­ences, is im­por­tant.

Un­bro­ken fol­lows Zam­perini (Jack O’Con­nell), whose brother con­vinces him to take up run­ning to learn dis­ci­pline and prove he’s bet­ter than the petty crimes he’s com­mit­ted and the ca­sual racism he faces.

Louie makes it into the 1936 United Olympic team.

Af­ter­wards, when the United States joins the war, Louie en­lists as a bom­bardier and is sta­tioned in the Pa­cific, fly­ing bombing raids on Ja­panese fac­to­ries.

When his plane crashes in the ocean, he and two oth­ers are stranded with lit­tle chance of res­cue.

After sur­viv­ing 45 days on rain­wa­ter, shark meat and sheer de­ter­mi­na­tion, they are found by the Ja­panese.

That’s when Louie’s real night­mare be­gins.

Jolie is clearly pas­sion­ate about Zam­perini’s tale and has thrown ev­ery­thing at it – a soar­ing score, an in­ter­est­ing cast (rock star Taka­masa Ishi­hara as the sadis­tic Watan­abe is chill­ingly good), the Coen Brothers ( Fargo, No Coun­try for Old Men, Inside Llewyn Davis) on script duty and his­tor­i­cal de­tail up the wa­zoo, all shot by a top-drawer cin­e­matog­ra­pher.

Un­for­tu­nately, while ev­ery­thing about Un­bro­ken is slick, it is ob­vi­ous, ham-fisted and not a lit­tle des­per­ate. Un­bro­ken fails to land any of its emo­tional punches and ends up feel­ing more like un­be­liev­able melo­drama than in­spi­ra­tional homage.

As the hy­per­bole rushes to­wards the an­ti­cli­mac­tic end­ing, padded out with images of the real Zam­perini, you can’t help feel­ing the hero’s tale has not been well served.

True tales of out­stand­ing for­ti­tude, like Zam­perini’s, re­mind us of the lim­its our minds and bod­ies can be pushed to.

As we wrap our­selves in lay­ers of com­fort, such tales are cru­cial, and de­serve bet­ter than some mawk­ish, pretty faces and glossy ar­ti­fice, no mat­ter who the di­rec­tor is.

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