- Category: Film Review
- Written by Tommy Geraci
With the Oscars coming up, I have been catching up on the films that have been honored with nominations from the Academy. Today I viewed "Unbroken" starring Jack O'Connell, Takamasa Ishihara, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Matthew Crocker, and Finn Wittrock (most recently seen on American Horror Story: Freak Show).
The film is a true story about the life of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini and his time in the armed forces during WWII. It was directed by Angelina Jolie and written by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson, and the book the screenplay was based on was written by Laura Hillenbrand.
"Unbroken" was nominated for Oscars in the following categories:
- Best Achievement in Cinematography
- Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
- Best Achievement in Sound Editing
The film received the honor of Movie of the Year at the AFI Awards.
"Unbroken: also received the following Critics Choice Awards honors:
- Best Picture
- Best Director (Jolie)
- Best Adapted Screenplay
- Best Cinematography
You can find a full list of awards on IMDb and view the trailer.
There was a bit of controversy over the snubbing of Jolie by the Oscars Academy for Jolie as best director and after viewing the film, I can see why. I do understand why the film garnered much acclaim for cinematography, sound, and screenplay. It was beautifully shot and the perspective of the cameras during the period they were stranded on the lifeboats was absolute perfection. I felt so helpless along with the characters, I felt frustrated for them, and even more than a bit panicked.
From the beginning I found the writing and delivery of the lines to convey the camaraderie of the soldiers. When they receive a new plane to fly, one officer comments, "It's like sitting in the living room trying to fly the house" another counters with "Well, it's been certified" and another comments, "By Hellen Keller". The playfulness quickly turns serious when the plane goes down and only three are left in a most dire situation.
Floating on lifeboats, surrounded by sharks with no food and one injured man is no picnic. The character of Mac (Wittrock) is so negative from the very beginning and I noted that I did agree with him but you have to be practical and try as hard as you can to at least stay positive while trying your best to find a way out. I might feel differently about that if I were in such a situation, to be honest.
At one point the men capture a seagull and try to eat it. The FIRST thing that went through my head was, YUCK! seagulls mostly eat garbage and waste so to eat one raw really wouldn't be my ideal solution for starvation.
Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner and even during his capture by the Japanese, he remained true to his roots but the conditions were not exactly conducive to his health nor perfect for his athleticism. Most of the time in captivity was a struggle between the Americans' patriotism and their survival instinct. Again, some of the things that happen to them during the time they were being held by the Japanese was hard to watch and definitely stirred feelings of anger.
I don't want to give away too much of the story but I do want to encourage you to see "Unbroken" as well as the other Oscar nominated films, before the Oscars if you can. The movie industry has taken lots of criticism in the past few years but there are still high quality projects, involving truly talented and dedicated people that slip past us each year. I find the Oscars can lead us to these projects by following the nominees and paying attention to the films that generate the most buzz or controversy for being overlooked. Use the nominations to find films to watch but also pay attention to what is being said about those films that many feel deserved to be nominated and weren't. Go see as many as you can, good entertainment keeps us happy and gives us lots to talk about!