Louis Zamperini was very aware of his inspirational potential. This is not a knock at the Olympian/war veteran. He has reason to believe his story could motivate millions. In 1936, he ran himself to the Berlin Summer Olympics, he became a bombardier World War II, he survived a plane crash, and he suffered through two years as a Japanese POW. In his post-war days, Zamperini became a born again-Christian and made a living giving speeches about his harrowing war days. His mantra is tagged on to the end of a new featurette for his biopic, “Unbroken.” It”s simple and absolute: “To persevere, I think, is important for everybody. Don't give up, don't give in.”
“He”s always wanted to inspire and he”s always wanted to do it through a film,” says director Angelina Jolie in the same expanded look at the war drama. “He waited 50 years and this is his moment.” The vibe of “Unbroken” press materials has certainly been respect and triumph, trailers cut up to feel like motivational speeches. Jolie adores Zamperini for good reason. But can a filmmaker be too enamored by her subject?
This storytelling choice works on the tear ducts, but maybe not the heart, says our own Drew McWeeny. He describes “Unbroken” as a “beautiful container that's been created to hold something utterly mundane, and I feel bad that I feel that way.” Drew adores the production value, is affected by its message of perseverance, and yet can”t quite fall for it. “I can't get over how it looks and feels like a genuinely important film, but how much it feels like some key piece is missing,” he says.
Watch this latest look at “Unbroken” – part trailer, part interview package – below:
“Unbroken” arrives on Dec. 25, 2014.