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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Unbroken (2014)

Ok, this is not going to make me unique, but I have to say that I liked the book more than the movie.  The story is a compelling one.  Louis Zamperini (aptly played by Jack O'Connell)
grew up in an immigrant Italian family in Southern California.  He was born as World War I was winding down, and while he had a propensity for getting into trouble, he found that he had a gift for running.  He had very little in the way of coaching but managed to be on the 1938 Olympic field and track team with Jesse Owens. He was looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics in 1942, which of course never happened. 

Zamperini went from Olympic athlete to airplane bombardier in the Pacific, was in a crash landing and survived in a rubber boat in the ocean with two of his crew, and then was captured by the Japanese and was a prisoner of war for the remainder of the war.  He got to Tokyo, but not the way he wanted to.  The movie is largely about the WWII part of his life, and significantly truncates the before and after part of the war.  I could have done with a little less sadism  and more of the long term effects of the abuse that he suffered while he was a prisoner of war.  That would have been great to illustrate the long term psychological effects of trauma for a man who was clearly exceptionally strong prior to the war.  It would have been destigmatizing.  Oh well.  Overall it was a good telling of a good story.

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