Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Unbroken

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After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he’s caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

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Cast

Jack O’Connell – Louis Zamperini

Domhnall Gleeson – Russell Phillips

Myavi Mutsuhiro – Watanabe “The Bird”

Garrett Hedlund – John Fitzgerald

Finn Wittrock – Francis McNamara

Jai Courtney – Hugh Cuppernell

Publicity stills photography on the set of NBC Universal's movie 'Unbroken'

Family Ties Flies

Louis is thrown from one side of the aircraft to the other. As pilot Hugh Cuppernall yells for everyone to get into the brace position, a terrified expression appears on Louis’s face..

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I was enjoying this. A nice bit of action happening at fast pace and full throttle – I was intrigued already. Louis clutches and bows his head in preparation for impact with the sea. Through the main window, the sea gets closer and closer..

..the image of sea through the window suddenly melts into a family sat around a dinner table. A family flash-back of Louis.

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“oh for FUCK SAKE Angelina!” was my first thought, along with a tedious eye-roll so big that my eyeballs almost turned completely white. Any gripping action on screen was instantly dashed as the scene got (ironically) broken. One second I’m caught up in an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride as a plane drops from sky to sea – the next, all tension dissolves as I’m sat watching a young man at some sort of high scholl graduation , before a family at dinner time. If this was Angelina’s attempt at being creative, it backfired because it destroyed the scene – like sneezing halfway through an orgasm, it took away any substance that had been rising slowly to a climax. How about Louis ‘flashbacking’ – then bracing – then moment of impact?
..no. Too simple.

“This is going to be one of those movies that is constantly interrupted by flashbacks” I thought. I wasn’t wrong. Points lost here for having to ‘pop back to see the family’ every ten to fifteen minutes. Not good.

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Lost At Sea

The lifeboat scene wasn’t bad. There were some good performances by all three actors, complemented by the tense situation.
When Louis, Phil and Mac manage to climb aboard an inflatable boat, they realise the plane crash was the least of their worries – because they’re about to spend over a month lost at sea.
There’s some good tension during these scenes as the trio struggle to find food, come into contact with hungry sharks, and develop nasty sunburn.

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This whole ‘stranded at sea’ scenario was very watchable. The dynamics were balanced nicely, with moments of sheer calm (the boys sit staring up at the sky) mixed with moments of terror (shark attack). This scene wasn’t overly bad, and made for intriguing viewing – especially when a military aircraft flies overhead. The boys frantcially wave down the unexpected help, with very unexpected consequences..

..which actually left me thinking, “you stupid boys – waving down a JAPANESE war plane”.
Otherwise, good scene.

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Beamer Angelina

Unbroken was okay. But it was no masterpiece. I’m sure Angelina Jolie wanted it to break into cinema as something special – because she had created it – but overall, it wasn’t the best war flick I’ve seen. The good thing the movie did do was focus nicely on the prisoners activities whilst being held by the Japanese. As soon as Louis is thrown into the grisly confines of a stone cell, he is subjected to sheer torture – before being made to join hundreds of other prisoners. We get some in-depth scenes of the men being forced to perform exhausting labour on coal pits and being rounded up and humiliated by the Japanese leaders. Other scenes delve into the barracks where the men lay on their rickety beds deep in conversation about their situation and if they’ll be able to escape it. The viewer isn’t left in the dark about the effects of war on man that’s for sure. I can just imagine Angelina beaming, those famous cheek bones higher than ever as she left the cinema after the premiere for Unbroken. She must have felt pleased as punch with her cinematic debut.

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..it was alright.

Unbroken is watchable, but not overly inspiring. I didn’t leave the cinema feeling much emotion, the movie seemed to just fade away.
That said, it is a very detailed portrayal of life for those who were prisoners of war and delves into their daily activities and torturous scenarios.
I can’t fault Jack O’Connell at all for his portrayal of olympian Louis Zamperini. The man displays some highly effective emotion throughout; be it tears streaming down his face or anger, laughter or passion, he plays it all and plays it well. I’m half and half on this one. I wouldn’t watch it again, once was enough.

Oh, and see if you can spot the bad acting during the plane crash scene. One of the crew gets shot and falls to the floor – whilst performing one of the most delayed reactions I’ve ever seen. It’s just awful.

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This entry was posted on December 30, 2014 by .
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