Unbroken

The early life of Olympic gold medalist and Second World War pilot/prisoner of war Louis Zamperini is quite a story, and one can see the draw for those that turn such real life tales into money-spinning movies, but there’s something flat about this one, despite some promising moments early on. Jack O’Connell stars and Angelina Jolie directs; she creates some impressive, gripping scenes as Zamperini’s plane enters into a dogfight before crashing, and the subsequent passage about surviving crew members who are stranded in a dinghy is very good. However, there’s an argument that a life like this is too big for a single, two-hour movie; for example, Zamperini’s athletic career – which culminated in gold at the 1936 ‘Jesse Owens’ Olympics  in Berlin – is reduced to a brief scene or two of training and a couple of minutes depicting the triumph in the Olympic Stadium while family members listen in back home. It deserves more than rote, unimaginative treatment like this, as does Zamperini’s later time spent as a PoW, and the events that transpired after his capture. (**½)