LOUIS ZAMPERINI was a patient man. He waited in a raft in the Pacific Ocean, after his jalopy US military plane failed, for 47 days. After his “rescue,” he waited out the remainder of WWII being beaten and tormented in Japanese POW camps. When he finally got home, he wrote a book, which was optioned for a film that became a project in limbo for yet more years. It was only on his deathbed that he saw a rough cut of what would be Unbroken (based on someone else's book, Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand's).
This is Angelina Jolie's second time directing, and it's probably not not because of her pedigree that she found herself at the helm of a $65 million project that's enjoying Oscar chatter. I'm glad: Zamperini deserves to be memorialized, and the Oscars could at least show their worth by recognizing more female directors.
Like any smart amateur, Jolie surrounded herself with talent and experience: the Coen brothers adapted the script, and the relatively un-starry cast gives fine performances. She also, perhaps out of hobbling respect, takes very few risks, and the result is an impressive and unwavering hagiography. If you want approachability or nuance or anything, go away! Everything here is just totally fucking unbroken, forever.