By ALEX CASTRO
Unbroken is back, and you will not want to miss it.
On screen, viewers typically witness the hardships a hero faces throughout the course of the movie. This is usually when the action stops; the hero solves their problem and comes home to their perfect life.
Unbroken is no different. The movie features the true story of Louis Zamperini, a world-class Olympic runner. Zamperini joins the Air Force as a bomber but crashes in the Pacific Ocean after a major plane malfunction. After surviving 49 days on a raft, Japanese soldiers capture him, only to incarcerate him in a prisoner of war (POW) camp.
Released on Sep. 14, Path to Redemption, the second film in the Unbroken series, offers a new and refreshing take on the classic war movie. Unbroken, along with movies such as American Sniper and Thank You For Your Service, are paving the way for more realistic representations of the struggles veterans face after returning home.
Contrary to the plot of a typical war movie, Path to Redemption shows its audience what happens beyond the action scenes. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, over 85% of veterans have PTSD and over 370,000 veterans are unemployed or have problems finding jobs, both of which are hardships that Zamperini works to overcome in the movie. Moreover, the movie brings to light real problems that plague soldiers returning home from battle, such as alcoholism and domestic disputes. Instead of barely scratching the surface, the movie confronts these monsters under the bed. The audience sees no “happily ever after.” In turn, the audience receives an honest, well thought out and comprehensible timeline of the story.
Path To Redemption provides a helpful summary of the plot of Unbroken, which allows viewers who have not watched or heard of the original story to understand what took place. This small detail allows viewers with no background knowledge to still enjoy the film.
Additionally, the talented cast of the movie makes it easy for the audience to empathize with Zamperini’s struggle. The cast’s display of emotions and the film’s amazing location creates a vivid setting that allows the viewer to immerse themselves in the 1940s. For example, while on vacation, Louis meets the woman who will later become his wife. The stunning scenery and scripting in the scene offers the audience a glimpse into his dreams and aspirations. Moreover, the precise details, such as clothing, accents and background imaging proved to be essential in creating the setting. For instance, producers did not miss the detail that before 1949, the famous Hollywood sign was displayed as “Hollywoodland.” This attention to detail attests to the amount of effort the producers put in to making the movie.
At crucial moments in the film, Zamperini experiences flashbacks of being tortured in the POW camp. Expert camera work and editing give the viewer further insight into Zamperini’s motives as the plot drives forward.
Consequently, when life begins to go wrong, Zamperini falls apart. However, rather than framing Zamperini as a monster, the film highlights the feelings of misunderstanding. Even as Zamperini’s life begins to go awry, the audience understands his struggle and hardships. The expert storytelling demonstrates Zamperini’s feelings of helplessness and loss as he attempts to combat his internal demons.
Ultimately, Unbroken: Path to Redemption allows viewers to walk in the character’s shoes and understand their problems. The wins, losses and emotions felt throughout this film make it one of the most exceptional war movies of its time.