US Olympic runner Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) makes it to the 1936 Berlin games, but it seems the closest he’ll get to Tokyo for the next event is in a B-24.
Then his bomber crashes at sea while on a rescue mission, and Louis spends 47 days in a life raft before being picked up by the Japanese. Interned as a POW, Louis is singled out for particularly brutal treatment by a psychopathic camp commander.
Director Angelina Jolie and cinematographer Roger Deakins handle the aerial action well, but true life stories like this are the enemy of dramatic structure when aiming for authenticity on the ground. Even four excellent screenwriters (including the Coen brothers) can’t make this tale really soar.
Yet its two main problems lie elsewhere: in hair and make-up. The cast all look too clean, well fed and sparkly of tooth to make their suffering truly believable. 6/10
Released January 15, 2015