Sunday, January 4, 2015

Movies In History: Unbroken

This has been an unusual year for me, movie wise, as I've actually been to three, at the theatre, within a year.  I'll often go years without seeing one actually at the theater.  It occurs to me that I still need to add one here that I have not, that being The Monuments Men.

Last night we saw Unbroken.

This film is making the rounds right now and has been well received.  I can see why, the film is simply excellent.  The story is now fairly familiar to everyone, it follows the story of Louis Silvie "Louie" Zamperini, who was a B-24 bombardier in the Pacific during World War Two and whom went down in the Pacific in the course of his service.  The movie is about the ordeal that follows, both on the sea, and as a Prisoner of War.

I won't try to detail that here, but I will note instead that to the extent that I know that story (I have yet to read the book), the film follows it pretty closely and does a good job of it.

In terms of material and cultural details, the film also does a superb job.   The CGI generated aircraft are done excellently, and appear very real indeed.  The bombing run early in the film stands in my mind as the single most frightening example of that in film, because it appears so accurate in every fashion.  The film'ss one material error that I caught appeared in regards to a Japanese Zero fighter plane, which is shown rolling over with its drop tank on, which is unlikely unless the tank stuck (which is a possibility).  Otherwise, all the details, uniforms, etc., are absolutely correct.

In cultural details, the film actually diminishes slightly the extreme cruelty of the Japanese as guards and general and fairly significantly diminishes the actual cruelty of Japanese guard Mutsuhiro Watanabe, but the reason for that are probably justifiable as that would have caused that to be such a feature of the film as to be absolutely overwhelming.

All in all, this is an excellent film.

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