Unbroken

How can a movie co-written by the Coen brothers and directed by Angelina Jolie be so dull? With unvarying appreciation and an almost forcibly positive attitude, Unbroken too calmly takes us through the one-damn-thing-after-another life story of Louie Zamperini, a World War II bombardier whose B-24 crapped out over the Pacific, stranding him first on a life raft for a month and a half, then in a series of terrible Japanese prison camps. As a few limp flashbacks explain, being bullied as a kid helped Zamperini become an Olympian sprinter, but the endurance game is where he showed real sportsmanship. “If I can take it, I can make it” was his mantra, and that sure as hell came in handy. Here he’s played by impressive up-and-comer Jack O’Connell, who knows at least enough about duty and perseverance to conduct himself well in one of those mediocre films an actor must pass through to pay dues for greatness and acclaim. The other standout in this otherwise sitting down movie is Takamasa Ishihara (a.k.a. Miyavi) as Zamperini’s prison-boss nemesis, a spoiled-brat sadist. Riding the swells of an orchestral score that sounds interchangeable with countless others, Jolie goes through the war-movie motions diligently, sincerely, and futilely; the most salient trait of this commemoration is forgettability.