It’s a story that must be told unabashedly and straight-forward–in order to honor not only the person, but also that time period’s generation and unfathomable world challenges. The best-selling non-fiction novel by Laura Hillenbrand of the same name, ‘Unbroken’, has set the bar high. Very high. So high, in fact, that the movie release of ‘Unbroken’ on Christmas Day is easily the most-anticipated film of 2014. That’s a heavy burden for any director to muster upon the big-screen; even for a Spielberg, Howard, Russell or a Scorsese. The death earlier this month of the movie’s inspiration–Louis Zamperini–has only made Hillenbrand’s popular read even more in demand. And focussed the movie industry’s eyes solely upon this upcoming film.
‘Unbroken’ is the true story of young man growing up in Southern California, who attempts to stay one step ahead of the law and his parents. With his older brother’s encouragement, Louis Zamperini begins to run track in high school. As he matures over the next few years his mile time gets quicker and quicker. An Olympic athlete in the 5,000 meters, he later enlists in the U.S. Army Air Forces and gets commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. World War II takes him into the Pacific theater and Zamperini experiences survival in a raft after his aircraft is shot down and later in a Japanese prisoner camp.
Sitting in the director’s chair for only her third time ever, Angelina Jolie’s track history may be short in calling the shots for a movie’s creation–but she has already achieved success in her early directorship credits. And Jolie took steps early in the pre-production of ‘Unbroken’ that showed us that she fully understands the vital need to get this story done right–for the memory of an American hero and the world to remember this chapter in history. It has been reported that Jolie played her director’s card early–sending the original movie script to new writers (the Academy Award-winning Coen brothers) for a complete re-do. That’s a good sign.
In 2007, Jolie directed the 70-minute film ‘A Time In Place’, a short documentary on a shoe-string budget of about $500,000. Later, in 2011, she made her second directorial appearance in the film ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’ about the Bosnian war–which earned a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film (USA) category.
‘Unbroken’ is going to be Jolie’s watermark film of her career–as either an actress or director. I think she’s done an excellent job based upon reading Hillenbrand’s story and seeing this trailer:
I think we’ll hear Oscar buzz for this movie before Christmas commercials saturate our big-screen TVs this holiday season. And I’d put Angelina Jolie on the Academy Award’s Best Director list right now.
What do you think of the trailer? For those who’ve read Hillenbrand’s book, do you think Jolie will get it right and do Zamperini’s story proud?
PHOTO: Credit to Lisa Waugh.
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