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Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie directs Unbroken, brings us an epic World War II drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell).

After Zamperini and with two other crewmen crash land in the ocean and  survive in a raft for 47 days they are caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Cutting between the times before and during the war, Jolie shows us the changes in Zamperini's life across a very short time and his road to freedom and forgiveness.

 Unbroken

Video


The warm bronze tinted visuals show off this modern made period piece with some real class. CGI is heavy but well used and this of course gives the film an often digital appearance, especially in the grander scenes. There's deep shadows where required to give the presentation a dark edge but the warm orange lighting countered with strong blues and greens enable the image to glow in HD.

Edges are sharp and the image detailed as most modern features excel at but little things like textures on wood based set design or foliage lift the image to a higher standard. bThe scenes in the POW Camp dd more depth to the image and muddy faces and beards add a whole other show off point for the textures alone. That said some close ups on faces, especially early in the brighter scenes of the film feel a little lacking or flat, which seems odd given the rest of the presentation's highlights but this doesn't distract from the whole really, as this is a strong,  thoroughly impressive high definition image that leaps off of the screen.

 Unbroken

Audio


The rocketing aerial battle as the film opens is a fine showpiece for surround sound at its best. Tearing artillery, screaming engines, metal ripping part, thumping explosions and and incredibly powerful bass level to hammer home every impact. This balances well with the clear dialogue and the score that feels very well levelled across the speaker system, while using specific instruments in selected speakers for little added elements of flair.

The whole film carries us forward with the inspiring score and it's well controlled and never battles with the other elements, weaving up and down in volume to add emotion or tension at all the right moments. Sound effects, such as full battles or even more incidental things such as trains or plane engines rumble away with real clout and show off moments such as the big plane crash tear away using the entire set up in aggressive as well as more subtle ways.

This is an all round winner of a an audio presentation and sits well in the many war based greats or there.

 Unbroken

Extras


First up is a selection of seven 'Deleted Scenes' (15:44 HD) then we're onto 'Inside Unbroken' (27:33 HD) which is split into three chapters and starts with the story of the  autobiography picked up by Universal in the fifties and due t Tony Curtis leaving the project for Spartacus, getting put on hold and taking this long for it actually get made.

Angelina Jolie is shown as being very one to one with the real Zamperini and was keen to have the cast spend time with him as well. Sadly he died before the film's completion but it's seems as if his views were intrinsic to a lot of the choices made. However, despite all that heart warming stuff what seems very crass about this featurette is that right after we find out Zamperini died before the film finished and due to Universal's decisions regarding other films getting made and delays for this project going on for decades leaving Zamperini in a waiting game all that time, getting an advert for Spartacus (the main film highlighted as the one that shelved the project) at the end seems a little insensitive. Ouch.

'The Real Louis Zamperini' (29:47 HD) spends time with the real war hero and his insights into life as well as those who developed the film talking about how inspiring his story is.

 Unbroken
'Cast and Crew Concert Featuring Miyavi' (07:42 HD) has what seems to be a wrap party with a bit of a short sing song form a cast member in front of the rest of the team.

'Prison Camp Theatre: Cinderella' (06:29 HD) focuses on the Cinderella reenactment in the film and it's origins and filming.

'Louis' Path To Forgiveness' (06:43 HD) is a focus on Louis' path to forgiving his captors and the rocky road he travelled on to get there. It's dark stuff but with an uplifting climax and very much a solid addition to the true story, rounding up our knowledge of the real man.

 Unbroken

Overall


Unbroken is a solid directorial effort from Angelina Jolie but not one I'd consider exceptional, even if some elements felt like they headed that way. It has a strong story but one that often slips into a rather glossy depiction of desperate situations, though it certainly has a bite too. The cast are all solid but again never quite enough to stand out from the crowd when it comes to war dramas and the same can be said for the depiction of aerial battles and prisoner of war camps, which are focused and sturdy but never feel that memorable or unique enough to stand out. That being said, the video and audio presentation here is top notch, and the features, while a little too glossy in places give a great overview of the real Zamperini and how the project came to be.

 Unbroken


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