When Louis Zamperini, former Olympic distance runner and WWII prisoner-of-war survivor, died at the age of 97 on July 2nd, his passing was marked by heartfelt obituaries and an outpouring of public recognition of the man’s inspirational life and unbroken warrior spirit. This winter, however, the most rousing and wide-reaching tribute to Zamperini will arrive with the December release of Unbroken, an adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s book from In the Land of Blood and Honey director Angelina Jolie.
A second trailer for Unbroken has hit the web today, making a strong case for the WWII survival epic as one of the big players in this year’s awards race. Impressively mounted and featuring what’s sure to be a star-making turn from Jack O’Connell, Unbroken checks almost all the boxes. It’s emotional, scripted by Oscar faves the Coen Brothers, based on a true story of American heroism, visually immersive and sure to honor the WWII prisoners of war often passed over in films about the conflict. Unless something went horribly wrong with the script, I don’t see how this film could really fail.
Personally, I can’t wait to see Unbroken. It looks incredible from both a visual and narrative standpoint, and it’s plain to see how much more accomplished as a director Jolie has become since In the Land of Blood and Honey. Will she land a Best Director nomination? If this trailer is any indication, I’d say she looks like a shoe-in. I’ll also be curious to see O’Connell’s work in the lead role – but can he overcome the ‘fresh face’ curse that took Suraj Sharma out of the running for Life of Pi?
Unbroken opens on December 25th and co-stars Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, John Magaro, Alex Russell and Miyav.