Angelina Jolie’s first attempt at turning her talents behind the camera, 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey, may have been a bold first film for the newly-established director (Jolie filmed the production, based on the Bosnian War, in both English and also in local languages, and also cast mainly local actors for the film’s main roles), but it didn’t light the box office on fire (the film made only $300,000). Still, Jolie is a force to be reckoned with, and the financial flop of her passion project hasn’t appeared to slow her down, and her next feature film from the other side of things looks to be significantly more bankable (and significantly more crowd-pleasing).
This time around, Jolie has both a very compelling story and a strong (and recognizable) team behind her to help tell the tale of Unbroken – including author Laura Hillenbrand (who also wrote “Seabiscuit: An American Legend,” which was also turned into its own film), Joel and Ethan Coen (who contributed to the script), and lauded cinematographer Roger Deakins. The film is a fact-based tale about Louis Zamperini (played in the film by Jack O’Connell), an American hero who was both an Olympian and in a World War II plane crash that eventually landed him in a Japanese POW camp. There’s still more to Zamperini’s incredible story – not only did he crash into the ocean during the war, he and two other crewmen survived in the water (well, in a raft) for forty-seven days, only to then be captured and taken to said POW camp, where he was held for over three years.
The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as the other airmen, along with Garrett Hedlund, John Magaro, Alex Russell, and Japanese actor Miyavi.
Zamperini’s history as an Olympian makes the film a bit of a natural fit for the currently Winter Olympics-crazed audience, so it’s a no-brainer that a first “preview” for the film arrived last night during the Games. Not exactly a trailer, this first look at the film also includes narration by Tom Brokaw, vintage footage of the real Zamperini, and an interview with Jolie and (spoiler alert?) the still-alive Zamperini, all mixed in with traditional trailer stuff. It’s a very strong way to show a large audience what Jolie’s film looks like (read: good, really good) and to get potential moviegoers interested in an unbelievable true story.
Unbroken opens on December 25.
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