Make no mistake, the heroic, triumphant life of Louis Zamperini is inspiring. The mere mention of his name roils emotion. He is the embodiment of The Greatest Generation. However...that being said, this film, based on the biography of the same title, is lukewarm, at best. A story like this should make filmgoers jump to their feet (operative word being ‘should’).
Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) is the ultimate hero; a man, who in the face of adversity, always looks within himself for physical strength and moral fortitude. He is an Olympic athlete, a dedicated soldier—and, after his plain crashes, a castaway, and eventually, a prisoner of war. While interned, Louis encounters a ruthless Japanese guard, who singles him out and treats him with physical brutality.
It would be miraculous for most to survive any single trial Zamperini had been forced to endure in his life, yet Zamperini not only survives, he seems to emerge with a clarity most would not acquire. The film, however, merely strings events together—rarely deviating from the feeling of anguish it evokes. With the lack of emotional range, coupled with the borderline ridiculous catchphrase, If you can take it, you can make it, I was torn between rolling my eyes and closing them.
Angelina Jolie is a talented director and clearly passionate, but this effort misses the mark. It’s a 6.