Saturday, March 5, 2016


The larger than life story of Louis Zamperini (Jerry O'Connell), a troubled son of immigrants who transforms himself into an Olympic runner, competing alongside Jesse Owens in Berlin in 1936. Afterwards, enlisting in World War II on a bomber crew, he was shot down in the Pacific surviving at sea for 47 days, only to be treated to an extended, hellish stay at a Japanese prisoner of war camp at the hands of a sadistic overseer. When I first read Laura Hillebrand's account of Zamperini's remarkable story, I thought it was the ready made, can't miss makings for a big screen treatment, and wondered why it hadn't been so in a more pronounced offering before. But somehow, someway director Angelina Jolie, working with a four man screenwriting team including the Coen brothers and cinematographer Roger Deakins no less), managed to drop the ball and screw up a sure fire thing presenting instead some glossy hokey pap with an ensemble of incompetent actors (O'Connell and Gomhnall Gleeson are especially subpar) told in the best tradition of schmaltzy, immediately forgettable historical epics.
* 1/2 out of ****