NEW YORK (CNS) — In 2014, Angelina Jolie helmed the often harrowing but ultimately uplifting fact-based drama “Unbroken.” The film was based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling 2010 biography of Olympic runner-turned-war-hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (1917-2014), “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.”
Working from the same text, director Harold Cronk continues Zamperini’s story, this time with an emphasis on the woes that beset him after he returned home at the end of the global conflict and his eventual embrace of evangelical Christianity. More artful than many faith-motivated movies, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” (Pure Flix) sees likable Samuel Hunt taking over the role of Louie, played in the first movie by Jack O’Connell.
Having survived the downing of his plane over the Pacific, a long period adrift at sea and torturous captivity by the Japanese — events related in Jolie’s picture — Louie, an Air Force bombardier, returns home, goes on the road to sell war bonds and falls for cheerful and devout Florida native Cynthia Applewhite (Merritt Patterson). But all the while he is suffering from what nowadays would be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder.
Troubled by nightmares and visions in which his chief tormentor, Mutsuhiro Watanabe (David Sakurai), nicknamed “The Bird,” returns to haunt him, Louie, unable to find work, falls prey to alcoholism. His prospects worsen still further after his bid to race in the 1948 London Olympics is frustrated by a career-ending injury.
Cynthia is patient and Louie’s older brother, Pete (Bobby Campo), his first running coach, tries to be helpful. But it will take no less a personage than the Rev. Billy Graham himself (played by his grandson Will) to straighten things out.
Catholic viewers may have mixed feelings about the protagonist’s departure from the church in which he was raised. (Early scenes show Louie’s mother saying grace, followed by the sign of the cross, and the family is visited by their priest, though Louie, who blames God for his tribulations, receives the clergyman coldly.) Yet his rejection of Catholicism long preceded his eventual conversion.
Overall, Cronk’s sequel, written by Richard Friedenberg and Ken Hixon, is both appealing in its promotion of faith and forgiveness and suitable for a wide audience.
The film contains mature themes, scenes of domestic violence and a vague scatological reference. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103