World War II POW Returns to U.S. With PTSD in Sequel
By Kam Williams
The movie Unbroken (2014) portrayed the ordeals undergone by the Olympian athlete and Air Force bombardier Louis Zamperini in a Japanese POW camp during World War II. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the biopic was adapted by the Coen brothers from Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller of the same name.
The sequel, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, is also based on Hillenbrand’s book, but unfortunately the creative team is not as outstanding as that of the earlier film. The cast has also been changed, with Samuel Hunt now starring as Louis.
Unbroken 2 picks up where the first film left off. The original closed with Louis kissing the ground upon landing back in the states after he was liberated from the POW camp, thereby implying that he lived “happily ever after.”
True, he did meet and marry Cynthia Applewhite (Merritt Patterson) and the happy couple moved to California to start a family. However, Louis becomes haunted by flashbacks to the torture he underwent during World War II at the hands of Corporal Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe (David Sakurai), a sadistic guard at Sugamo prison.
Unfortunately, Louis is suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and he has become angry, abusive, and an alcoholic. In desperation his wife persuades him to attend a Billy Graham Christian revival meeting (in which Billy Graham is portrayed by his grandson, Reverend Will Graham).
The charismatic Baptist preacher’s plea to “just reach out and take the hand of Jesus, and every problem will be washed away,” resonates with Louis. When Louis falls to his knees, it is clear that he has been saved. The closing credits show scenes of Louis being featured at subsequent evangelical revival meetings.
Very Good (HH½). Rated PG-13 for mature themes and disturbing images. Running time: 98 minutes. Production Studio: Universal 1440 Entertainment/Matt Baer Films.Studio: Pure Flix Entertainment.