Angelina Jolie’s 2014 adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken felt incomplete in cutting off Louis Zamperini’s true story before the years after his experience as a World War II POW. This faith-based follow-up—from God’s Not Dead director Harold Cronk—simply feels incomplete in a different way. As Louis (Samuel Hunt) returns stateside, and eventually marries his wife Cynthia (Merritt Patterson), he wrestles with alcoholism as a coping mechanism for the post-traumatic stress of his harrowing wartime suffering. Cronk captures those stresses in effectively surreal nightmares and hallucinations—like Louis’s living-room couch abruptly turning into a raft on the ocean—and there’s a solid anchor in the relationship between Louis and Cynthia. There’s also an overriding melodrama to the proceedings—including Hunt’s performance of frustration and drunken rages—as the attempts to fill in the blanks on the awfulness depicted in Unbroken feel like filler on the way to the inevitable born-again moment. Maybe there’s a way to do justice to the entirety of Louis Zamperini’s fascinating life, but nobody has found it yet.
Director: Harold Cronk
Producer: Matthew Baer, Mike Elliott, Cynthia Garris, Luke Zamperini, Bill Reeves, Erik Weir, Michael Scott and Dave Mechem
Cast: Samuel Hunt, Merritt Patterson, Bobby Campo, David Sakurai, Vincenzo Amato, Maddalena Ischiale, Gianna Simone, Ali Eagle, Will Graham, Andrew Caldwell, Gary Cole, Bob Gunton, Donald Stark, David DeLuise, Scott Subiono, Vanessa Bell Calloway, April Bowlby, Maddie McCormick, Christopher Wallinger, Derek Brandon, Michael Broderick, James Immekus, Miguel Pérez and Ken Narasaki