Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken: Film Analysis Essay

The film I have chosen to analyse Angelina Jolie’s biopic film, Unbroken which was released late 2014. The film begins before World War II started in 1936 and finishes in the year 1945 when the war ended. During the war, it was the norm for militants and even civilians to be captured and taken to prison camps to be tortured for information or used as slave labour and tortured because they were the enemy. The main protagonist, Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) is a young Olympic runner hopeful whose life changed dramatically at 25 when he went from athlete to being a soldier fighting for his country in the war. When Zamperini’s plane crashed he is captured by the Japanese army and lived in a number of prison camps until the end of the war….

The specific scene I have chosen consists of ‘slave’, Zamperini being ordered to complete almost impossible tasks that a regular man would fail to accomplish. Zamperini falls and sprains his ankle and is unable to work, but the Japanese Commanding Officer (CO) (Miyavi) orders him to lift a massive slab of wood and demands a guard to shoot Zamperini if he drops it. Zamperini successfully lifts and holds the wood for a very long time. After a while, when he is expected to be at his weakest, he lifts the block above his head, showing he will never give up; angering the leader and leading to a brutal…

The low angle Point of View looking up at the antagonist connotes the dominance of this character over Zamperini. The high key lighting created by the bright sun in the centre of the shot; effectively blinds the protagonist, making him more vulnerable and emphasising the harsh conditions of the camp. When the antagonist then steps into the shot, the placement of the sun creates a silhouette meaning the antagonist’s face cannot be seen, thereby dehumanising him and creating a fear of the unknown for the viewers. The silhouette also represents Zamperini’s last sight of the CO as the blurriness connotes the Proppian Hero’s last thoughts; he is unable to think clearly and is dazed before he loses consciousness. The Japanese CO has beaten the protagonist to the ground and continues to beat him there. The point of view shot is anchored the sun’s glare to position the audience as Zamperini; like him they can’t visualise everything properly and are forced into a submissive role.

It is not typical to see this kind of sequence in high key lighting as these types of scenes would usually be shown in low key lighting to build tension and create a fear of the unknown during more brutal and horrific scenes. The fact that this shot uses high key lighting means that director, Jolie, wants to reinforce…