While I had heard reports that the turning point in the book never made it to film, I attended a pre-release screening with an open mind.
Audiences are told "Unbroken" is a "true story." It is true, as far as it goes, but the story is incomplete.
There have been many World War II stories told in film depicting triumphs of personal courage and survival. The story of
After returning to
In media appearances, Jolie has refused to discuss why the most remarkable part of Zamperini's story was excluded from the film. That would be the night he was converted at the 1949 Billy Graham crusade in
As stories about faith have made a recent comeback on TV and in movies, attracting high ratings and large ticket sales at the box office, it is puzzling why Jolie, who directed the film, and the Coen brothers, who wrote it, left out the most important part of Zamperini's story. Once word gets around that Zamperini's conversion, which was so faithfully and beautifully chronicled in Hillenbrand's book, is not in the film, I suspect many who share Louis' faith will not buy tickets.
Just before he died, Jolie showed Zamperini a rough cut of the film. He professed to like it and said it doesn't force religion down people's throats. That's a cliche, which doesn't really fit in this instance. Nothing is "forced" when it is true. The film, "Selma," which is scheduled for release on
Fortunately, in addition to Hillenbrand's book, people can read Louis' story in his own words. His book is titled, "Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life." The One who preserved his life to the end is more powerful than his Japanese prison camp abuser.
In the film "
Where's the rest of Zamperini's story is the question I had after seeing "Unbroken."