“Unbroken,” director Jolie’s chronicle of the life of Italian American Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), an Olympic runner and World War II airman turned war hero who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces, finally screened for critics this week. Reviews, though divisive, indicate that this late Oscar entry is a solid wartime drama. But is it an Oscar slam dunk? We’re not so sure.
In the meantime, watch a new featurette on the film’s making with Jolie, who explains why she was drawn to the true story of Zamperini, who died early this year on July 2. Producer Matt Baer has been cultivating this passion project for the last 16 years but it was Laura Hillebrand’s bestseller that got Jolie interested. Several writers turned in drafts, including Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson, before the Coen brothers did the final polish. The film was shot in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia, where it opens January 15, several weeks after the US release on December 25.